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Fans are significant assets in our homes. They provide us with added comfort during hot days.
Fans are an excellent addition to our HVAC systems. Some like the ceiling fans help keep our rooms cool when hot and warm during cold days.
Though fans do an incredible job of keeping us cool during summer and warm in winter, they may make some noise while in operation. Some of the sounds produced can be irritating and annoying. One can hardly enjoy a peaceful sleep or concentrate on something.
If you have a young kid, an elderly, or a sick person in the house, the fan noise may make them restless and uneasy. A fan could work excellently in cooling a space but irritate you with its noise. It means the sound produced does not affect the fan’s cooling effect.
Most manufacturers have become innovative in reducing the fan’s noise while in action. But despite trying their efforts in meeting the demands of their clients, it becomes a challenge to create a small fan that performs excellently without making a sound while in operation.
If a fan makes a lot of air move quickly around a space, it means that it’s rotating very fast. At high speed, fans produce noise. Regarding fans, when they make noise when active, they operate optimally.
But it is not always the case that when a fan makes sounds while operating, it is doing an incredible job of circulating air. It could have some issues that drive the noise to develop. In this article, you shall learn the various causes of noise in a fan. You will also grasp how to reduce sounds made by fans. You will have an insight into tips and tricks to make your fan operate quietly.
Generally, some fans are designed to produce noise when active. Others come intended not to make any noise when operating. In this guide, you shall learn how to lower such fan noises in both cases. Let’s start by analyzing where fans’ sounds originate while they are in action.
What Makes a Fan Produce Noise?
The causes of a fan making noise while active are many. They include the following;
i. The Number of Blades
A fan with many blades will hardly make any noise when rotating because they cause drag. The fan drag makes its blades rotate slowly. As a result, there is no noise produced. Fans with many blades consume a lot of energy and do not circulate air efficiently.
But a fan with few blades enhances the fan to move fast. In return, the fan moves a lot of air quickly. That is why they become effective in cooling you or your room. Because of the high-speed rate, such fans produce sounds.
ii. Loose Parts
A fan’s loose parts, like screws, can make a rattling sound when you switch on your device. Screws attaching the motor to the fan blades can sometimes loosen up after being used for a long time. When you hear such a noise, check your fan’s screws first. If loose, tighten them up.
Loose parts in a fan can be dangerous. If the mounting hardware is flexible, it could make the entire fan shake while operating. The shaking may make a disturbing noise, and the fan may eventually fall. What if it falls on you or any of your family members?
Wires inside the fan can also become loose and produce a rattling sound. Always check out your fan for flexible cables. Ensure you switch off its power source first. Then tighten all wires. Check even the wires found in the switch housing.
iii. Vibration Between the Parts
If the fan’s parts touch each other, they are likely to vibrate when you switch the fan on. The mechanical noise produced may make you go nuts. Ensure all the fan’s elements are balanced before you switch it on. Every part should be in its position.
iv. Speed Rate
The sound’s magnitude and frequency depend on the fan’s speed. When the rotational speed goes up, the noise’s frequency and magnitude also increase. The increase of the two is proportional.
Generally, some motors produce noise when in operation. If this is the kind of engine installed in your fan, it will make the fan noisy. But sounds from motors are usually very minimal
Fans come in various designs and styles to meet different users’ tastes. Some designs contribute to the fans producing the sounds when in operation. Some could come with decorative parts that overlay each other to create a particular pattern. When such a fan starts working, the components may vibrate and make some noise.
vii. Materials Used in Fan Making
Most cheap materials make noise with the slightest move or touch. If such materials get used in making a fan, they will make sounds while the fan starts working. Such fans are friendly to your pocket, but you will have to endure the disturbing noise. Quality fans come at a price, but worth every penny!
viii. Obstacles Around the Fan
Where you place or mount your fan is critical. Some obstacles in the fan’s front or back side may attribute to it making some sounds. A fan blowing in the air to a hollow object or fabric may create sounds. If you are to place your fan near a window, draw out the curtains first.
Keep clear of any obstacles near an active fan. If you mount your device on the wall near a calendar with many pages, you will not like the flying pages’ scene while making annoying sounds.
Obstacles may also increase the noise from the fan. Those on the fan’s intake side make the fan produce more sounds than the fan’s exhaust side’s obstructions.
ix. Controlling the Fan’s Speed Using Dimmer Switches
Some fans, like the ceiling types, come with specific speed controls. When you use dimmer switches to manage the fan’s speed, it produces a humming noise. You may not notice the sound in the daytime because it can get covered by other noises.
The noise is apparent during the night. You may find yourself not being able to sleep because of the annoying humming sound from your fan. Sometimes it’s too much that some people opt to switch off the fan and ensure the hot weather throughout the night.
