When the summer months hit, the temperature goes up and so do air conditioning bills. Sometimes a last minute solution is necessary. Box fans are supposed to be life-savers, but they’re so loud. It’s too late to return it now, so what do you do?
Luckily, there are some easy fixes. Here are five ways to quiet an incredibly noisy box fan.
1. Anchor the Fan to a Flat Surface
The movement of the blades takes the weight of the fan with it, so if the fan is not evenly placed, it will shift back and forth. If there aren’t any readily available flat surfaces, there are always fan stands.
If the fan is older, sitting on an even surface, and is still rattling to kingdom come, try setting it on a rug or carpet. If the fan has been damaged or warped over time, the weight of the fan will shift even if it’s placed on a flat surface.
There are also specific sound dampening pads and mats that will muffle the sounds the fan generates, or the entire base of the fan could be replaced. Additionally, sand or ankle weights can also anchor the fan in place.
2. Oil the Motor and Blades
Next to buying a new fan, this might be the easiest solution for a noisy fan. Make sure to keep the blades and motor regularly waxed or oiled. Most newer fans do not need to be oiled, but if it does, check that the oil used is meant for fan blades and motors.
It is best to research fan blade oil specifically, but one that is commonly used is Liquid Bearings, or any SAE 20 non-detergent oil.
To oil a box fan motor, first, locate the oil port. Each motor is individualized, but oil ports are small openings in the motor. Only use a drop or two once a year.
If the fan is new, the noise may not be coming from the motor since it needs to be oiled so infrequently. Do research before putting oil into the motor.
If it isn’t the motor, check whatever pins or mechanisms hold the blades in place. If they’re noisy, feel free to oil them or use auto wax on the blades.
3. Keep Your Fan Clean and Secure
This option applies mostly to older or more frequently used fans. This may sound simple, but in order for a fan to work as efficiently as possible, it needs to stay clean.
While cleaning a fan, check that all screws are set in place and working properly, because loose screws and parts are common culprits for excessive noise.
Fans are used for anything from airing out a room, to keeping a space cool, to adding white noise, to a nightly routine, to clearing a space of pesky dust particles.
All that gunk that it filters through or gets rid of really just sticks to it. The dust particles can fill up loose spaces quickly enough that a fan will start to make noise in as little as two weeks.
Dust will accumulate on the edge of a fan’s blade or motor – it happens! Unfortunately, without upkeep, dust will disrupt the rotation and functionality of the fan.
In order to give it a good scrubbing down, there might be some additional equipment needed:
- A screwdriver that matches the screws on the fan
- Windex with Vinegar (recommended, any cleaning product will work)
- Paper towels
- Handheld vacuum or air blow gun
- A sink
- A scrubbing brush (one that you do not use for dishes is recommended)
The best way to clean a box fan is to take off any removable screens or objects. Use a handheld vacuum or air blow gun to get the major dust bunnies from the inside of the device. Then, spray it with disinfectant and wipe it down.
Windex mixed with vinegar is recommended, but any cleaning solution will do. It’s best to spray the product on a paper towel rather than on the fan to reduce the change of liquid getting into the motor.
As for the screens, take them to a kitchen sink to scrub them away. Use an old cleaning brush that’s on its way out. Make sure everything is completely dry, then reassemble the fan. While reassembling, make sure things are screwed on tight or it’ll keep rattling.
Here’s a comprehensive video for cleaning a box fan.
4. Fix or Replace Warped Blades
Warped blades usually occur over tens of thousands of rotations, so it is best to check the condition of your blades during your regular fan cleaning. Uneven blades will cause imbalance and a whirring sound effect when in use.
See if your blades are warped by placing them on the floor and seeing if they lay flat. If they are not flat, this typically means they may need to be replaced, depending on the model of your blades. If the blades are metal and warped, they are usually easier to manipulate back into shape.
If the blades are made of plastic and warped, there is no way to perfectly get them back into shape. While you can try and manipulate the plastic with heat from a blow dryer, it usually remains unsuccessful, leaving you with an even more annoying sound.
While the availability of individual blades remains up to the model you purchased, most blades on Amazon are not for box fans specifically. (Source)
5. Purchase a New Fan
At this point, it may be easier to buy a new fan entirely. It may be sad to part from your fan, but if it’s loud and making your life a fit of frustration, it’s time to say goodbye.
If you like the box fan look, click here to view box fans with reviews of 4 stars and higher.
If you are ready to move on to a more powerful fan, click here for standing fans with reviews of 4 stars and higher.