Noisy ceiling fans...

A number of rooms in our house have combined central ceiling lights & fan.
Several of the fans are somewhat noisy including buzzing and grinding type noises. Otherwise they work fine.
Is there anything one can do to give them a "tune-up" and/or lubricate them to reduce the noise?
Thanks
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Is the noise constant or does it "oscillate"? If it's the latter, it means the fan's out of balance. We have a fan like this in our bedroom -- makes an oh-so-slight noise that annoys me but my wife can't even hear it. I know the fan's a bit out of balance but I've tried and can't figure out why...
-Tim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Noise mostly goes away when power is cut to the fan. Sounds more like the motor is straining.
One other potentially relevant point. The light (and therefore) fan are on a Lutron slide dimmer switch, though when the fan is on, I keep the dimmer in the fully on position. Could this be causing or contributing to the problem?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Why not balance it? There is no excuse for an out-of-balance fan. I have several in my house, even one on a 16' ceiling with a 5-foot downrod. The pull chain is long enought to be reachable from floor level, but is absolutely motionless when the fan is running.
Stick a small dab of modeling clay on a blade midway along its length. Fire up the fan on slow speed and watch the wobble. If it's worse than before, move the clay to another blade. If it gets better, move it to the next one. Do this until it gets worse then back up one blade and experiment with moving the clay along the length. Once you have it balanced, you need a more permanent weight. Try a penny stuck on with double-sticky foam tape. If the penny is lighter than the clay, move it outward on the blade. If it's heavier move it toward the motor.
Don't be surprised to see a slight imbalance when (if) you reverse the fan though.

Yes. Dimmers work by "chopping" (for want of a better layman's term) the AC waveform into smaller pieces. This lowers the average value and dims the lights. Even some light bulbs will "sing" when highly dimmed. Motors tend to not like these short pulses since they contain higher order harmonics.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes. The triac in the dimmer would be causing the buzzing.
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Interesting... because we have 5 identical fans with the same new identical Lutron dimmers (all on maximum brightnes) but only 2 of them make the growling noise and even then only with the power on.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Just some thoughts:
First push around places on the fans (watch out for the blades!) and make sure it's not just a part that's vibrating (cover, mount, etc). I use a pencil eraser when I do that. If touching a part stops a vibration, then you can look for a way to take care of it.
It might well help if you can get some WD40 to spray into the bearing areas. Bearings dry out over the years and displace any grease in them and the WD-40 lubricates plus softens the already present (if they are that type) grease so the bearing tends to do its job again.
If it's bearing noise, it could well indicate they're getting ready to be replaced.
HTH,
Pop
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sorry Pop,
WD-40 s a penetrating oil, NOT a motor oil. It should NEVER be used to oil motors.
Sleeve bearings should have oil, not grease. Put 20 or 30 weight non detergent motor ol in the bearings. But if they are making grinding noise, it is probably too late for that.
Stretch
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If they are the $20 made in China fans, they will probably just get worse over time. If they are quality made brand name fans, it could be the motor bearings causing the grinding noise. .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That buzzing/grinding noise might also be a loose neutral! I've seen fans that still worked, but turned slower than they should have, and made an awful hum due to this problem.
rusty redcloud
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.