Replace your dimmer switch with the proper speed controls to eliminate the noise.
x. Bad Receivers
When a fan uses a remote control, it must have good receivers. Otherwise, it may not get a powerful signal from your remote control. In such a situation, the fan produces a humming sound. You can only get rid of this problem by taking the receiver out from your device. Direct connection of your fan to the power source will also work out fine.
xi. Bad Capacitors
You may connect your fan directly to the power source after removing the receiver but find out that the humming noise is still there. It could be because of bad capacitors. Changing them, the switch up, or both will sort out this problem.
Bad capacitors also cause low voltage levels, making the motor struggle. When a fan runs with under 105 volts, it will produce some sounds. Also, overpowering your power source could lower the fan’s voltage level.
Ensure you don’t have so many fans or other electrical gadgets on one circuit. It attributes to the noise produced by the fan. This kind of situation is notorious in older homes. In the past, houses used to get designed with many rooms sharing the same circuit.
xii. Poor Installation
The way a fan gets mounted on its place may contribute to the noise it produces. For example, if you mount a ceiling fan on the ceiling joist, producing sounds while in operation is inevitable. The beam amplifies the noise emitted by the fan. In return, you experience a louder noise.
If you need to mount a fan on the wall or ceiling, use the approved mounting devices like fan hangers. They install the fan so that it produces no noise while in operation. If a fan has got its sounds, it doesn’t get amplified. The correct mounting devices will reduce the noise.
As illustrated above, the causes of noise in a fan are many. Though a fan might be efficient, the sound it produces while in operation disturbs many users’ peace. It has led to an increase in the fans’ demand that produces no sound while active. As a response to this, professionals and fan makers have developed several technological advancements to reduce or eliminate fan noise.
Besides the experts’ efforts regarding noise reduction in fans, there are also other ways you can do to decrease fan sounds. Here is what you can do;
Tips and Tricks of Reducing Fan Noise
Even the smallest things can cause noise making in a fan. Luckily, they are also the easiest to fix. The first thing to do in reducing fan sounds in investigating their origin. Start with the simple sources first. Blades are common sources of noise in a fan. Therefore, start by doing the following;
I. Inspect and Clean the Fan’s Blades
When blades get dirty, they start shaking and wobbling because the dirt throws them out of balance. You will need to have them cleaned. Use a damp towel, cloth, or paper towel to clean both sides. Please pay more attention to the upper side because it is usually dirtier.
Then dry any moisture on the blades immediately. Manufacturers use materials easily destroyed by water when making most fans. Excellent examples are particleboard materials or wood composite. After cleaning the blades, inspect them for anything unusual like warping, bending, or damage. For the bent blades, try straightening them. Tightening the blades may rectify their bending problem.
In case the blade has any defect or is damaged, replacing it with a new one will be the best solution. Ensure to use the exact match. Buy one from the manufacturer or dealer. Loose, damaged, and warped blades can make your fan wobble. In return, the motor finds it hard to operate. The fan mount may also loosen.
II. Blade Tightening
After cleaning the blades, the next thing to do to reduce fan noise is to tighten them. Sounds from a fan can be from various loose parts, and blades are no exception. First, inspect where the blades mount to the brackets. Then check where the brackets attach to the rotating part.
If the blades are loose, tighten them. Tools like screws or keyholes fasten blades effectively. Keyholes can fit over studs and pins on the bracket, making them very useful to use. Bolts or screws get used in securing the brackets to the motor. Use a wrench or screwdriver to tighten them.
Screws with Phillips – head usually come larger than the standard screws. If yours are like this, use a #2 or #3 Philips screwdriver to fasten them. If the screw has a square space in the middle of its head, it’s a #3 screw. Look out for a #3 bit in your screwdriver set and use it. You will find a corresponding flat part on the bit’s tip point. Avoid using a #2 screwdriver to secure #3 screws. It will strip the screws.
III. Inspect and Secure Fixture Parts
Some fans come with added features like light fixtures. Check out the fixture for any loose parts. The shades, globes, or bulbs should be firm and resting at their correct positions. Most fixtures are usually tightened using thumbscrews which are easy to fasten using your hands.
Avoid using tightening tools on thumbscrews because they can over-tighten them or crack the fixture. If the fixture is still loose after tightening the thumbscrews, try adding a rubber band to the fixture’s neck. Ensure it runs around the entire neck. Then tighten the screws again.
You can get rubbers made specifically to silence fans from the manufacturers or dealers. Such rubbers are known as silencer bands.
IV. Fasten the Motor Cover
When fans produce a scraping or intermittent noise, it is usually caused by the blade brackets’ dragging on the motor housing cover or fan shroud. By adjusting the cover’s position, you get to solve this problem. Start by loosening the screws securing the cover. Then position the motor cover to rest correctly in its position. Then fasten the screws.
As explained before, also ensure that the blade brackets do not rub against the cover. When tightened properly, they cannot touch the cover. Ensure they are well secured.
