How To Make a Fan Quieter (Everything You Need To Know)

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All fans make noise. The average residential fan creates around 30-80 decibels of sound. Industrial fans can be much louder. Noisy fans make it hard to sleep, relax, or get work done.

Here’s how to make a fan quieter:

You make a fan quieter by placing it on a soft, level surface, reducing the speed, cleaning the fan regularly, or using sound suppressors. You can also move the fan farther away from you. For inline duct fans, you can purchase or build an acoustic box.

In this article, I’ll answer the most common questions I get about how to make a fan quieter.

 5 Good Ways To Make Any Fan Quieter

Ceiling fan with lights—How to make a fan quieter
Image by author via Canva—How To Make a Fan Quieter

Before we get into specific fans, it’s helpful to know five ways to make almost any fan quieter.

Odds are that you can apply these quieting “tricks” to your noisy fan.

1) Make sure the fan is on a level, flat surface

The first thing to verify is the foundation of your fan.

A flat surface will provide balanced airflow and limit wobbling. When fans wobble, they often make noise as the blades spin and vibrate.

If your fan has adjustable screws or “feet” as a base, use them to level the fan.

2) Set your fan on a soft surface

Placing your fan on a hard, tiled, or wooden floor is one of the worst things you can do for noise.

The sound created by the fan blades will be amplified by these surfaces, making everything louder. To avoid this, set your fan on a soft surface—like a rug or carpet.

Softer surfaces will absorb a lot of vibrations and lower the noise levels.

The thicker the rug, the better (as long as the fan is still stable and level).

If you don’t have any carpets or thick rugs, a blanket or noise suppression mat will suffice.

3) Keep your fan dust-free and clean

The next step is to clean your fan.

When a fan is turned on, it generates heat, which collects dust on the blades and fan motor.

Fans get clogged, which can result in unwanted noise.

To clean the fan, you’ll need to carefully disassemble the fan first.

While you’re doing this, make sure your fan is switched off and unplugged. I suggest that you clean the blades, grille, and motor regularly.

To clean your fans, you’ll need tools.

If you don’t already have some of the tools listed, you may need to purchase them or borrow them from a friend.

Here are common tools you may need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Soft microfiber cloth
  • Brush for dusting
  • Degreaser/cleaner
  • Can of compressed air
  • Vacuum cleaner (small)

Using the screwdriver, remove the protective guard or front grille.

Make sure you don’t lose any of the screws. You’ll need them to put the fan back together after you clean it.

Clean the grille, fan blades, and the outside of the motor with a dusting brush and microfiber cloth.

This will remove loose dirt that’s accumulated on these parts.

Using a small vacuum, clean any dust out of the vent openings on the fan. I find that this works very well for my fans. You can also use a can of compressed air to blow dust out of the tiny internal compartments of your fan.

You can clean the blades with an all-purpose cleaner or degreaser to remove any grime. You’ll need to remove them from the fan before you dunk them in water.

Simply mix water and detergent, then soak your fan blades for thirty minutes.

Wait for any wet or damp parts to dry before putting your fan back together. Tighten the screws to avoid loose parts wobbling.

To ensure that everything is in working order, turn on the fan and test it.

4) Tighten loose parts

Another common cause of fan noise is loose connections.

Loose parts usually rattle when the fan vibrates.

You’ll have to disassemble the fan and inspect its connections before doing any tightening.

Common loose parts:

  • Fan housing
  • Fan blades
  • Motor
  • Mounting

5) Balance fan blades

It’s also important to balance or align your fan blades. This will remove wobbles from the blades and make them spin more quietly.

For ceiling fans, you can easily do this by getting a fan balancing kit.

For other fans, you’ll need to do this manually. To manually balance blades, you tighten, slightly re-angle, and test your fan until your blades look and sound aligned.

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How To Make a Box Fan Quieter

Box fans are frequently utilized to improve air circulation in smaller spaces, which means any noise they make is more likely to bother you.

