Many people wish to replace their ceiling fan blades, either because the current set is damaged or warped, or for decor purposes. Most home centers offer generic replacement sets, however it is often not as simple as simply buying an off-the-shelf set and screwing it in place of the old.
The problem is that the off-the-shelf set is one predetermined size, weight, shape, etc. Each fan manufacturer will have different specifications of blades optimized to the motor and fan design. Using a set of blades that is too heavy or wide will slow the fan and wear the motor, blades that are too narrow will move significantly less air.
The best option for replacement blades is to contact the manufacturer and obtain a correct replacement set. However if the off-the-shelf blades are a very similar size, shape, and weight to the original blades they can be used with no adverse affects.
If you do choose to buy a set of replacement blades, another factor is the hole spacing for attaching the blades to the brackets. Some replacement blades come pre-drilled with holes in a standard spacing, others have no holes drilled. If the blades do not have holes or if the holes do not line up with your bracket you will need to drill your own holes. Use the bracket as a template and mark the holes, and line up all 3/4/5/6 blades and drill as a set, to be sure that the holes are in exactly the same placement on each blade. If the holes on two or more blades are different even by a hair, this will throw the fan off balance.
Lastly, some manufacturers offer replacement fan blades in the popular “palm leaf” design to fit onto a standard fan. Be careful as these blades can cause problems similar to using incorrect replacement blades mentioned above. As they are a different size and shape, they can slow the fan, causing unnecessary wear on the motor and move much less air. Depending on the strength of your fan’s motor this may or may not be an issue so use caution.
How do I determine if I need to replace my ceiling fan blades?
The best way to determine if you need to replace any of your blades, is first to check some of the following. Are your ceiling fan blades warped? Is there a blade balancing issue? How do you know there is a problem with the blades? Is there any sounds, such as whirring sounds or humming noises coming from the fan?
Let’s go through the following troubleshooting and verify.
Step 1 – How to determine if there is a blade balancing problem
If your fan is making humming sounds, or appears to be turning or swinging in such a way that appears abnormal, the first thing to do is to check for blade balancing issues. Blade balancing means that all of the blades on a ceiling fan should be the same height from the ceiling and the floor. Sometimes, a lack of maintenance and dust buildup can actually cause the blades to bend. It may not be noticeable to the human eye, but the blade may be out of place by an inch or two.
The best way to test for this is to use a blade balancing kit. Blade balacing kits come with little weights that attach to each blade, and use a system of elimination to determine where the fault lies. Blade balancing kits are relatively inexpensive, and are a good start to resolving issues with your blades not turning properly, annoying sound issues or etc.
Step 2 – How to determine if any of the blades are warped
All ceiling fan blades should be exactly the same distance from the ceiling. Use a measuring tape and start checking the fan blades. If the ceiling is too high, you can also measure the distance between each blade and the floor. If one blade appears to be off from the others, even by an inch, this can cause problems. That space gap will only increase over time.
If any blades appear to be warped, you have two options. You can try to bend that blade back into place. Use a pair of pliers, and don’t pull hard – just try to gently push the blade back into the right position.
If that fails, it’s not a bad idea to replace the blade.