Ceiling fans can be a godsend during the summers when we have to deal with scorching heat, so it is important that you keep them in tip top shape. Ceiling fan maintenance, most people do not bother, but in order to keep your ceiling fan working at peak efficiency, you have to perform some routine maintenance on the fan.
Ceiling Fan Maintenance – What you need to do to keep your ceiling fan running at peak efficiency
These are some easy things you can do on your own (no electrician required) to keep your fan running as good as new.
Change the direction of the blades
Ceiling fans work by creating a “wind chill” effect. What this means is that when the wind blows across your skin, it increases the rate at which your body loses heat. All things, including humans, lose heat through conduction; a ceiling fan speeds the process up. This is great in the summer time, when you want to get cool quicker. But, during the winter you want the opposite to happen, you want your body to retain heat for a longer amount of time. A ceiling fan can help. Have you ever noticed that on most ceiling fans, there is a little switch on the body of the fan? Well, that switch reverses the direction of the blades. By using that switch, you can cause your ceiling fan to blow air towards the ceiling as opposed to down into the room. This stops the wind chill effect, meaning the room will feel warmer. A lot of people forget to do this, and that’s a major mistake. By doing this, you can keep your heating costs down during the cooler months. Simply make sure the fan is off when you flip the switch.
An important part of appliance maintenance is doing regular checkups. With ceiling fan maintenance, you generally want to check up on them every six months. It can be a hassle, but it is worth it. So, stop your fan completely and grab a ladder. When inspecting your fan, you will want to verify that all the screws are in place and screwed in properly. You will also want to make sure that the decorative plate, downrod, and light fixture (if your ceiling fan has one) are properly in place.
Dust on your ceiling fan blades are more than just an annoyance, excessive dust buildup can weight down your ceiling fan’s blades and reduce the efficiency of ceiling fan itself. You can clean blades several different ways. You can use a vacuum cleaner, but be careful, if your ceiling fan has delicate blades, they can be damaged and bent by the vacuum cleaner. Also, if you choose to use a vacuum cleaner, do not stop there, immediately after you finish vacuuming, use a damp washcloth on both sides of the blade. Another method is to remove the blades completely with a screwdriver, for a more thorough cleaning. I would only recommend doing this if the blades are really dusty or dirty. Finally, just as a tip, never use an ammonia or acid based cleaning solution on your blades, they can cause damage to the finish and cause the blades to warp. If you have to use a cleaning solution, choose something meant for delicate surfaces. If you want to make your blades look really nice, then you can add a layer of furniture polish; not only does it make your blades look better, but they will also work better (the furniture polish makes the blades more air efficient).
Servicing the motor
Some ceiling fans have a motor that requires occasional lubrication to keep working at peak efficiency. What type of ceiling fan you have determines how often you should be checking up on the motor.
Cast iron fans
Believe it or not, some companies still make old style cast iron ceiling fans; although you cannot find them at most department stores, they can still be bought in specialty stores. If you have one of these cast iron fans, then you need to be oiling it once every six months.
Standard motor driven ceiling fans
If you have a standard motor driven ceiling fan, then you need to be oiling it at least once a year. You should also do periodic checkups on the motor every year.
Belt driven ceiling fans
Belt driven ceiling fans, much like cast iron fans, are an older style of ceiling fan that you will not encounter all that often; but some people do like to buy them to create an antique feel. If you have one of these fans, then you should be doing regular checkups and maintenance on the belt twice a year.
How to oil the motor
Grab something that you can stand on, and that you trust to remain still. A ladder or sturdy chair is best. Make sure the fan is turned off completely and that no one will accidently turn it on. Look above the motor for a small hole (known as an “oil hole”). Once you have found the hole, drip a couple of drops of oil into the hole, then spin the blades around manually a couple of times, to make sure the oil gets worked in. The type of oil you use is up to you, but it is best to consult your ceiling fan’s manual and see if the manufacturer recommends a certain type. Generally, for home ceiling fans you can use standard machine oil.
You can also check your ceiling fan’s oil levels by inserting a dipstick or pipe cleaner into the oil hole, if it comes back dirty, then you generally do not need to oil your ceiling fan.
Ceiling fans are a great way to stay cool in the summer and save a bit of money on your energy bill. Do not neglect them, with some simple maintenance you can keep a ten-year-old ceiling fan running as if it were just installed. If you think there is a major problem with your ceiling fan, do not try and handle it yourself, call a licenced electrician who deals with ceiling fan maintenance. There is a lot of room for error and injury when ceiling fans are not properly installed, so do not take a risk, call a professional.
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