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How to Make a Fan Quieter: A Step-by-Step Guide

Silent Home Hub How to Make a Fan Quieter

In this guide on how to make fans quieter, we’ll share a mix of some DIY tips and a few technical practices to reduce the noise your fan makes.

Whether it’s a room fan, box fan, or ceiling fan, everyone wants as little fan noise as they can get. But worry no more!

Everything you need to know is in this guide on how to make your fan quieter.

Table of Contents

What Causes Fan Noise?

There are several things that can make a room fan noisy:

  1. It’s not placed on a flat surface.
  2. It may have some loose screws.
  3. Parts are filled with dust and dirt.
  4. Your fan unit might be old and may need repairs or some greasing.

Before proceeding with any of these methods, make sure to inspect your fan first!

Determining the main problem can help you decide which method must be done to make a room fan quieter.

How to Make a Fan Quieter

The steps we enumerate below are arranged from the simplest to most drastic of solutions. Depending on the problem of your room fan, you may just need a simple relocation or a teardown.

We recommend trying these steps in succession and stopping when the sounds have reduced enough for you.

After all, it may not be good to go tinkering around in there, especially if your room fan or box fan is still under warranty or you’re not used to fixing your appliances.

Step 1: Keep Your Fan on a Flat Surface

The first and simplest solution among these tips is just to put your fan on a flat surface.

A lot of the noises we hear come from parts of the base or the bottom of your room fan vibrating against any hard place or ground of your room.

You see, the usual noise from your fan comes from the spinning of the blades, which shifts the entire weight of the fan and tends to move it and rattle the whole body.

This becomes extra noisy if the vibrations are transferred onto the ground. This is applicable mostly for a standing fan or a box fan.

So, just make sure to keep it on a smooth, level floor or table to avoid any uneven distribution of the fan’s weight and keep certain parts from hitting your floor.

Step 2: Place Your Fan on a Rug or Carpet

If step 1 doesn’t work for you, try putting your standing or box fan on a rug or carpet next time.

This can fix any imbalance and rattling issues, particularly if your fan’s base has been damaged or warped over time.

The blades of the box fan are nearer to the structures surrounding it. Cushioning the four corners or four sides of box fans can make them more stable and silent.

So, instead of replacing your fan or its entire base, just put in a sound-dampening rug or thick carpet to cushion the base and absorb some of the noise and vibrations.

As the fan shifts, these surfaces will muffle any unwanted noise.

Step 3: Clean Your Fan Thoroughly and Regularly

Like any other appliance, having dust, dirt, and other debris can cause it to overheat or make loud noises.

Make sure you perform regular cleaning and maintenance AT LEAST once a month to keep dust accumulation to a minimum.

Noise may come from dust, hair, debris, and dirt that interferes with the fan’s moving parts.

To clean your fans, ensure they are turned off and not plugged in your socket. Then, carefully take it apart.

Depending on your unit, you may need a screwdriver for this.

To take it apart for cleaning:

  1. Most fans just use latches. So you can start by unlatching the front blade guards or cage and carefully placing it on the floor of your room.
  2. Unscrew the cap/blade hub at the center of the blades, then slide your fan blades off.
  3. Remove the second cap that separates the blades from the back of the cage, then slide the back cage off as well.
  4. Now, you’ll just be left with your fan’s motor.

To clean your fan:

  1. Clean anything exposed, including the ones you just removed, by wiping it with a dry cloth then washing it with a damp, soapy cloth. Wipe it dry afterward.
  2. Wipe the exterior of the motor with a dry cloth. You can also use a camera lens blower, canned air, or air duster to get the dust off those hard-to-reach parts, like inside the motor.
  3. If you also plan to try tips 4 and 5 below, now’s the time to do it.
  4. Make sure all the components are clean and dry before replacing everything in the reverse order in which you took them apart.

Based on the many years we’ve done this, this gave a significant power increase and amount of cold air the fan blows regardless of speed, along with a drastic noise reduction.

If these tips still haven’t solved your noise problem, move on to step 4.

Step 4: Tighten Any Loose Screws or Knobs

We all know how much noise loose screws or knobs can make, especially with fans because of all the vibrations they make during use.

While your fan’s parts are all separated, you may as well check for any loose parts like screws or knobs from the outside of the fan motor.

Just tighten all loose parts with a screwdriver or wrench so they don’t shake or dislodge when you turn your fan back on.

Warning: Do NOT attempt to take your motor apart. Just check the exterior. Otherwise, you may risk damaging it or hurting yourself, especially if you don’t usually do this kind of thing.

Step 5: Align Your Fan Blades

Any unevenness in the blades can cause an imbalance, which may make a loud whirring sound when your fan is turned on.

To check if you have this issue, test the blades by laying them flat on any level surface. Here’s what you will need to do:

  1. Place the blades on a flat surface.
  2. Check if all the bottoms are touching the flat surface you’ve placed it on.
  3. Check the top side by placing a level piece of rigid, flat cardboard or plastic sheet, and check if all the tops also touch the surface above them.

If you see any unevenness on either of these, you will need to adjust your blades and realign them.

For fans with metal blades, you can simply bend them gently until they are aligned, constantly checking using the 3 steps we stated above.

If you have plastic blades mounted on a metal center, on the other hand, you can adjust the mental center mounting.

