Over time, ceiling fans will tend to become noisy. In your search for solutions, you might find that you can reduce the noise by lubricating the fan! However, it's not common to have an oil-based lubricant lying around for this specific case. So, can the old tried-and-true WD-40 come to save the day? We did the research to bring you the answer.
It's not advisable to use WD-40 to lubricate a ceiling fan because it's not a good lubricant. WD-40 is mainly a solvent and rust dissolver. If applied to a ceiling fan, it should stop the noise for a while, but it will soon dry up and cause other problems.
Unfortunately, WD-40 isn't the magic fix for all our problems. What happens if you've already applied WD-40 to the ceiling fan? Will it cause substantial damage? If you can't use WD-40, what can you lubricate a ceiling fan with? These are some of the topics we'll cover in detail further ahead. Without further ado, let's get into it!
Why You Shouldn't Use WD-40 On a Ceiling Fan
We'll have to learn how it works to understand why you shouldn't use this product for lubricating a ceiling fan.
According to the manufacturer, WD-40 is a unique blend of lubricants that contains anti-corrosion agents. The main focus of using WD-40 is to remove gunk from areas while providing temporary lubrication.
You can't have gunk removal and lubrication at the same time—it's like having an all-in-one shampoo. It will work to remove gunk and apply oil to an area to some extent, but it's not as effective as individual products.
The purpose of lubrication is to control the amount of friction and wear. Ceiling fans do this by using a friction-reducing film which is usually oil-based. Thus, it begs the question—is WD-40 oil-based?
It seems to be the case. WD-40 uses a combination of baby oil, vaseline, and the substance you'd typically find in a lava lamp. This situation makes it increasingly questionable to think about using this product on a ceiling fan. Does all of that belong near the fan bearings?
WD-40 seems to be primarily a solvent rather than a lubricant.
What Happens If You Use WD-40 on a Ceiling Fan?
If you've already applied the product to the ceiling fan, it can be worrying now that you've found out it's not a dedicated lubricant. Will it have any lasting consequences? Fortunately enough, no, it won't.
The most damage it'll do is leave a gunky wax behind. It will work for some time. Though, if you're wondering if WD-40 will clean the insides, it will have minimal effects. The parts in charge of rotating the fan won't suffer from rust.
The area that needs lubrication is where friction is at its greatest. Meaning, if there's any rust happening, it's being cleaned off by the metal-to-metal contact. Regardless, once the product begins to dry, it will be more difficult for the blades to spin.
Funny enough, if you want to remove this substance from the fan bearings, you'll have to clean it with WD-40. After doing this, you'll have to wash out the new layer of WD-40. Then, apply a proper lubricant.
How Do You Lubricate a Ceiling Fan?
Now that we've put the question to rest, it's time to learn how to lubricate a ceiling fan correctly. Let's get started!
- If you haven't already, you can start by cleaning the surrounding area of the fan. When you apply oil to the bearings, you won't want dust to sneak in.
- Locate the oil hole. It's typically near the downrod. Some ceiling fans will require you to unscrew some areas before accessing the bearings. For accuracy, look at your owner's manual for instructions on where to locate it.
- Use the end of a pipe cleaner to check the oil level. Insert the tool about 1/2 inch deep. Take it out and observe the result. If it's dry, you need to oil the bearings immediately.
- To oil your fan, you'll need to consult your owner's manual to see what will work as a lubricant. It will also instruct you how much oil to use. In general, non-detergent motor oil should work. Others suggest a petroleum-based lubricant.
- If there's any spillage, make sure to clean the excess. Give the rest of the surrounding area a final cleaning before putting any pieces back together.
- Test the fan on low speed to ensure the noise has gone away.
For visual guidance on how to apply the lubricant, here's a YouTube video demonstrating how to do it:
Why Is My Ceiling Fan So Noisy?
When we're looking for solutions to a problem, we'll most often find ourselves unable to fix it right away. It can be frustrating to find out that your fan is making so much noise. In some cases, even lubricating the bearings won't reduce the noise.
So, what are the other parts that can make a fan that much noisier?
It will depend on various factors like the brand of your fan. Since we can't pinpoint the problem, we'll have to narrow down the potential culprits.
The first thing you'll need to determine is what type of noise your fan is making. Is it a humming, clicking, scraping, or grinding noise? While it might not seem that important, it indicates the severity of the problem.
Dirty fan blades are the cause of a humming noise. If your fan is clicking, the blades may have become loose. Scraping noises indicate that you need to tighten the fan canopy.
Grinding noises are a simple case of lubrication. Meaning, you need to apply some oil to the fan bearings. So, you can follow the steps above to learn how to get rid of the grinding noise.
Last but not least, a rattling noise indicates there might be something loose with the light kit.
How Can I Make My Ceiling Fan Quieter?
It isn't enough to know the causes. Now, it's time to come up with a plan of action. How can we reduce noise coming from the fan? You'll have to start small and work your way up.
Clean the Fan Blades
To start, you can clean the fan blades and see if it affects the noise level. Fan blades get dirty and accumulate a lot of dust. Consequently, a layer of dust can potentially put them off balance.
Clean the blades and the blade mounts with a damp rag. This solution should remove any humming sounds that were coming from the fan.
Tighten Loose Areas
The next noise-producing area would be the blade mounts and the light fixture fasteners. Since the blades will most likely spin for long periods, the screws that mount them will become loose over time. So, it's crucial to tighten them every once in a while.
The same thought process goes for the light fixture. Over time, the cover might loosen because of constant movement. Tighten the fasteners and test the fan to see if it produces any more noise.
If the blade mounts and light canopy aren't the problem, the upper canopy is the last area that might loosen over time. Inspect the area and tighten any screws as necessary.
Check The Motor
If you've applied all of the fixes above and the fan still makes noise, it's time to check the fan motor. When it runs out of oil, the metal parts will collide. Solving this problem involves lubricating it. You can follow the steps listed above if this is the case.
For accurate details, you'll need to check the owner's manual for instructions on lubricating your specific ceiling fan.
Is It Bad To Leave Ceiling Fans on All the Time?
In theory, leaving ceiling fans on all the time isn't a bad thing. Some users have even had success doing so. However, it's impossible to tell the condition of their fans. For example, were they keeping up with maintenance?
Did they have to tighten screws once in a while? These are some of the factors that you need to take into consideration. In general, you shouldn't run the fan when no one is in the room. Doing this will allow your fan to cool down. Plus, you'll waste less electricity.
You might be wondering if it really needs time to cool down. And, the answer to that would be yes. Fans run on motors. As mentioned, the fan bearings will be the area with the most friction. Friction produces heat. So, if you run it for too long, it does have the potential to overheat, which is never a good thing.
How Long Do Ceiling Fans Last?
Ceiling fans can last anywhere from 5 to 20 years. There are a lot of factors that go into how long it can last. Higher-quality brands might last you longer. Other factors like routine maintenance and overall usage also impact its life expectancy.
As long as you follow the instructions in the owner's manual, it should last you a long while. Otherwise, you can expect it to work for as long as 10 years, give or take.
Troubleshooting mechanical items is never an easy task. Sometimes it might seem easier to reach for the WD-40 to lubricate your ceiling fan. As we've learned, this method isn't such a good idea. We hope you found the information above helpful.
Before you go, do you have other ceiling fan concerns? Are you worried about using it too much? You might want to cut down on runtime. To learn more, check out this post: How Long Can A Ceiling Fan Run Continuously?
Is your ceiling fan wobbling? We can offer some help in that area. For more information, check out this post: Are Ceiling Fans Supposed To Wobble?