Balancing A Ceiling Fan

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This isn't a How-To? post...this is a victory story.
My son moved into an apartment in a really old house this weekend. The ceiling fan in the dining room has a downrod of about 6" and wobbled like crazy. When it got dark and we turned the fan and light on, it made us dizzy as the light caused the shadows to dance around.
I took the job of trying to balance it. Having never balanced a ceiling fan before, and having never dealt with a downrod style, I decided to Google around for some tips. I knew about balancing kits and taped-on pennies, etc. but had never actually had to balance one and assumed that there were other tips/tricks available. I was right.
So, the first thing I did was measure the distance of each blade tip from the ceiling. 11.5, 11.5, 11.5, 12. Well, there's one issue.
Next I checked all the screws. All eight screws that held the blade brackets to the motor housing *and* all 12 screws that held the blades to the brackets were loose. OK, let's start there.
I tightened all the screws and remeasured. 11.25, 11.25, 11.25, 11.5. A big difference and a big improvement. 90% less wobble.
I removed the bracket for the lowest blade, gave it a little tweak and remounted it. 11.25 all the way around and even less wobble now.
OK, now let's try the penny trick. I took a penny and some tape, and assuming this was going to be a trial and error exercise, I randomly picked a blade and taped the penny to the top. Dead nuts solid! Absolutely no wobble at all, first try.
I climbed off the ladder and treated myself to another slice of pizza before moving on to fixing a few other "old house" issues.
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THIS worked for me. I got one of those large pieces of chalk that the kids use for writing on the sidewalk. I figured the heaviest blade would swing the fartherest out. I turned on the fan, and CAREFULLY brought in the chalk until it just ticked the end of the whirling blade(s). Shut the fan off. Next, I got two of those metal clamps that you use to hold papers together that weighed as close to the same as a penny/nickel/quarter. I put them on the two blades across from the heavy one with the chalk mark on it, starting close to center. Turned the fan on and off, and moved the clamps outward until stability was found. If stability is not established, go back to chalk marker, and put weights across from that one. Eventually stability will be achieved, and you can tape the coins on top of the blades where the clamps are, or use a small spot of adhesive so as to add only a tiny bit of weight. Clean the blade good to get it to stick. Of course, remove the clamps. Fans are a royal PITA, and I have a big one right now in my living room that has to be done, and it's up there about ten or eleven feet. Up, down, up, down, up, down.
Enough to drive you nuts.
Steve
visit my blog at http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
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On 8/2/2010 12:18 AM, Steve B wrote:

I don't waste coins, I have slugs from the conduit knockouts in electrical device boxes. They also make great shims and washers for powder driven fasteners.
TDD
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wrote:

re: "I don't waste coins"
It wasn't my penny.
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On 8/2/2010 8:16 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Damn Liberal, using other peoples money. 8-) *snicker*
TDD
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re: "Up, down, up, down, up, down."
No pull chain?
I was lucky enough to be able to stay on the ladder during my testing.
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Congratulations. My bedroom ceiling fan (cheapo) was always noisey and wobbley. I finally removed 2 of the 4 blades. Now it is nearly silent, doesn't wobble, moves just enough air @ middle speed and uses ~ 1/2 the electricity. My DW ask why only 2 blades on the fan. I told her that using 1 made it wobble WAY too much. ;-)
Steve
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I think nighttime is dark
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On Mon, 02 Aug 2010 10:02:29 +0000, Steve.IA wrote:

What are the motors normally like in these things? Ours seems reasonably stable - but on the slowest speed it almost looks (and sounds) like it's surging. I can't tell if it's just my imagination, or if these things have a bazillion motor windings in them and maybe one of the ones in ours has gone bad...
cheers
Jules
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On Aug 2, 3:10pm, Jules Richardson

re: "I can't tell if it's just my imagination"
One tip I read suggested using different colored florescent paint dabs on a piece of masking tape on each blade to see which one was out of balance. However, it didn't say what to look for. (I tried 4 pieces of different colored nylon tape but couldn't see any colors at all once the fan was on)
Anyway, maybe if you put tape/paint on one blade it might make the "surging" more apparent. Dunno.
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Just measure the blades from the ceiling. The low one is heavy, so put a washer in the middle of the opposite blade and rerun test. If the same blade is still heavy, move washer half-way to the end of the blade. If the blade with the washer on it is now heavy, move the washer half-way towards the center. Repeat binary search until you're happy with the balance.
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I'm not sure who you are responding to.
Jules was talking about "surging motors", so it must not be him.
If it was me that you are responding to, *just* "measure the blades and add weight" would be the incorrect answer.
With 20 loose screws "the low one is heavy" should read "the low one was loosest." Before trying any actual balancing techniques, you should make sure that all parts of the unit are tight and secure.
As I said in my OP, 90% of the massive wobble went away after I tightened everything up.
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wrote:

Got a problem with your newsreader?

Wrong. The subject is "Balancing a Ceiling Fan". I told you how.

You said:
"One tip I read suggested using different colored florescent paint dabs on a piece of masking tape on each blade to see which one was out of balance. However, it didn't say what to look for. (I tried 4 pieces of different colored nylon tape but couldn't see any colors at all once"
You are clearly clueless, so I responded with a simple way to balance the fan.

...and I told you how to get rid of the other 10%. I can't help it if you not only can't read but can't remember the subject of the thread *YOU* started.
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On Mon, 02 Aug 2010 19:01:15 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Apparently, another village is missing its idiot.
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On Mon, 02 Aug 2010 20:29:13 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@someplace.com wrote:

Oh, you're lost again.
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On Monday, August 2, 2010 at 6:02:29 AM UTC-4, Steve.IA wrote:

Can't argue against your solution. Nice!
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It looks like Derby Dad has been around awhile.
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Lucky must be your nickname. WW

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Nice job, but you cold have just let it wobble and enjoyed the dancing light effect for your next party. Even tape some small mirrors on the blade ends and focused colored spots on them, added streamers, etc. Be creative...
Joe
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wrote:

Nice job, but you cold have just let it wobble and enjoyed the dancing light effect for your next party. Even tape some small mirrors on the blade ends and focused colored spots on them, added streamers, etc. Be creative...
Joe
I once had a washing machine that was seriously out of balance. Me and the old lady would do laundry frequently. There was a lot of those colored spots and streamers and screamers and effects. Know whut uh mean, Vern?
Steve
visit my blog at http://cabgbypasssurgery.com
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On Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 11:33:47 PM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I guess I will have to do as you did.:
I have installed at least 8 ceiling fans in the past.
Place I purchased from has a CSR. I spoke with him last week. CSR suggested several balancing options, and did not call me to follow up when promised leaving me to do on my own.
Never had a significant issue such as these two with a fan:
1) A definitive hum in low speed; is this normal for the (Casa Endeavor in the bedroom and it is quite annoying)? =================================================== 2) The fan just will not seem to balance. I have installed several fans and balanced with no serious issues afterward.
So far, with me checking all the screws, and trying about 100 different balancing combinations.
I am exhausted.
Though, after researching and reading, I discovered one blade (out of 5 blades) is off by 1/4 inch meaning all other blades are 13" off the ceiling, and one blade is 12.75 inches off the ceiling.
Could 1/4 inch make the difference with balancing? ======================
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