How To Make A Fan Quieter

Have you ever bought a fan and instantly regretted it because it makes so much noise? Or maybe your fan was quiet to begin with but now it's making a noise. Noisy fans can make you go a little insane sometimes but there are ways to make your fan quiet. 

Our fan quieting tips will work on any fan. We'll show you how to make your box fan, ceiling fan, whole house fan or bathroom fan less noisy.

Let's start by looking at what's causing the fan to be noisy.

Why is my fan making so much noise? 

There are a few reasons why your fan might be making a some pretty frustrating sounds. Here’s what could be the cause of the problem: 

  1. Dimmer Switch 

Dimmer switches are used to control fan speed. You wouldn’t think that using a dimmer switch would be a problem, but it is. It’s not the right switch to use for a fan. A result of using the dimmer switch is that you’ll hear a humming sound. During the day, the humming won’t be too much of a nuisance, but it could interrupt your sleep at night. 

  1. The Way You Mount Your Fan. 

The way you mount your ceiling fan is really important. Why? The ceiling joist amplifies the sound from your fans motor. Mounting your fan directly into a ceiling joist is going to create a lot of noise when you turn your fan on.

  1. Bad Capacitors.

You’ll often find that when a component in a fan is broken or faulty, it’ll easily make more noise than it should. In a ceiling fan, bad capacitors are the most likely component to become faulty. 

  1. A worn out or loud motor. 

Buying a cheap fan seems like a good idea sometimes, but it can end up disturbing the peace. Cheaper fans are often built with loud motors. At the same time though,  your motor could be loud for the simple reason that it’s wearing out. 

  1. Loose Screws. 

Are you hearing a rattling sound when you turn your fan on? Then it probably has a few loose screws. 

  1. Using a Remote-Controlled Fan. 

A receiver allows the fan remote to communicate with the fan itself. If the receiver is bad, there won’t be a strong signal between the remote and the fan. You’ll hear a humming sound as a result. 

  1. Metal Blades 

This is more applicable to whole house fans. Their metal blades sometimes hit against the framing which can make a seriously loud noise. 

  1. Moving air

When your fan is hooked into a duct, its goal is to transport air from inside the room to the outside or vice versa. Moving air will always make a loud sound, so this can be the reason for why your ducted fan is making all that noise.

How to make a fan quieter

How To Make a Fan Quieter

Before we get to specific types of fans let's look at some general fan quieting tips:

• Clean your fan thoroughly at least once a month. 

Dirt is a huge contributor to noise and can affect the quality of your fan. Cleaning it regularly and thoroughly is a must. 

• Tighten any loose screws or knobs.

Check for loose screws or knobs on the exterior of the fan motor. They can be tightened with a screwdriver.

• Make sure the fan blades are aligned. 

When blades are not balanced, they’ll make a whirring sound that’s not pleasant to listen to. If the blades are made out of metal, you can simply bend them until they’re balanced again.

What if your fan doesn’t have metal blades? We’ve got a solution. Take a look at what you can do to fix it:

Step 1: Lay the blades flat on a level surface. Look to see whether the blades are touching the surface. 

Step 2: Place a cardboard or plastic sheet over the top of the blades. Make sure that the blades are touching the surface above them. 

• Oil the fan motor.

Hearing clicking or clunking noises? Then you may want to try oiling your fans motor. You don’t need to do this often, just two to three times a year.

You can use SAE 20 or a non-detergent oil to do the job. Make sure that you only use two drops at a time otherwise you could damage the motor. 

It's important to moderate your expectations of how quiet the fan can be. All fans make some noise, especially ones that shift a lot of air. Even the quietest hair dryer will have a pretty loud fan.

How To Make a Ceiling Fan Quieter

How to make a ceiling fan quieter

What can you do to make your ceiling fan just a bit more bearable to be around? Well, there’s quite a few things you can do to successfully rid your fan of annoying sounds, here’s some of the things you can do:

•Tighten the blade screws. 

•Replace bad capacitors. 

•Remove the Receiver from remotes (used with remote controlled fans). 

•Replace dimmer controls with standard speed controls.

