any ideas on hum on a Mika Aire fan?

susanwritesDecember 5, 2010

Hi all,

I normally hang out on the decorating forum but our electrician is racking his brains to figure this one out and I thought I'd thought it out here to see if anyone might have come across it or have any ideas.

I bought a pair of Minka Aire Volterra fans and had them installed by a professional electrician. There was a slight hum/noise at first but we thought, let's let it burn in and see if that makes a difference. Well, burn it made no difference at all. It isn't a balance thing, you can hear the sound in the motor. Both fans make identical noises.

Electrician came back out after talking to Minka Aire and they said the box was installed too close to a box that had a remote in it and that had caused a problem. So they sent new controllers but we had the same issue. Then Minka suggested he direct wire it to see if that got rid of the problem. Nope. Still noisy.

Electrician said he would contact Minka to see if they had any further ideas but I'm getting really frustrated. I finally sprung for two of the more expensive (and beautiful) fans and I can't use them with the noise. I have an 8-year-old Hunter Douglas fan that only cost me 1/3 of the price of these fans and it's absolutely silent.

I hate the thought of taking them down and taking them back but that might be my next step.

Here's hoping someone has some ideas. Thank you in advance.

Here is a link that might be useful: noisy fan

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brickeyee

Hum on all speeds?

Any change from starting up to running?

Humming often comes from poorly bonded lamination in motors or poorly secured windings.

It could also be caused by a start winding (if present) not going open circuit once the fan is up to speed.

If is is on two units it very well could be a design defect.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 12:15PM
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wayne440

Maybe you are just hoping for too much, based on the exceptional performance of your previous fan. A "slight hum/noise" from an electrical device is often just part of its normal operation.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 12:35PM
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susanwrites

Hi Brickeyee and thank you for your response.
Just realized my typo on the post. I know it is MINKA AIRE. Sheesh. :)

As soon as you click "on" no matter what speed, you hear the sound. And I don't know how to type the description of the sound but it doesn't stay the same, it cycles. Shoot, my electrician called the cycle something but I don't remember what. It's a quick cycle but you can hear it.

And yes, both expensive Minka Aire fans, identical models bought from the ideal place, make the identical sound.

It's beginning to look like i might need to pick a different model and go through all this crap again. Sigh.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 12:37PM
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susanwrites

Wayne, maybe I do have high expectations but from a fan that is supposed to be quiet, I don't think this qualifies. And when I am sitting directly underneath it, in the case of both fans. When it's been running for a time and then I turn it off, I can feel myself relax because the noise is gone.

I guess to test it I should buy another model and try that and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 12:46PM
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alan_s_thefirst

Dumb question maybe, but are you sure it's an electrical hum and not mechanical? I've had fan/light combos that buzzed badly but it turned out the light bulbs were touching the housing or the glass fitting. Smaller bulbs and some adjustment, and the issue went away.

Are you using all the approved fittings and no dimmer? Unless the dimmer is specifically right for that fitting, they'll cause issues too.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 3:46AM
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susanwrites

Alan,
Not dumb questions at all. Thanks for checking with me. It could very well be mechanical. It sounds like the motor to me but then I'm no expert. You can hear the sound as soon as you click it on. It's not a buzz. I doubt it's the light bulbs since both identical units make the same sound but we'll check that out.

We are using everything that came in the box with the fan. When the electrician first called Minka, they mentioned the dimmer too. They even sent new controllers. No difference. We direct wired the fan, bypassing everything, and it still makes the noise. All this is leading me to believe that this model Volterra, is not up to Minka standards. I really don't think I'm being unreasonable about the sound, either but even if I am, if this can't get fixed, they will have to go. The library and my office are supposed to be the two places to go for quiet in the house.

I guess the next frustrating thing is going to be how to find another fan that will go with the looks of the room and give me the quiet that I need.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 12:48PM
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brickeyee

If the fan has lights unscrew the bulbs and see if the sound disappears.

Many cheap bulbs will have filament vibration when used on a dimmer.
It the capability to dim the bulbs is present it can cause the noise, even when the bulbs are full on.

It usually appears as a 120 Hz hum as the voltage on the filaments cycles through 60 Hz.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 4:21PM
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susanwrites

Thanks Brickeye. We'll give that a try this afternoon. The electrician is coming back over with one last thing to try, per Minka, before we send these back. We're going to get a long extension cord and see if we can try a different circuit in case there's something weird with the wiring in this house. The two rooms that have these fans are an addition from the previous owner.

Thank you again for trying to help me figure this out.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 4:29PM
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lbpod

I had a Hunter ceiling fan that worked well, and
quietly for a couple of years and then it started
making a bad 'hum' and the speeds weren't what
they were before the hum. I contacted Hunter, who
asked for the serial number. Within 3 days there
was a brand new fan on my doorstep. They asked me
to send back the defective one. I don't know
what the problem was, but their customer service
is excellent.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 10:35AM
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jaspermplants

I had the same problem with mine and had an electrician look at it. He couldn't figure it out and told me to return it but I didn't have the receipt anymore. It's very nervewracking and I hardly use the fan now.