Here are a few ways to reduce the noise of a loud box fan:

  • Place anti-vibration cushions under your box fan
  • Make sure the box fan is not hitting anything when it vibrates (like a wall or other nearby object)
  • Reduce the fan speed to a lower setting

If you’re still having trouble with a noisy box fan, you might need to clean or repair your fan.

How To Make a Ceiling Fan Quieter

You may also want to make a ceiling fan less noisy.

Here are steps you can take:

  • Tighen the screws that hold the blades to your fan
  • Replace any capacitors that have failed
  • Remove and replace the receiver from your remote (If you own a remote-controlled fan)
  • Instead of dimmer switches, use regular speed switches (and lower speeds)

Balance the blades

Examine the fan to determine if any of the blades are bent.

To access the blades, you’ll probably need a ladder. Make sure to turn off the fan (and power to the fan). Turn the blades by hand. Make sure no blades are higher or lower than the ones adjacent to it.

Balanced blades usually run more smoothly.

To balance the blades manually, you can use a penny, painter’s tape, and super glue. You can also use another small object, but pennies seem to work nicely.

What you do is place the penny at different lengths along the top of your fan blade.

Tape the penny to the blade to hold it in place.

Once you find the perfect spot for the penny, remove the tape and glue the penny to the fan blade.

Note: It’s important that you follow all instructions that come with your fan, as every model has its own procedure and proper balance.

Check the pulley system

Next, examine the pulley system.

The pull chain can wind up hitting against the blades while the blades are moving at a fast speed.

If the chain is too long, you can shorten it.

You can either clip the existing chain, tuck it above the blades, or replace it with a shorter chain that doesn’t bang around when the fan is running.

Inspect the Fan Motor

Finally, check the fan motor and housing. The housing contains all of the fan’s wiring.

You may want to hire a professional electrician for this part.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Remove the fan blades and protective motor covering. This allows you to get to the internal components.
  2. Examine the motor (and other parts) for any loose connections. If any seem loose, tighten them until they feel secure.
  3. If you notice any damage to the motor, repair the motor or buy a new one.
  4. Finally, reattach the fan housing, blades, and test the fan for noise.

How To Make a Laptop Fan Quieter

Today’s laptops come with intelligent temperature control, which means the fan will vary its speed in response to the computer’s temperature.

When you run lots of software, your fan may sound louder.

If your laptop’s fan is always loud, it’s likely overheating, and you should focus on cooling it down.

Here are some suggestions for reducing system stress and quieting your laptop’s noisy fan:

  • Lower the voltage on your CPU
  • Close any programs that you don’t need
  • Make sure none of the vents are blocked
  • Use a laptop cooling pad
  • Clean your lap top regularly
  • Get a better computer fan

One easy trick that sometimes works is to raise your laptop so that the vents do not get blocked by anything nearby.

You can use a laptop stand or place your laptop on a thick book.

Older laptops will probably be louder than newer ones. A nice, quiet laptop is the MSI Stealth.

How To Make a Bathroom Fan Quieter

Bathroom fans excel at doing what they’re designed to do: eliminating moisture and odors from the space.

With that in mind, we want them to focus on their work rather than making a racket.

Here are some options:

  • Clean the fan and all of its parts
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the housing or fan blades
  • Lubricate the fan motor
  • Check for loose connections (and then tighten them)
  • Use larger ducts
  • Use straight ducts (that don’t curve)

The higher the air pressure in your duct, the more noise the fan will probably make. Larger and straighter ducts make less noise.

How To Make a PC Fan Quieter

There are several ways to lower the amount of noise your computer generates, but before we start fiddling with settings and exchanging out hardware, we should try to address the basic source of the problem.

To reduce noise, keep your computer cool.

If your PC fans are producing a lot of noise, it’s probably because they’re trying to keep your system’s components from overheating.

You can download Core Temp, free software that displays temperatures from the Windows desktop, to find out how hot your components get.

There are different methods used to make PC fans quieter:

  • Install a fan speed controller
  • Reduce the fan speed
  • Replace the fans in your case
  • Install a high-performance CPU Cooler
  • Upgrade your power source
  • Replace your computer’s case
  • Make the switch from a hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD)

More expensive PC fans will usually run quieter. I personally use Noctua fans.

