Q: I installed a ceiling fan in my bedroom, and it works fine when it’s on low speed. When I run it on high, it shakes like a bowl of gelatin during a 10-point earthquake. I have tried to balance it, but I can’t get it to operate any smoother. Please help.
A: You’ve already done the hard work by installing the fan, and now you just have to fine-tune it.
I would start by checking your installation. A lot of wobble can be attributed to the installation itself, rather than poor fan quality. Start by making sure the box in the ceiling is tight to the ceiling with no movement (yes, you will have to remove the cover and maybe even the fan to check this). If the box moves, you will never get the fan to operate smoothly.
If this is so, secure the box by adding a screw or two to the joist to which it is attached. The box may be hanging from a brace bar, in which case you can tighten the “U” bolts or the bar itself by twisting it into the joists.
If the box is tight to the ceiling, and the down rod is engaged properly in the ceiling (it has a tooth that fits into a groove), check the blades. See if they are straight, not warped, and that they are the same height.
Use a tape measure and hold the metal tab against the ceiling. Measure the distance from the ceiling to the tip of the blades.
If you find a blade whose tip is different from the others, adjust it so that it is the same distance from the ceiling as the other by slightly bending the blade arm up or down. You can also loosen the screws that hold the blade to the blade arm and place a washer under the screw head of the outmost one.
After each adjustment, run the fan on high to see if you have fixed the problem.
If not, the next step is to buy a balancing kit. These cost about $2 and consist of a weighted clip and some peel-and-stick weights.
Pick a blade and place the clip on the leading edge at the midpoint of the blade. Run the fan on high and check to see if the wobble has lessened. If not, move to the next blade and repeat the process until you find some improvement.
Once you find a blade that lessens the wobble, move the clip along the length of the blade until you find the spot where it improves it the most. Place the weight on the top front of the blade (you won’t see it from below) by peeling the backing off the weight and sticking it down.
Repeat the process with each blade until you remove the wobble. You may need multiple weights on a single blade.
Mike Klimek is a licensed contractor and owner of Las Vegas Handyman. Questions may be sent by email to email@example.com. Or, mail to 4710 W. Dewey Drive, No. 100, Las Vegas, NV 89118. His web address is www.handymanoflasvegas.com.
Project: Balance a ceiling fan
Cost: Around $5
Time: Under 1 hour