Which Capacitor Is Best For a Ceiling Fan?

It is essential for homeowners that they use their appliances in a way that increases their longevity. Similarly using the right capacitor for your ceiling fan can save you the hassle of dealing with faulty or subpar fans in the future.

The kind of capacitor that’d work best for a ceiling fan entirely depends on the voltage your area receives and the initial capacitor pre-installed in your ceiling fan. 

Generally, fans come with a 2.5 UF capacitor preinstalled that is meant to work best, however, if you notice a slower speed you may bump up your capacitor to up to 3.5 UF, depending on how low your voltage runs.

In this article, we’ll be looking at which capacitor is the best for a ceiling fan, the importance of installing the right capacitor, and the types of capacitors out there as well as a few frequently asked questions related to capacitor installation.

Which capacitor is the best for your ceiling fan

If you’re receiving the full voltage you’re meant to receive (generally 110-120V) a 2.5 UF capacitor should do the trick in terms of optimizing fan speed and performance. But if you notice slower fan speeds there could be two reasons, both of which can be dealt with easily! These reasons could be:

Your Capacitor Is Worn Out

If you’ve had your ceiling fan installed for a while and it’s been in constant use, it may be underperforming due to a worn-out capacitor. This calls for a replacement to restore your ceiling fan to its former glory!

You’re not receiving full voltage

If there’s an issue with the power supply, it could mean you’re not receiving the full level of voltage which has led to slower fan speeds. In such a scenario, it’s best to upgrade your capacitor. Pro-tip: Make sure your voltage is consistently low and not just dipping at certain times of the day before opting for a high-rating capacitor!

If the first reason is the one holding you back from enjoying optimum fan speed, replacing your existing capacitor with one of the same rating should work out fine. But, if it’s the second reason, depending on how low your voltage is, bumping up to a capacitor with any rating between 2.75-3.5 UF should get your ceiling fan rotating at great speed again.

Types of ceiling fan capacitors 

Typically ceiling fans make use of a permanent split capacitor. These are of three types, oiled-filled, paper, and polyester. The former tend to last longer periods of time without losing out on capacitance value and hence contribute greatly to sustained high fan speeds.

The paper variety, on the other hand, tends to have a lower UF rating, storing a relatively smaller amount of energy.

Other ceiling fans utilize polyester film capacitors, which are self-healing flat capacitors, wrapped in a plastic casing with an epoxy resin end seal. These are usually smaller in size and relatively lighter weight-wise. These features coupled with their high insulation resistance, make them a popular choice. 

Why it’s important to choose the right capacitor

If you’re not cautious of the rating of the capacitor you’re using in your ceiling fan, it can cause a variety of problems like:

  1. Your fan may overheat and stop functioning
  2. The fan’s start winding won’t receive enough power, and won’t generate any starting torque
  3. Slow fan speed
  4. The fan may not work for certain speed settings

Similarly, there can be multiple benefits to installing the capacitor that’s the best fit for your fan, such as:

  1. Make full use of your home voltage supply
  2. Improve the longevity of your ceiling fan
  3. Helps improve motor efficiency


Home maintenance can be a hassle for any homeowner, especially one who isn’t very well versed in the world of electronics and appliances. However, that shouldn’t deter you from making changes that may seem minor, because in the future they could make all the difference between a smooth operating ceiling fan or one that is burnt out.

Making sure that you’ve installed the ideal capacitor in your ceiling fans could save you from a financial headache in the future because by doing so you’d be ensuring the longevity of your fans as well as an optimum consumption of power, saving you money that would’ve been spent paying the electricity bill for an overworked fan.

While installing a capacitor with a rating ranging between 2.5-3.5 UF should generally be your safest bet, it’s always wise to consult a professional electrician. They could assess your power supply, fan speed, and pre-installed capacitor fully before quoting any alterations that you’d might want to make.

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Q: Can I install dual capacitors?

A: Dual capacitors will increase your fan’s capacitance and help produce high starting and running torque which would lead to high power consumption, resulting in overheating and in turn failure of auxiliary winding. We suggest you avoid any such alteration! 

Q: How can I replace my fan’s capacitor?

A: While it’s best to consult a professional electrician for such a task, you could still DIY it by first procuring the correct type of replacement capacitor, disconnecting the power supply, and then disassembling the fan until you get to the capacitor. After that, simply replace the capacitor, reassemble your fan and you’re good to go!

Q: How can I tell if my ceiling fan’s capacitor is bad?

A: If your fan produces a very noticeable humming sound and/or turning on the fan immediately leads to a burning smell filling up the room, your fan is at risk of having a bad capacitor. Additionally, rotating slowly or not at all for certain speeds could also be an indicator of a bad capacitor. 

Q: How do I assess my ceiling fan’s capacitor?

A: While we’d recommend bringing in a professional electrician for this, you could potentially check for a bad capacitor yourself by using an analog multimeter and setting it to 10k ohm to 1M. Connecting the leads of the multimeter to the capacitor’s terminals should produce a reading, a lower resistance would be indicative of a bad capacitor. 

Which Capacitor Is Best For a Ceiling Fan?
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