How To Lubricate a Ceiling Fan?

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4 mins read
How To Lubricate a Ceiling Fan?

Most brand-new models of ceiling fans are self-lubricating. Thus, applying lubricants to them regularly is not necessary.

However, older models require lubrication at least once a year so that they may operate smoothly. In addition, without proper maintenance, the bearings and the screws of the ceiling fan may create friction, leading to corrosion and rust.

When lubricating a ceiling fan, it is crucial to ensure that you turn it off. Once you are done, remove the blades and the fan’s motor by unscrewing it from the canopy.

Clean the fan components, wiping away the dust and grime. Look for the bearings, then apply the lubricant. After that, reassemble the ceiling fan and turn it on. You can also lubricate a ceiling fan without disassembling it.

Are You Supposed To Oil Ceiling Fans?

Ceiling fans that are older models need lubrication to last long. Since their bearings are not sealed balls, there is a big chance for them to wear out and corrode quickly.

It happens due to the friction created by the bearings. Lubricating them regularly will prevent the ceiling fan from malfunctioning. It will also help your fan to operate smoothly.

Although newer models of ceiling fans have self-lubricating features, it does not mean they won’t need any lubrication. At some point, you will need to apply oil to their bearings.

Because of dirt and dust buildup, ceiling fans may release clicking, grinding, or squeaking noises. It is not only distracting, but it may also cause bigger problems to the performance of your ceiling fan.

You may have to apply oil to the bearings at least once a year for older models. Check for dirt or dust buildup for newer models before lubricating the bearings. Ceiling fans installed in old buildings require lubrication annually since they can easily acquire dirt.

If you are unsure when to apply oil to your ceiling fan, it is good to check the manual. You can also look for the hole located at the motor’s housing.

Check the reservoir to see enough oil to run your fan smoothly. Remember, don’t lubricate the fan without checking the manual since some fans require a specific amount and oil. 

What Kind Of Lubricant Can You Use On a Ceiling Fan?

Motor Oil

What Kind Of Lubricant Can You Use On a Ceiling Fan?

There are different kinds of lubricants that you can use on a ceiling fan. One of these is 10-15- or 20-weight non-detergent motor oil.

Mobil Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-20, 5 Quart

For example, Mobil Full Synthetic Motor Oil 

Aside from being affordable, motor oil doesn’t clog the bearing. A quart of this lubricant is also enough to smoothen the movement of the fan’s bearings. 


Another lubricant that you can use for a ceiling fan is WD-40.

WD-40 Multi-Use Product with Smart Straw Sprays 2 Ways, 3-Pack, 12 OZ

WD-40 Multi-Use Product

However, you need to be careful using this lubricant fluid since it can mess up the interior of the fan’s motor.

When using WD-40, make sure that it is in the right amount. Also, don’t forget to add oil after applying the lubricant fluid. Failing to do this may cause the fan’s parts to corrode and wear quickly.

Other Alternatives

You can use baby oil as a temporary alternative if you don’t have these lubricants. It will stop the ceiling fan from squeaking. However, since it is only a quick solution, don’t forget to lubricate your ceiling fan with motor oil or WD-40.

Some of the lubricants you should not use for your ceiling fan are detergents and penetrating oils. Instead of making the movement of the bearings smooth, detergents clog them.

On the other hand, penetrating oils are inefficient in lubricating bearings, even though they can loosen screws.

In addition, prevent using 3-in-1 oils since they are combustible. However, light oils can create greater friction that may lead to excessive heat production. If this happens, electric fire is possible.

Aside from these oils, never use cooking oils as lubricants. They can form grease on the bearings, preventing them from moving smoothly.

How To Lubricate a Ceiling Fan?

How To Lubricate a Ceiling Fan?

For an older model, you need to turn off the fan. Using a screwdriver, remove the blades from the fan. Next, take off the fan’s motor.

If you have to hold wires, don’t forget to wear gloves for safety. Once the motor housing is exposed, clean the dirt and the dust using a clean cloth

Look for the bearings inside the motor. First, remove any grime, then apply the lubricant to their inner and outer edges.

Ensure that they are appropriately covered and lubricated. Once done, place them again inside the motor of the fan. Reassemble the ceiling fan and check if it is already working correctly.

Another way of lubricating a ceiling fan is locating its oil reservoir. First, please turn off the fan and its light bulb to prevent it from burning your hands or arms. Once the fan stops turning, check if there is a small hole in the motor’s housing.

If yes, check the level of the oil using a pipe cleaner. If you cannot find a hole, a different way is required to lubricate it.

If you notice that there is oil on the hook of the pipe cleaner, then lubricating it is not necessary. But if you haven’t seen any oil on it, apply 1 to 2 ounces of motor oil inside the hole.

If using a WD-40, wipe away the dirt surrounding the hole using a clean cloth. After that, spray the lubricant inside the hole in a small amount. If there is any excess, remove it using the fabric.

Let the ceiling fan rest for a while before testing it. Then, turn it on and check if it is working correctly. Make sure that no clicking and grinding sounds are coming from it. If the noise continues, detach the fan and add more lubricant inside the hole. 

Don’t hesitate to call an electrician if the problem continues after applying lubricant to the fan. A strange smell from the ceiling fan may also indicate another problem that only professional electricians can solve, especially if the capacitor needs replacement.

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