  • Check the fan to see if there are any warped blades

You’ll need to use a ladder to reach the blades. Manually turn the blades. As you do this, make sure that no blades are higher or lower than the ones next to it. 

  • Take a look at the pull chain

When the blades move on high speed, the pull chain can end up knocking against the blades. If you notice this happening, you can do one of two things: 

  1. Shorten the chain if its longer than you need it to be. 
  1. A pull chain that swings easily and knocks into the blades is an indication that the blades are unbalanced. Try balancing the blades. 
  • Ensure that the junction box is secure

All of the fan’s wires are held inside the junction box. Here’s how to secure it: 

Step 1: Take off the fans top mount from the ceiling. This will give you access to the junction box. 

Step 2: Check to see if the junction box is loose. If it is, tighten all of the connections. 

Step 3: Re-attach the top mount. 

  • Clean your fan

It goes without saying, that all appliances get dirty. This is especially true when it comes to a ceiling fan.

We don’t always see it, but dust builds up on the blades. Now you could just take a rag and wipe the dust off, but you’re going to end up blowing dust all over your room.

So, here’s a few steps you can take to ensure that your fan gets cleaned properly (as well as what you’ll need) while not creating more work: 

What You Need: 

  • A ladder
  • An old pillowcase or damp rag
  • Paper towels or microfibre rags
  • An all-purpose cleaner

How to Clean Your Ceiling Fan

Step 1: Place the ladder under the fan. 

Step 2: If you decide to use a pillowcase, gently place the pillowcase over the blades. Slide the pillowcase back off the blades while wiping the dust into the pillowcase. Be careful to not dislodge the blades when you do this. 

Step 3: Use paper towels or a microfibre rag and some all-purpose spray to get rid of any remaining dirt on the blades. 

The best way to make sure you're happy with your ceiling fan is by buying the quietest ceiling fan to begin with.

How To Make a Box Fan Quieter

How to make a box fan quieter

A box fan can be put in different places. They’re commonly used to better circulate air around small spaces. They come in different shapes and sizes and have either a metal or plastic protective guard.

If you’re struggling with a noisy box fan, you can follow these steps: 

  • Turn the fan off when you’re not using it. 

Turning the fan off when it’s not in use will help to combat a dirt build-up which will also keep it quieter for longer. 

  • Check the motor to see if it needs to be oiled. 
  • Loosen the protective guard.

Try to loosen the protective guard. It’ll give the blades some space to move and won’t be knocking into other parts of the fan. 

  • Clean your box fan.

We’ve already mentioned that cleaning your fan is super helpful when it comes to making your fan quieter. But it’s a bit tricky to clean a box fan because of the protective guard.

Fortunately, we know exactly how you should clean your box fan. Take a look: 

Step 1: Get all your tools together. If you don’t have some of the tools we’re going to list, you may need to buy some or borrow them from a neighbour. Here’s what you’ll need: 

Step 2: Remove the protective guard or front grilles using the screwdriver. Don’t lose any of the screws. 

Step 3: Use the dusting brush to clean the motor. 

Step 4: Use the all-purpose cleaner or de-greaser on the blades to get rid of any dirt. 

Step 5: Clean the protective guard.

Step 6: Put all of the parts back together. Turn the fan on just to see whether everything is working properly. 

Placing your box fan on anti-vibration pads will also help reduce the fan noise.

How To Make a Whole House Fan (Attic Fan) Quieter 

How to make an attic fan quieter

Attic fans are great to use but require a lot of attention. Most of the time, if your whole house fan is being super noisy, you can fix it yourself and it’s not too difficult to do it. Here’s how you can sort it out: 

  • Replace the ball-bearings

Ball-bearings are supposed to help the fan run smoothly, but if they wear out they’ll start to make a lot of noise. Unfortunately there’s no quick fix when it comes to worn out  ball-bearings. You’ll need to replace ball-bearings and make sure they fit properly. 

  • Oil the motor

You’ll know if the fans motor needs to be lubricated by how the fan runs without blades. If the fan is still making loud sounds even after the blades have been removed then the motor will be cause of the problem. You may need to replace the motor, but try oiling it first. 

