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Want to learn how to properly oil a ceiling fan without taking it down? Oiling a ceiling fan is the best way to keep them running smoothly, quietly, and efficiently.
To oil a ceiling fan without taking it down, you’ll need to locate the oil hole, which is typically located on the upper part of the motor housing. Test the oil level and if there is a need for a refill, use only the manufacturer’s specified ceiling fan lubricating oil. In many cases, the non-detergent oils work best for lubricating ceiling fans.
Steps On How to Oil a Ceiling Fan Without Taking It Down
Oiling a ceiling fan shouldn’t be a highly complex job.
You’ll need to check how often your fan needs to be oiled or if it needs to be oiled at all. Besides that, also check your user’s manual and what oil is recommended to use in your fan.
If you can’t find this information in the manual, you can look it up on your manufacturer’s website. The first thing you want to do first checks whether or not your fan has an oil hole on it. And, if it doesn’t have one, you’ll need to unmount it to do a proper job.
How to Oil a Ceiling Fan Without Taking It Down
Total Time: 30 minutes
Position a ladder
You are going to need a ladder to oil your fan. Place the ladder beneath the ceiling fan. Lock the ladder to ensure it doesn’t slip before climbing on with your tools. Also, be sure to place your ladder on level ground. A ladder will help you work on your ceiling fan without taking it down.
Turn off power
To be safe while working on your fan, be sure to turn off the power at the electrical circuit breaker. This is safer than just turning off the fan at the wall switch, as someone could accidentally turn on the fan while you are working on it.
Inspect & Clean The Blades
Once you are up on the ladder, inspect the fan and its out parts, including the blades. If these parts of your fan are dirty or grim, start by cleaning them first with a rug (you can use a multipurpose cleaner for this task.)
Check Oil Level
Check the oil level in the fan before giving it a refill. Fold the pipe cleaner to make a hook about ½ an inch and insert it into the oil hole. Remove it, and if there is no oil on it, your fan probably needs an oil refill. However, if the pipe cleaner comes out with some oil, there is a good chance that the problem you are dealing with has nothing to do with the oil level. If your fan needs an oil refill, move to the next step.
Fill the hole with oil
Fill the application bottle with the oil and insert it into the hole until it starts backing out. Use your hand to spin the fan forward and backward a few times. This is to ensure that the oil evenly distributes and settles well.
Clean up any spills
Wipe out any spills from the motor with a rag.
Test your fan
After you are done with the refill, turn on the fan and pay attention to any noises. Put it on the low setting and let it run for about 5 minutes. If noises stop, you have successfully fixed the problem. But if the noise persists, there could be something else besides the oil issue that could be causing that problem.
Estimated Cost: 5 USD
- Rag or mutton cloth
- Oil (non-detergent)
- Application bottle
Materials: A pipe or anything you can use as a dipstick for determining the level of oil in the motor.
Do All Ceiling Fans Need to Be Oiled?
Not all fans need to be oiled. Even though nearly all older models of ceiling fans needed to be oiled, newer fans don’t need to be oiled because they are made with self-lubricating bearings.
Usually, fans that need to be oiled have a hole near the motor housing, which is visibly evident. In rare circumstances, even those fans that don’t have the oil hole may need to be oiled. That’s if they have stayed and served their purpose a long time and begin making squeaking or grinding noises.
Another condition that could force you to oil a self-lubricating fan is when it has been exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as when it has been installed outside, where there is usually a lot of smoke, dust, or anything else wrong with the normal working of your fan.
The dust can find its way into the motor bearings and interfere with the way your motor works, eventually causing squeaky noises.
Which Ceiling Fans Need to Be Oiled Regularly?
Generally, the ceiling fans that need to be oiled regularly are those that come with an ‘oil’ hole on them. Most of these ceiling fans are old models that were made before 1970.
These fans are relatively heavier and are made from cast iron. Their motor windings are also visible from the oil hole.
These types of ceiling fans required regular oiling; they all came with oil holes.
But these days, nearly all fans are self-lubricating and don’t need to be oiled. But if your self-lubricating oil fan makes noises due to internal friction, you may still need to oil it.
For this type of fan without a hole, you will need to unmount it from the ceiling and disassemble the motor to properly apply the lubrication to its motor.
That said, there may still be newer fans that may need regular oiling at least once a year. It’s always best to check your user manual for specific requirements based on your model.
Where Is the Oil Hole on a Ceiling Fan?
The hole on the ceiling fan is usually located on the upper part of the motor casing. It is typically clearly labeled. However, if your fan doesn’t have the oil hole, that could mean it doesn’t need to be oiled. However, if your fan does make squeaking noises, you may need to unmount it and take it down for oiling, or you may want to call a professional for help.
Types Of Oil for Lubricating Ceiling Fans
There are a few types of oil that you can use for lubricating your ceiling fan. The recommended type of oils is 10- 15- or 20-weight non-detergent oils. This is because these are non-combustive, so there is less risk of causing a fire.
Another advantage these oils have is that they are non-sticky, and there are fewer chances that they may gum up your motor’s bearings. Besides all that, they do a great job of lubricating electric motors.
It will also depend on what your manufacturer recommends. Also, remember to check the manufacturer’s website for your model or the user manual for the specific type of lubricating oil they recommend.
Some oils you should avoid using for lubricating your ceiling fan include detergent oils or 3-in-1s oils. These could potentially harm your fan motor.
Another type of oil to avoid is WD-40 unless your manufacturer explicitly recommends this type of oil. It can be great for cleaning the motor bearings but won’t do any good when it comes to protecting your motor’s moving parts.
Should you oil a fan that doesn’t have an oil hole
Because the procedure is usually more involved when it comes to oiling this type of fan, you’ll need to remove the blades and take down the fan to do the job.
You‘ll need to place your fan on a bench and disassemble the motor for you to properly work on it. So, if you are not really comfortable working with electric motors, consider taking it to the repair shop.
HVAC tech with over 30 years of experience. Retired and doing repair work on the side around Madison County, AL.