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What is Ceiling Fan Oil?

By G. Laker
Updated: May 16, 2024

Ceiling fan oil is oil that is designed to make a fan run for longer with less noise. In a ceiling fan, moving parts grind against one another and make it so the parts will eventually wear out because of the friction created. Ceiling fan oil can reduce the amount of friction created by coating the moving metal parts inside the fan. Instead of the metal parts rubbing against each other and slowly wearing out, it is the oil that wears out as it protects the parts.

The oil has a high viscosity, so it is able to stay in the gears and reduce friction for a long time. Ceiling fan bearings typically come with oil already applied, so for the first year or so that the fan is used, oil will not need to be applied. Depending on how much the fan is used, ceiling fan oil eventually will need to be applied or added to the motor. This typically is an easy process, and the ceiling fan's user manual generally will provide specific instructions for adding oil to the motor or oiling other moving parts in the fan.

Most hardware stores will carry ceiling fan oil or oil that can be used in ceiling fans. The weight should be either 10, 15 or 20, and a particular weight might be specified by the ceiling fan manufacturer. Also, ceiling fan oil needs to be free of detergents, which can gum up the bearings and potentially ruin the fan.

Ceiling fan oil is relatively cheap. Buying more expensive forms of oil generally is unnecessary. Most three-in-one types of oil are not ideal for use in ceiling fans. Other types of lubricants are not recommended, either.

The use of ceiling fan oil can help ensure that the fan will last a long time. If a fan is squeaking while in use and is more than a year old, it likely needs to have oil added. Consumers who are unsure about which type of oil to purchase can ask a salesperson at a hardware store or home improvement store for help.

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Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On May 30, 2014

Thoroughly oiling one of the old model ceiling fans can be quite a task. You have to take the fan about and oil the parts individually. However, I don't think most people take that much time on the average ceiling fan. It is less trouble to buy a new one, unless you have a strong attachment to the old one.

By Drentel — On May 29, 2014

@Laotionne - All oil is not created equal and to answer your question, I would not use the oil you use to silence squeaky door hinges to oil a ceiling fan. I have no way of knowing exactly what kind of oil you have, but you would be wise to go to a hardware store and buy a ceiling fan oil as mentioned in this article.

The problem is that some oils are flammable and while it is fine to use these oils on a door, using them on an electrical item such as a fan could lead to a dangerous situation. Also, make sure that your fan actually needs the oil before you apply it.

Many newer ceiling fans do not require oil, just an occasional cleaning. With these you can use compressed air to blow dust and other debris from the fan and protect the motor.

If your fan does require oil then there should be a flip cap on top where you can deposit the oil, and it will be circulated as needed.

By Laotionne — On May 28, 2014

I have never oiled my ceiling fan, but someone said that if I did oil the fan, it might stop running so loudly. I am wondering whether I can use the same oil that I use to stop the squeaking doors and other items around my house, or do I really need to buy a special ceiling fan oil as mentioned in this article.

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