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How to Balance a Ceiling Fan Using a Coin

Nolen is a part-time home handyman and has used the techniques mentioned in this article to balance several ceiling fans for customers.

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Is Your Ceiling Fan Vibrating or Shaking? Here's How to Fix This Common Problem

A shaking, wobbly or vibrating ceiling fan is not only annoying but this problem may even cause severe damage to your fan and light kit. In severe cases, ceiling fan vibration issues can cause the whole fan assembly to come crashing down if the issue causing the shaking isn't properly addressed.

Start By Checking the Screws Holding Fan Blades On

A vibrating or shaking ceiling fan can be caused by several things. One cause may be that the screws holding the blades have become loosened over time. The first step to balance a ceiling fan is to check all the screws using a Phillips screwdriver, as seen in the image above.

Once you've tightened all the screws be sure to remove any dirt or dust that may have accumulated on top of the blades. Turn the fan on once more, set to medium, and see if it's still vibrating after you've tightened all the screws.

Ceiling Fan Checklist

  1. Check for loose fan blades and tighten the screws.
  2. Clean dirt and dust from fan blades.
  3. Check that the shroud or motor cover isn't loose and tighten screws if necessary.
  4. Make sure to check all lampshades and bulbs and tighten loose screws and light bulbs.
  5. Make sure the switch on the side of the motor housing in in the correct position for the season.

Note - Most fans have a small black switch on the motor housing which changes whether the fan sucks air up toward the ceiling (best for summer) or pushes it downward toward the floor (best for winter).

how-to-balance-a-ceiling-fan-using-a-coin

Using a Coin to Balance Ceiling Fan Blades

If you still need to balance your ceiling fan after tightening all the screws on the blades you can try using a coin such as a quarter - which serves as a counterweight - on one of the blades. For smaller ceiling fans, you may only need to use a penny to balance the fan blades.

Trial And Error Pays Off

Start by taping a quarter in the middle of one of the blades using painters tape, as seen in the photo below. Turn the fan on again and see if it still vibrates. If not, you've gotten lucky and found the one blade that needed balancing. If the fan is still vibrating, turn it off and try removing the quarter and sticking it on other blades. Also try varying the location on the blade, placing the quarter farther out or closer in and testing the fan again each time.

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Occasionally, some very unbalanced ceiling fans may need more weights to balance the blades. You may need to attach a second or even third coin to other blades to stop vibration from occurring.

The process of finding the unbalanced blade or blades can take some time, so be patient. For larger fans you may need to use heavier coins, such as a fifty cent piece.

Safety First - Make sure that the fan blades come to a complete stop before attaching weights to the blades.


Try moving the coin farther out or closer to the motor to see where it works best.

Try moving the coin farther out or closer to the motor to see where it works best.

Attach the Coin to Fan Blade

After you've found the "sweet spot" where the coin needs to be to balance a shaking ceiling fan, you can go ahead and permanently attach it to the top of the blade using a pliable adhesive such as silicone sealant.

Using a pliable adhesive is a much better way to adhere a coin to the blade, in case you ever need to pry it off in the future. In the photo below we placed a small spot of silicone adhesive on the coin before flipping it over and sticking it down on the fan blade.

Give the sealant a couple hours to set up before turning the fan on. If you ever need to remove the coin, you can use a razor blade tool and slide it underneath the coin to pry it off.

how-to-balance-a-ceiling-fan-using-a-coin

Using a Ceiling Fan Balancing Kit

If you've fond that using the coin method to balance your ceiling fan isn't working, you may want to try a ceiling fan balancing kit. We've used Dotlite ceiling fan balancing weights in 3 and 5 gram sizes for some harder to balance Hunter ceiling fans we've come across and these worked very well.

The nice thing about using a ceiling fan balancing kit vs. coins is that they often come with a small plastic clip which you can use to temporarily move the weights to different locations on the blades - just as we did with our painter tape, only much easier. When you've finally found the right spot for the weight, you simply peel off the adhesive backing and attach it to the fan blade.

Either method for balancing a shaking ceiling fan will work, but to save money you may first want to try using a coin.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Nolen Hart

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