Ceiling Fan Tripping Your Breaker? 5 Quick Fixes To Try

Ceiling fan with brown blades

Is your ceiling fan tripping your breaker? You might need to balance your blades. Here are 5 quick fixes to try.

Picture this. It’s a hot night, and you’re trying to sleep. Your ceiling fan is on and stands as the only thing between you, and heat-induced insomnia. All of a sudden, you hear a loud pop, which is soon followed by your appliance’s blades slowing down.

It’s going to be a long night”, you think immediately.

As most of us would, you get up and go check your circuit breakers, only to confirm your worst fears. They have tripped, and it’s your fan’s fault. A true modern-day nightmare.

Why is this happening, and what can you do to fix it?

Well…there is no single answer to that question. Your ceiling fan could be constantly tripping your breakers due to something as simple as imbalanced blades, or as a result of a faulty capacitor. In order to identify the right culprit, you need to know exactly what you should be looking for.

This is why I’ve prepared the list below, where you’ll find the most common causes of this situation and the simplest steps you can implement to address each one of them.

Are you ready? Let’s get down to business!

Fixing a Malfunctioning Ceiling Fan

Whether it was you or a technician who installed your ceiling fan, if this is happening, chances are there’s something wrong with the wiring inside the unit.

While there’s always the possibility of an external factor contributing to the appearance of this issue, most of the solutions we’ll explore are technical in nature.

Without further ado, the main things that could be causing your fan to keep tripping your breaker are:

  • Imbalanced blades
  • Circuit Overload
  • Short-circuiting
  • A Faulty capacitor
  • Overheating

#1 Balance Your Fan Blades

man fixing ceiling fan blades
Perfectly balanced blades can help it spin smoothly on its axis

Let me explain.

In order to adequately spin around its own axis, your ceiling fan needs its blades to be perfectly balanced. Even the slightest degree of imbalance could cause the entire appliance to become wobbly, and spin erratically, which often results in loose wires, and overheating.

Solution: Take a closer look at how your ceiling fan is spinning.

If you detect even the slightest sign of imbalance, you can either tighten the screws at the base, trim your blades, so they’re all the same length (in case they’re not), or even add special blade weights.

Provided that the latter caught your attention, you can easily find them at any online marketplace. They’re usually not very expensive.

#2 Circuit Overload

wirings connected to the circuit breaker
Ensure the outlet your fan is connecting to can take the load

Electrically speaking, ceiling fans are just like any other appliance in your home.

In order to properly function, they must be connected to a power outlet. However, as opposed to your toaster or your blender, you won’t be able to see this connection, but it’s definitely there.

If your ceiling fan keeps tripping your breaker, chances are the outlet you’re connecting it to can’t supply the voltage that your appliance needs. This can quickly result in circuit overload and a wide variety of other serious problems.

It goes without saying that as soon as you suspect this to be the culprit, you stop using your unit immediately, and get an electrician’s assistance.

Solution: You know I’m all up for helping you do your own repairs, but unless you’re very experienced with electrical outlets, and home wiring, I’d advise calling a professional, and letting them take care of this.

Most likely, they will disconnect the ceiling fan from the outlet it’s currently drawing power from, and look for another one that can meet the appliance’s requirements.

#3 Short-Circuiting

The reason behind this occurrence is very similar to that of the previous point.

While ceiling fans are not as hard to install as AC units or electric water heaters, they definitely require some electrical savvy. In order to properly operate and process your inputs, your unit relies on several cables that are connected to your home’s layout.

As time goes by, or due to erratic spinning, some of these wires can come loose and touch each other, causing a short circuit, and tripping your breaker.

This might not cause a significant degree of damage to your appliance at first, but if you leave this issue unattended for too long, it could eventually kill it. Please be sure to stop using your machine as soon as you suspect this to be the problem.