You can also try closing down or deleting unneeded software on the laptop, such as complex programs. Video games are also hard on computers. This is why computer fans are sometimes called video game fans.

Here is a good video that goes over some practical ways to make your computer fan quieter:

YouTube video by PC Centric—How to make a fan quieter

How To Make a Tower Fan Quieter

Annoying tower fan noises can generally be resolved with some easy troubleshooting or basic repairs.

Start with the five ways to make your fan quieter mentioned at the top of this article (level, soften, clean, tighten, and balance your fan).

Tower fan blades are found inside your tower fan. Therefore, you will need to take the fan apart to reach them.

A few specific things you should check on tower fans:

  • Is your fan wobbly or crooked?
  • Is your fan loose/tight?
  • Is your fan clogged?

Since tower fans usually sit on the floor, they can attract lots of dust and pet hair.

How To Make an Inline Fan Quieter

One of the most significant issues you might face with inline fans is the noise.

There are some basic strategies you can use to cope:

  • Purcahse an inline sound-silencing box
  • DIY a sound-silencing box (made of cardboard or wood)
  • Insulate the ducts
  • Purchase a fan with a speed controller
  • Connect the fan and the filter/silencer with clamps
  • Use a vent muffler
  • Purchase a quieter inline fan

If you do make your own sound-proofing box, I suggest that you suspend it instead of letting it rest on the floor of the duct.

This will reduce vibrational noise.

How to Make a Kitchen Extractor Fan Quieter?

A noisy extractor fan’s persistent drone can be a great annoyance.

There are many causes of a noisy extractor fan:

  • Fan blades
  • Fan motor
  • Ducting
  • Installation

Fan blades

Dirt and grime accumulate on the fan blades over time, causing the fan to become noisy. Make sure the fan blades are free of dust. The fan may begin to create noise as it spins if it is worn out or broken.

We recommend that you inspect the fan for signs of wear and tear.

 Fan motor

The motor might wear down over time, causing it to become noisy. Remove the front cover of the fan and inspect it for wear and damage.

If you notice any symptoms of wear and tear, it’s probably time to replace it.

Ducting

When a fan pulls air from a room, it must convey it via ducting before expelling it through a vent to the outside of the home.

It’s crucial to use the right duct length for a silent operation.

The ductwork should also be as straight as possible, as any harsh curves or many turns will increase the air pressure and noise produced by the fan.

Installation

A noisy fan could also be the result of poor mounting.

When a fan is carelessly installed, the wall/window/ceiling is unable to contain the motor’s vibration, causing the entire fan assembly to move, resulting in excessive noise.

The vibrations also travel through the walls, windows, and ceiling, amplifying the loudness.

How To Make an Industrial Fan Quieter?

Adding a basic off-the-shelf silencer to an industrial fan is the most popular approach to make it quiet.

Fan silencers work by absorption.

They are usually made of fiberglass or metal, which makes them cost-effective and durable.

There are several various types of silencers, each of which reduces noise differently.

Here are a few types of fan silencers:

  • Inlet silencers
  • Outlet silencers
  • Propeller fan silencers
  • Centrifugal fan silencers
  • Axial fan silencers

It is crucial that you correctly size your silencer for your fan.

How To Make a Grow Room Fan Quieter?

Follow all the related advice in this article to dramatically reduce grow room fan noises.

Here are the methods applied specifically to grow room fans:

  1. Use a duct fan with the exact grade you require for your grow area
  2. Use a muffler or sound silencer to hush the air leaving the grow room
  3. Use fabric and/or insulated ducting
  4. Repair or replace faulty fan parts
  5. Move your fan around your grow room to find the quietest position
  6. Clean your grow room fans weekly

Final Thoughts: How To Make a Fan Quieter

As you can probably tell, the key to making almost any fan quieter is a matter of size, power, position, vibration, proper fit, and cleaning. Silencers, mufflers, and acoustic boxes further dampen noise levels.

Using the approaches in this article, you can enjoy your fan in peace and quiet.

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References

IEEE Xplore (research)
Nature.com (research)
Lboro.ac.uk (research)