V. Check if the Fan is Wobbling
A fan cannot wobble and not make noise. Wobbling in a fan can be due to several reasons. If you want to know whether your fan is wobbling, ensure you first tighten everything and that the blades are okay and straight. Then fasten its mounting screws. Follow the following procedure;
Step 1: Switch Off the Power Breaker
Because you will use metal tools in the fastening process, switching off power from the wall switch may not be safe. You need to turn off the ideal power breaker box servicing your home.
Step 2: Loosen the Fan Canopy Cover Screws
Remove the screws securing the cover. If it’s a ceiling fan, bring down the canopy after loosening it.
Step 3: Test for Power
Use a voltage tester to check whether there’s power in the wiring. You need to confirm whether the power is off. Otherwise, it is dangerous.
Step 4: Fasten the screws Connecting the Mounting Bracket.
Ensure you tighten the screws fastening the mounting bracket using a screwdriver. If it’s a ceiling fan, the bracket should get connected firmly to the electrical box situated on the ceiling.
If you find these screws loose, know that they cause your fan wobbling.
Step 5: Inspect the Electrical Box
If the electrical box moves when you try shaking it, know that there might be a loose nut. It can also cause the fan to make some noise. The box should not move when shaken; it should be rock-solid. Search for the loose nuts or screws and tighten them. They could be screws fastening the box directly or tightening it against the mounting brace.
The box could be made with low-quality material or installed the wrong type. If that’s the case, change the box. Install a quality fan box and ensure it is secured tightly enough not to move when shaken. Test it by applying some pressure from side to side.
Step 6: Reinstall the Cover
Return the cover of the fan and put on power. Then test the fan to see if it still wobbles. If the wobbling persists, the problem could be with the blades. Unbalanced blades make the fan wobble. Here is how you attend to the unbalanced blades;
VI. Balance the Blades
If you have tried all the above tips and your fan is still making noise or wobbling, check its blades’ balance. There is a special kit used for balancing the blades. Mostly, it gets sold with the fan. If you don’t have one, you need not worry. They are cheap and easily accessible at any hardware or home center. The kit contains various stick-on weights and a plastic clip.
Using the kit is easy. First, fit the clip on one of the blade’s rear edges. Then put on the fan. If the wobbling disappears, that blade was the problem. Switch off the fan and place the clip on other different locations on that blade to determine the best position for reducing the wobble.
Then take one of the kit’s weights and place it on the blade’s rear side, at the middle facing the clip. Test again to see if the fan still wobbles. If it does, add another weight. Place the clip on all blades to find the one with a problem. Then add weight to it until there is no wobbling.
If the above tricks and tips do not work, minimize the noise from your fan using the following techniques;
Methods of Reducing Sounds in a Fan
a. Using Damping Layer
Create a damping layer on your fan to reduce the level of sounds coming from it. The damping layer is useful if used with materials good at absorbing noise. For example, cotton wool. You can stuff the noise-dampening materials around the blade cover and other ideal places.
Take care not to interfere with your fan’s operation while doing so. You can also use fiberglass or foam to line the ductworks. Placing a pad under the installation place reduces vibration.
b. Proper Mounting
You should be careful how you install your fan. Wrongly placed fans produce noise. Use the manufacturer manual to install your fan. If you doubt yourself, seek the services of a professional.
c. Sealing Open Gap Areas
Open places in a fan may attribute to its noise making. To solve this problem, minimize the openings’ size by covering them with flexible seals.
d. Use Quieter Timing Chains
Some fans come with timing chains and belts that make a lot of noise. Fortunately, the market has timing accessories that do not make much noise. They come with various tooth profiles to allow you to use the comfortable noise level. Consider using such quieter timing tools.
e. Change the Speed of Your Fan
When fans rotate fast, they produce some noise. Reducing the speed rate will also decrease the noise. Change or modify the speed controllers in your centrifugal flow or axial fans to reduce speed.
f. Replacing the Nozzles
Most fans come with regular nozzles that contribute to producing sound when they are active. Remove such nozzles and replace them with quiet and high efficient pneumatic nozzles. Your fan’s noise will reduce significantly.
g. Change the Motor
If your fan operates with electric motors that control speed, they will likely make some sounds while in use. To solve this problem, replace them with general-duty motors.
Fans are essential devices in our homes, but they can be a nuisance when producing noise. Luckily, as explained above, there are many ways of reducing noise from a fan. Some are so simple you don’t have to call for help, making them excellent DIY home projects.
Some noise reduction techniques like tightening the wires may require an expert. Use the method you can manage to avoid damaging the fan and endangering yourself. If your fan is giving you sleepless nights with its sounds when active and you really need its cooling effect, use the above tricks and methods to reduce the noise. If nothing works to your expectations, consider buying a quiet fan.