Solution: You’ll have to go in. To do so, please follow these steps:

  1. Carefully turn off your breakers to interrupt all electrical current to the ceiling fan
  1. Remove the light bulbs, and their housings
  1. Undo the screws in the motor holding the outer metal panel
  1. Undo the remaining screws holding the motor to the ceiling, and carefully place it somewhere safe
  1. Search the wiring in the hole where the motor goes, and look for anything suspicious

Provided that you spot a cable that’s either loose or broken, you’ll have to find where it goes, and reattach it. Having your model’s electrical diagram handy can help you a lot in that situation.

Having said that, I want to reiterate that there’s no shame in asking for help. If you feel doubtful while doing this, it’s better to stay safe and call someone who’s certified in these kinds of repairs.

Remember that you’re tampering with electricity, and although you flipped the breakers off, there are always reasons to be careful.

#4 A Faulty Capacitor

faulty capacitors
The ceiling fan won’t rotate without a working capacitor

If none of the solutions above have worked out for you, chances are your capacitor is broken. As you know, this is the lifeblood of your appliance, since, without it, spinning the blades is impossible, and your motor is useless.

A capacitor can fail for a number of reasons. From factory defects to overheating, and short-circuiting. Regardless of what the cause might be for your particular ceiling fan, there’s one thing for sure, you need to address this as soon as possible.

The main problem with a faulty capacitor is that it is very tricky to diagnose. Depending on the severity of the damage to it, your ceiling fan might not even turn on, but if it’s only partial, the part could be allowing for intermittent operation, resulting in tripped breakers.

Again, should this be the source of your issue, it is strongly advised against to keep using your unit. Failing to follow this recommendation could turn minor or partial damage, into a total loss.

Solution: You’ll have to replace the capacitor. The process for doing this is very similar to that of checking the wires, but there are some slight differences:

  1. Carefully turn off your breakers to interrupt all electrical current to the ceiling fan
  1. Remove the light bulbs, and their housings
  1. Undo the screws in the motor holding the outer metal panel
  1. Expose your appliance’s capacitor, and all its other internal components
  1. Test the capacitor for continuity with a multimeter, if you have one
  1. Replace if necessary

#5 Overheating

Lastly, let’s take a look at the temperature of your fan’s internal components.

If you’ve ever experienced overheating on another appliance you’ve previously owned, you know how dangerous it can be, and how detrimental it is to every machine that presents it.

If your ceiling fan keeps tripping your breaker, and none of the solutions above have succeeded at resolving the issue, there’s a very good chance that your internal components are getting dangerously hot.

It’s vital that you find out why, and fix it immediately.

The most common reasons behind overheating in a ceiling fan are imbalanced blades, a dirty or insufficiently lubricated bearing, and faulty wiring. If you’ve already implemented the solutions above, the chances of this happening again are low, but never zero, so you should remain vigilant.

Solution:  Try to be a little more conscious when operating your appliance, and keep your eyes open. Should the overheating problem persist despite having addressed all other issues, do not hesitate to call a technician right away.

When Should You Call a Pro?

The answer to this question will depend greatly on your warranty status, the source of the problem, and the degree of confidence you have around doing your own repairs.

If your warranty is still active and don’t mind waiting a couple of days or weeks for your manufacturer to send a technician to your house, then, by all means, give them a call.

Unless specified otherwise, they should take care of the repairs free of charge.

Provided that your warranty is expired, you can go ahead and try to do the repairs yourself, but if at any point you feel unsafe or underqualified, please call an expert, and let them handle things.

I know how annoying it can be to pay for repairs, but it’s better than risking your well-being.


Having a ceiling fan keep tripping your breakers can be a nightmare. No one should have to be stuck without a refreshing air current and have to look for ways to repair the appliance.

I understand your frustration, I really do.

Luckily, as you’ve learned on this piece, addressing most of the issues behind this occurrence is fairly simple, and should take you no more than a couple of hours, tops.

I’m confident that, if you believe in yourself, and follow the steps provided above, your appliance will be back to normal in no time.

Thank you for reading. If you found this article helpful, why not become an expert in the subject by checking out our other incredible resources below?

Stay refreshed!

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more