My other Minka Aire ceiling fan has a light fixture that no longer works. I've only had it a year. The electrician couldn't figure that one out either.

So, I have 2 barely functioning Minka Aire ceiling fans. I will never buy this brand again.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 5:53PM
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susanwrites

Well we solved the problem. Brickeye, we went to take the bulbs out, they're those itty bitty things, but once the housing of the light fixture was off, we turned the fan on (lights still in) and there was no noise. It seemed to be that tightening the finial to attach the housing worked like a volume control. We put some padding between the finial and the glass and then just kept adjusting it until it was silent.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 10:21PM
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missross_windstream_net

Hey...we have the exact same complaint. 2 Minka Volterra fans - the humming is horrible. I, too, am contemplating removing them and replacing with another brand. I won't buy another Minka Aire fan, either.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:01PM
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cheribear56_yahoo_com

Same problem..calais fan (hugger). I installed this for my sister this last weekend and the fan hums (not the lights). Fan hums at all times. I have two minkas in my house that have been there two or three years. LOVE THEM! No sound at all. We pay for that reputation! This fan is unbelievable. My sister is going to have to deal with them about this now which when I called yesterday before I left the company said it should wear it self out in 24 hrs (much be their speech)and I even asked about balancing or dimmer switch which my sister has and he said it would not be either one of those. Any suggestions from anyone? I feel bad now that I recommended Minka to her but mine are great. Again, the fan only hums (just like a cheap boxstore fan) but the lights don't.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 1:16PM
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btharmy

"I installed this for my sister this last weekend and the fan hums (not the lights)"

Did you remove the light bulbs and fixture housing to be sure?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:27PM
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susanwrites

Hi folks,
This is popping up in my google alerts a lot again and I'm getting emails about it. I'd just like to say, as I did further up in the posting, that we were able to fix the problem.

Here's that post:

Posted by susanwrites (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 13, 10 at 22:21

Well we solved the problem. Brickeye, we went to take the bulbs out, they're those itty bitty things, but once the housing of the light fixture was off, we turned the fan on (lights still in) and there was no noise. It seemed to be that tightening the finial to attach the housing worked like a volume control. We put some padding between the finial and the glass and then just kept adjusting it until it was silent.

We've been running both fans 24/7 since then and they are completely silent and a joy to have.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 4:07PM
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annainoakland

susanwrites, I am having the same problem with my Minka Aire. Can you tell me what kind of padding you used and where you put it? my fan came with an "o" shaped piece of padding that goes between the housing for the light and the fan itself, so i'm curious what I might add to that to experiment on whether your solution will work for me too.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:37PM
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susanwrites

It's been a few years but I think he just had a piece of rubber something that he cut to fit but I have no idea where he put it. We have since sold the house so I can't check for you. Sorry.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 6:42PM
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gr8daygw

I have the same problem and it drives me insane. I end up not using the fans at all. I recently brought up this topic on another forum and someone posted this link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to reduce the hum in a ceiling fan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:07PM
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annainoakland

thanks anyway susanwrites. I tried using some of the non-slip lining that you use in your kitchen shelves to put glassware on and it seems to have really helped!

gr8day - thanks for the reference. I'm going to see if my recent fix adequately solves the problem - if not, I'm going to move down the items on the list you referenced! Appreciate it!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 12:57AM
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Slif

Hi all,

Recent Minka Aire Concept I owner here.

Jumping in to say that the lining does not solve the issue for me.

I describe the hum as similar sounding to the tone used when taking a hearing test. It's not a buzz like the sound you'd expect from a fan motor - it's a tone.

It's very strange - the sound almost makes me nauseous and like others have described, I cannot relax when the fan is on - the tone is very affecting.

It is caused by the fixtures with the worst being the glass. With the fixtures off, the tone is either not present or not audible.

Thank goodness for Amazon's easy return policy. A couple of clicks and back it goes.

Rob

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:51PM
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AEGorenberg

Solved with WD-40
Problem: Buzzing vibration from inside MinkaAire model 68MKA. Noise only present when powered on; as soon as turned off, noise stopped. Worse with higher speed.

Solution: The turning blades, near their attachment point inside the fan, are pushed down by air as they spin to slightly touch a metal stationary flange that is beneath them. The blades vibrate against the flange. Using WD-40 with a straw, insert the straw below decorative edge of blades and above the trim of the light housing until it reaches the flange and spray a little bit. It will coat the flange and lubricate the blades where they touch the flange as they spin.

Hope this solves it for you!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 4:08PM
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