Why Is My Ceiling Fan Clicking and How to Fix it

by Jennifer Porterfield | Last Updated: July 1, 2021
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You’re lounging in your room, trying to enjoy the breeze that your ceiling fan is making. There’s just one slight problem, though. The ceiling fan clicks and that repetitive sound is enough to drive you up the wall. The distraction is something you don’t need during the evening or in the office. You don’t need it anywhere. So, why does the ceiling fan click? And how can you fix it?

Here are a few reasons why the ceiling fan is making a clicking noise and some ways to make the dreadful sound stop.

Table of Contents

Why The Fan is Clicking

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Since clicking isn’t normal, you need to search for the cause of the sound. Inspect your fan and keep an eye out for the following:

1. Bent Blade

Is the clicking consistent with every rotation of the blades? That could be a sign that one of the fan blades is bent upwards. The sound happens when the blade hits the edge of the fan housing. Slow down the fan and spin it with your hand. You might even notice which blade is getting hung up and where. Should that be the case, you can fix it by bending the blade back into its proper place.

2. Loose Blade

If the blade isn’t bent, then you could have a loose blade. Usually, you will find a screw or two that is loose and allowing the blade to wiggle.

3. Loose Component

There are dozens of little pieces in your ceiling fan. This creates a problem. How do you tell if there is a loose component? You’re going to have to use a step ladder to take a look at the ceiling fan’s pieces. Pay attention to the globe, light bulbs, wiring, and any other attachments. It is also not uncommon for screws to come loose. Go around and tighten each one.

Solutions For Fixing a Clicking Ceiling Fan

When the ceiling fan is making noise, you want to find a solution quickly. You might not be able to find a loose or bent blade right away. Or maybe you want to prevent clicking from every beginning. Turns out preventative maintenance and some of the solutions are the same thing. Try out the following and see if your ceiling fan operates better afterward:

1. Clean the fan blades

Too much dirt on the blades could unbalance the fan and cause clicking or other noises. Cleaning the fan is one of the quickest ways to find a solution. Start at the highest point of the fan then proceed to the housing, fan blades, and globe. Use a lightly damped rag to pick up dust and grime.

2. Screw everything tightly

How many screws are holding your ceiling fan together? Probably more than you think. There are screws in the fan blades that could come loose, screws within the internal components, and screws in the base attaching the fan to the ceiling. You also have to think about the light bulbs that are screwed into the fan and the screws that might hold the housing together.

After cleaning the fan blades, inspect the fan. You should be able to see every place the screws could be missing or loosened. Go around and tighten everything, adjust the light bulbs, and make sure the fan is tight to the ceiling.

3. Lubricate the fan

You will find that correcting a noisy fan is all about trial and error. If cleaning the fan, tightening the blades, or screwing in the bulbs didn’t help then you are going to have to get creative. That means grabbing some engine to lubricate the internal parts.

You should be able to find an oil hole in the ceiling fan. It is usually found by the down rod. To check the amount of oil in the fan, insert a thin pipe cleaner into the hole. If nothing comes out on the pipe cleaner, you need to lubricate the fan. It is recommended that you add oil at least once a year.

Look at the owner’s manual for the kind of oil your fan uses and the exact instructions for adding oil. There are all-purpose varieties available. Do not use penetrating oils, like 3-in-1 oil or WD-40.

After adding the oil and cleaning any spills, turn the fan on low.

4. Check where the fan connects to the ceiling

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Also known as the fan canopy, this piece can loosen and cause noises during operation. You will need a step ladder to reach the fan canopy. Wiggle it with your hand to see if it’s coming loose. Any movement means you will need to tighten it. If you see fasteners, you can use a screwdriver to tighten the fan canopy. You can also tighten it with your hand if it’s threaded inside.

5. Inspect the globe

Some fans have a globe that goes over the lights. The globe should be tightened to a point that it doesn’t rock or make noise as the blades rotate. A loose globe will rattle or click. Older globes may have developed small cracks that may cause sounds, too. In that case, it is best to purchase a new one.

6. Rebalance the blades

As mentioned earlier, dirty blades can be unbalanced. It’s not uncommon for your ceiling fan’s blade to be knocked off-kilter when you’re cleaning or moving furniture, especially if the ceiling is low. Humidity may even affect the material of the blades, causing the blades to droop.

When the blades are unbalanced, squeaking can occur. You can purchase a balancing clip that is inserted between the base and tip of the blade. Try placing a clip on every blade and turning on the fan to find which one needs to be rebalanced.

7. Is the fan properly mounted?

There’s another question to ask yourself. Ceiling fans are often mistakenly installed on electrical boxes that are designed for light fixtures. This results in a fan connected to the box that is not made to bear so much weight. The fan could eventually fall.

A properly mounted fan will be connected to the box that is attached with lag screws to a 2×4 or a fan brace. To check, loosen the bracket housing and take a peek at the box. You will usually see a label or the hexagonal heads of the lag bolts or U-bolts connected to a metal brace.

If the fan is not on the proper box, you will need to install an adjustable brace, which is available at most home improvement stores.

8. Call in a professional

After you have gone through all of the steps and still have no answer for why the ceiling fan is making noise, your final option is to call in a professional. Your ceiling fan could have an internal problem that you cannot diagnose on your own. A professional, like a qualified electrician, will have the appropriate level of knowledge. You’ll have a quieter fan in no time.

The only downside to calling in a professional is the cost, so try cleaning and inspecting your fan before contacting someone.

Final Thoughts on Clicking Ceiling Fans

Many homeowners end up scratching their heads and thinking, “Why is my ceiling fan clicking like that?” At best, it’s an unpleasant sound. But the distraction is undeniable, and it could even keep you from sleeping. Luckily, correcting the issues that cause the clicking is not that difficult. Pay attention to the signs and you’ll be able to find the reason behind the clicking quickly. From there, the solution lies in your toolbox.

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