Your ceiling fan is not working and no solution that you think of seems to help! Ceiling fan problems can be frustrating, more so if you can’t tell what caused them. If you're having issues with yours, then you've just landed in the right place. Because, in this article, we've explained how to troubleshoot—and fix—5 ceiling fan common problems.

Ceiling Fan Working Principle

In order to understand common ceiling fan problems and their causes, it's crucial that we know how these devices work first. So here we go: a ceiling fan works by using an electric motor to rotate a set of blades.

As the blades rotate, they move air and create a breeze. This breeze then, upon contact with the skin, creates a phenomenon that’s commonly called a "wind chill effect". That, in turn, is what provides the cooling comfort.

Ceiling fan direction of spin can have a cooling or warming effect. Most fans provide cooling, normally by rotating clockwise. This works by pushing air upward. When spun anticlockwise, a ceiling fan pushes the warm air from around the ceiling downwards. This results in a feeling of warmth.

When Ceiling Fan Stops Working

Like any other electromechanical device, your ceiling fan can suddenly start to experience electrical or mechanical issues, especially if it’s too old. If that happened, the fan would either operate less effectively or stop spinning altogether.

If an old ceiling fan stopped working, the chances of reviving it would be very slim. In most cases, you can only replace it. But not so if it’s been only a short period since you installed it. If a new ceiling fan stopped working suddenly, you may want to fix it instead.

Common AC and DC ceiling fan problems, together with the ways to fix them are discussed in more detail below. Note that some of these issues are DIY-able and while some need a professional.

 Fixing ceiling fan problems

Fixing ceiling fan problems

Common Ceiling Fan Problems

Common ceiling fan problems include a fan that stops working, a working but wobbly fan, or a noisy one. It could also be that the fan is not working on all speeds or—if using a remote controlled type—that you can't get it to even start. Let's see more about these issues and what could possibly cause them.

1. Ceiling Fan Not Working

You have the ceiling fan not working. In other words, the power button won't start it. This problem can have several causes. First, the reason could be that power is not reaching the motor, and this could be caused by several issues such as faulty wiring, a tripped breaker or a dead motor and blown fuse.

2. Wobbly Ceiling Fan

This ceiling fan problem can have a number of causes: improper fan installation, loose parts, and damaged or imbalanced blades. The problem could also result from dirt or debris that has settled on the blades or other parts such as motor blades. This is often easy to fix, as you’ll learn later in the repair section.

3. Remote for Ceiling Fan Not Working

Most often, this is because the remote module does not have batteries in it, or the batteries are drained and dead. If that’s not the case, the problem could be that the receiver and remote module are not in tune and the fan cannot respond to commands.

4. Noisy Ceiling Fan

A slight hum from your ceiling fan is normal. It only becomes a problem if it becomes louder, or if it's no longer a hum but noise. A noisy ceiling fan is, most of the time, caused by loose parts. Other possible reasons are excessive friction in the rotating parts caused by worn bearings and accumulated dirt.

5. Ceiling Fan Not Working on All Speeds

If you have the ceiling fan not working on all speeds, one of the following could have possibly happened; the fan’s capacitor could be blown or the motor is overheating. It could also be a friction problem that's causing parts to jam or dirt that has have piled on some moving parts.

 Ceiling fan repair
Ceiling fan repair

Ceiling Fan Repair

Ceiling fan troubleshooting and repair involves taking measures to reverse the mentioned issues. Note that some ceiling fan problems are DIY-able, while others can only be done by a professional, especially those that involve electrical connections or wires. To ensure your fan is working again, here is a repair guide that you can use.

Ceiling Fan Jam Problems

Ceiling fan jam problems cause your fan to stop spinning. This can frustrate you, especially if it happened in hot weather when you need it most. Here is what to do if a ceiling fan stops working, either due to excessive friction or damage to critical components.

  • Lubricate the moving parts of the fan
  • Replace worn parts such as the flywheel and other components such as bearings
  • If the fan is too old to be repaired, replace it.

Ceiling Fan wobbles Fix

A wobbly ceiling fan is not only a danger in waiting, but also unsightly—and must be taken care of. However, note that a slight wobble of less than an eighth of an inch is normal, and only a concern if higher than that. If that's so, we suggest that you take these repair measures.

  • Tighten loose blades, blade arms, screws, and brackets
  • Clean all parts that may be harboring dirt
  • Balance the bladesif that's what's causing the wobble (balancing kits are already available for that)

Ceiling Fan Remote Control Problems

While remote ceiling fan problems can vary across different fan brands, most issues result from similar faults and require similar steps to fix. In light of that, use these tips to fix remote control malfunctions.

  • Start by ensuring the remote has working batteries
  • If the batteries are in good condition, consider resetting the fan controls
  • Ensure the fan receiver is working and the fan is receiving power

Ceiling Fan Noise Fix

Ceiling fan repair for noise depends on the type of noise or the affected part. You want, therefore, to listen to the kind of noise that the fan is producing, and take measures as below.

  • A rattle indicates parts (screws, brackets etc.) that have become loose. Tighten them
  • If it's a clicking sound, it's most probably a loose blade or blades. Tighten these
  • A grinding noise is often due to unbalanced blades, balance then to fix that
  • A grinding noise is often caused by worn ball bearings and friction. Lubricate them
  • A scraping noise could be a loosened canopy or mounting bracket. Tightening them would fix the problem

Ceiling Fan Speed Problem

This can range from a ceiling fan slow speed problem to a fan that gets stuck on one speed. Depending on the number of speeds that your fan can spin at, consider doing the following.

  • Lubricate moving parts if you suspect jamming due to friction
  • If the cause is a faulty or blown capacitor, consider replacing it
  • You can also fix a ceiling fan speed problem by resetting its remote control


Ceiling fan problems can cause your fan to either stop working as it should or to not work at all. Depending on the type of problem or damage, you may fix these problems or replace the fan. Problems that can be repaired include wiring issues, loose parts and dirt or friction issues. In most cases, especially when you have a failed motor, it's best to install a new fan.