However, if you have blades entirely made of plastic, you may need to replace them entirely to fix the problem. The plastic will snap if you try to adjust it or apply any pressure, so we don’t recommend doing this.

Step 6: Oil Parts of the Fan That Move, Especially the Motor

If none of the first 5 tips we’ve already mentioned have reduced the noise, one thing you can try is oiling the moving components of your fan with non-detergent oil.

This will help its internal mechanisms smoothly glide against one another and avoid any clicking or clunking noise.

We recommend using straight weight oil like SAE 20 or a multipurpose one like non-detergent oil.

Look for the oil ports, which look like small openings.

Just DO NOT use more than two drops of this fan lubrication at any given time. Otherwise, you risk damaging the motor.

Moreover, do not do this more than 2 or 3 times in any given year.

You can also do this for the other metal pieces if you see that it’s causing any unnecessary friction against one another.

For example, if you have the fan type that doesn’t have these ports on the motor, like a box fan, you can spray the pin that holds the fan blades in place.

Step 7: Replace Any Damaged Cushioning

This particular step will depend on the type of room fan you have. This is applicable for a box fan type.

Some rotating fans will have foam cushioning in between the caps. These sandwich the blades and separate them from the front and back of the cage.

These are designed for noise reduction reasons. However, if they are damaged, scratched, or worn down with long-time wear and tear, they can be the source of all the sounds you hate.

  • Generally, you can’t replace these cushions once they have degraded. So, we recommend that you scrape them off and completely replace them as an alternative.
  • You can just get foam from the hardware store to do this. Then, attach the new foam with rubber or glue adhesive to where the original foam cushioning was.
  • Let everything completely dry before reassembling the fan.
  • While you’re at it, you can also pad the space between the two halves of the case if you see that they are no longer flat against each other.

You’ll know you have to do this if the two halves are no longer closing together correctly or the clasps don’t fit anymore.

This can cause excessive noise and be dangerous for you in case the blade will come loose.

To fix this issue, check where the closure is uneven and target the area where they no longer fit against each other with the foam we suggested above or any other padding material.

Just ensure you don’t get excess padding inside in case it hits the blade.

If you decide to use these tips, remember it is only a temporary fix as you look for a replacement room fan, as using this kind of fan can be dangerous if the blades and blade hub ever come loose. 

Step 8: DIY Solutions for an Old Fan Cage

Many fans have cages typically made of metal with clasps on the side that can be either metal or plastic.

All these parts can easily warp or break over time and cause pieces to rattle, like the loose screws we talked about earlier.

The good news is there are some easy ways to DIY this problem.

  • If the edges of your fan cage have warped, you can wedge a piece of really thick cardboard or rubber in between to close the gap.
    • Just make sure that whatever you decide to use is thick enough to fill the gap of your room fan; while still having a diameter small enough to keep your fan blades from hitting the cardboard when they start to spin.
  • If your problem is a loose decorative cap that usually sits in the front and center of the cage, you can easily fasten this back on with some silicone sealant or permanent glue.

You can also use these same adhesives if the two plastic clasps on the side have started cracking and loosening.

Any other loose components that you find on the cage can also be taped back together with duct tape or adhesives.

No matter what filling, adhesive, or duct tape you use, make sure it does not extend into the cage of your room fan and hit the blades or come loose and fall in. This can become dangerous or just ruin the fix you tried to make.

Remember that any foreign objects that come into contact with the fan blade while spinning can damage the machinery, the blades themselves, or you.

Additional Tricks You Can Do

Another way you can make your room fan quieter is by not using the oscillating feature. Surprised?

Oscillation features do contribute to those noisy vibrations.

Moreover, don’t do what some do and turn the power up. Try using the maximum speed when you’re not in the room so it’s cooler by the time you come back instead.

And if none of these suggestions work and you’ve decided to get a brand new fan anyway, many people will highly recommend blade-less or white noise fans.

Are These Applicable to Different Types of Fans?

Take note that some of these methods aren’t applicable to all types of fans!

What causes noise to a standing fan might not be the same for a ceiling and box fan since they have different structures.

So some methods might not work for ceiling fans or a box fans. Which is why it’s important to inspect your fan first!

Do research before you follow any of these methods!

Final Words

Woman directing a fan to her face

Following these tips will make a big difference in trying to make a room fan quieter.

Whether the challenge lies with the blades, the need to add some oil on your motor, or any other fan component, most of these suggestions will make your fan quieter instantly.

You can do variations to these methods depending on if you have ceiling, standing, or box fans.

If your fan unit is still making noise, particularly a clicking one, check out our guide on Clicking Fan Noise.


Changelog:

July 12, 2021 – removed 3 external links, removed 4 affiliate links

June 30, 2021 added changelog, fixed and updated article formatting and content

About the Author

andrea_adams

Andrea has always been bombarded by the hustle and bustle outside her home. Living in the city doesn’t get any quieter. The never ending noise from construction, traffic, and dogs barking on the streets day in and day out drove Andrea to a breaking point.

For 3 years, Andrea committed herself to studying DIY hacks, performing soundproofing experiments, and installing noise-free solutions. Now, she lives a quiet life free of the stress from noisy environments.

She hopes to share this knowledge so that others don’t have to endure the noise reigning in their ears and live a peaceful, stress-free life.