  • Replace the Motor.

If lubricating the motor doesn’t work, you’ll need to replace the motor. It’s recommended that you buy the same motor as the one you’re replacing from the same company you got it from. 

But there is something you should know. Replacing the motor is super expensive & it’s a really tricky process. It’ll be far easier to buy a new fan altogether. 

  • Tighten the fan mount or any other loose parts. 

Being one of the most common causes of fan noise, you’ll want to check whether the fan mount is loose. It’ll cause a vibration noise that won’t be difficult to hear. All you need is a screwdriver and a pair of hands to tighten the mount and any other loose parts you might find while you’re sorting out the mount.

  • Check for unbalanced blades. 

If you're looking to keep your attic humidity down then buying a quiet inline fan and some ducting is a simple way to get it done.

How To Make a Bathroom Fan Quieter

How to make a bathroom fan quieter

Bathroom fans are the best at doing what they’re made to do, removing moisture and smells from the room. With that being said, we want them to do their job, not make noise.

It’s true that almost all fans will make noise, but you can make your bathroom fan quieter. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Clean the fan and components. 

We know how important cleaning our fans are. Here’s how to clean a bathroom fan:

Step 1: Remove the fan cover. This will give you access to the fan blades and housing. 

Step 2: Use a rag and soapy water to clean the fan blades, fan housing and motor assembly. You can clean anything else that looks like it could be dirty as well. Wait for it to dry and then put the fan cover back where it should be. 

  • Use a bigger duct

More air pressure means more noise and the bigger the duct is, the less air pressure it’ll have inside. Here’s what to do if you decide to install a new duct on an existing fan: 

Step 1: Unhook the duct from the outlet on the fan. 

Step 2: Install an enlarger coupling on the fan’s outlet. 

Step 3: Remove your fans existing duct to the vent in the roof or wall. 

Step 4: Enlarge the vent opening according to the size of your new duct. 

Step 5: Run the new duct from your vent to your fan, making sure its straight. 

  • Adjust the housing or fan blades 

Blades and housing that’s been moved out of place will cause quite a bit of noise besides being more susceptible to wear and tear. Here’s how you can sort out this issue: 

Step 1: Turn off the fan. Then, remove the fan cover. 

Step 2: Move the blades manually with your finger. You’ll want to see whether the blades are not moving properly or whether they’re hitting the fan housing. 

Step 3: If it’s clear that the fan blades are the problem, you’ll need to straighten the blades. Once you’ve done that, you can remount it. 

  • Lubricate the fan motor. 

Fan components tend to dry out after a few years, and this will cause a lot of friction which wears out the fan.

Keep these steps in mind for if you decide to lubricate your fan: 

Step 1: Remove the fan cover first. 

Step 2: Clean off the fan blades and the housing. Get rid of all the dirt or grime. 

Step 3: Use a lubricant around the base of the fan blades. Spin the blades around once or twice to ensure that the lubricant reaches into the deepest parts of the fan. 

  • Tighten the mounting screws

There are two ways this can be done: 

  1. If the screws run through the fan assembly into the joist. 

If this is the case, you can simply remove the fan cover, find the screws that connect the fan to the joist and tighten them. 

  1. The fan has been installed to the ceiling joists with hangers that are located above the ceiling drywall. 

You’ll need to tighten the screws that connect the fan to the hanger. You also need to tighten the screws that connect the hanger to the joist. You can find these screws by following the hangers from the fan assembly to the joists they’re connected to. 

A quiet fan isn’t such a difficult thing to have, whether it’s a box, ceiling, attic, or bathroom fan. As challenging as it may seem, you can do something to make your fan more of a pleasure to own, especially now that you know what causes those annoying fan sounds. These are also good ideas if you're trying to make a noisy window air conditioner quiet.

Don’t throw your noisy fan away or give up on it until you’ve tried the suggested solutions to reduce fan noise. You may need to use a combination of these tips to make your fan quieter. And even though fans shouldn’t make an unbelievable racket, remember that all fans will make at least some noise.