What To Do With Old Ceiling Fans? (Find Out Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Ceiling fans are practical tools in our homes that provide circulation and airflow through the house. While a modern ceiling fan can undoubtedly brighten a new space, an old ceiling fan can make a room feel old and dingey. Even though you may have an old ceiling fan, you have plenty of options of what you can do with an old fan.

With some quick tricks, it may be possible to modernize your ceiling fan, making it look new again. If you want to replace your old ceiling fan, you can donate, recycle, or upcycle your old ceiling fan into a new DIY project. Of course, it is also possible to simply dispose of an old ceiling fan in the trash.

Although specific organizations like Goodwill may not take old ceiling fans, other organizations like Habitat for Humanity or The Salvation Army may take ceiling fans that are still in good working condition. If you want to keep your ceiling fan, there are plenty of ways to upcycle your fan, reusing it with a fun DIY project or craft. An old ceiling fan can make a unique and functional mirror, chalkboard, sign, or even a flower planter.

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Can I Modernize an Old Ceiling Fan?

An old ceiling fan can make your home look dated and tired, but it is possible to modernize your ceiling fan to breathe new life into your home. Some great ideas to update your old ceiling fan include:

  • Blades – It may be possible to add new blades to your old ceiling fan. When ceiling fans are left to hang for years on end, the blades can begin to bend and warp, making them appear dated. Adding new blades to your ceiling fan can help make your fan look new again.
  • Paint – Try painting your ceiling fan to cover up dull or chipped finishes. Adding a pop of color to your ceiling fan can really give your room a new focal point.
  • Lighting – Try to add new lighting to your ceiling fan. Often, old lighting fixtures on your fan can make the ceiling fan appear dated. New, modern lighting can not only brighten a room but bring your ceiling fan back to life.
  • Bulbs – Try changing the light bulbs on your ceiling fan to modern LED lighting. Dated incandescent lighting can make a room look dark and dingy, but bright lighting can help modernize your ceiling fan.
  • Remote Control – Sometimes, it may be possible to add a remote control to your ceiling fan. Adding a remote can make turning the fan on and off and controlling the speed super convenient.

Are Ceiling Fans Recyclable?

It may be possible to recycle your ceiling fan or at least parts of it. There are several components to a ceiling fan, including the blades, bulbs, and electronics. Some local recycling centers will take the entire old ceiling fan, while other recycling centers may only take the blades or the batteries. Always call the recycling center before bringing your old ceiling fan to confirm what can be recycled locally.

Before taking your ceiling fan to the recycling center, you’ll want to remove the light bulbs. Most bulbs can be thrown away with regular trash. If your light bulbs in your fan have mercury, like CFL bulbs, you’ll want to contact your local recycling center to confirm proper disposal. For some fans with an electronic control or remote, you may need to recycle the motor with electronic waste.

Can I Put an Old Ceiling Fan In the Trash?

Depending on how advanced your fan is, you may just throw the fan into the trash. Older fans with a simple electronic circuit can be taken to the curb for regular trash pick up. Be sure to pull out any light bulbs from the fan and dispose of them properly, especially if they contain mercury like CFL bulbs.

Be sure to disconnect any glass light fixtures surrounding the ceiling fan, so they do not break in the trash. Wrap any glass components in cardboard or newspaper to keep them protected until they can be properly disposed of.

Is a Ceiling Fan Considered Electronic Waste?

Before throwing away an old ceiling fan, be sure to check the fan’s internal components. More advanced fans may be considered electronic waste. If the fan is just a simple device, like an old electric fan, you may be alright simply throwing the fan away in the trash.

However, fans that are more advanced or have a programmable device inside may have to go to an electronic waste center. Be sure to check with your local electronic waste center in your area to confirm if your old ceiling fan should be considered electronic waste.

Can I Donate an Old Ceiling Fan?

An old ceiling fan may make a wonderful donation to certain organizations like The Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity. Make sure your ceiling fan is in good working condition before donating. Call your local donation center ahead of time to confirm the organization has space or arrange a pick-up at your home.

Can I Make a Craft with an Old Ceiling Fan?

If your outdated fan in your home needs to go, it is possible to create a fun, DIY craft to give your old ceiling fan new life. Consider completing a DIY project to not only give your home a new look but to reuse an otherwise wasted material. Some great DIY projects for a ceiling fan include:

  • Planter – Consider making a new planter out of the motor housing around the fan. You can spray paint to motor cover in whatever color matches your home, giving you a cheap, easy, and original planter.
  • Create a Wall Hanging – Disassemble your ceiling fan and take the blades out of the fan. You can paint and decorate each fan blade to make a customized wall hanging. Make a clever sign, a seasonal decoration, or a great housewarming present for a friend.
  • Chalkboard – Using chalkboard paint, you can repurpose the blades on your old ceiling fan. Paint the blades and hang them in your home for an easy and convenient space to write memos and reminders for you and your family members.
  • Flowers – You can use the fan lamp shades in addition to the motor casing to create new flower planters. Disassemble the fan, remove the light shades, and create a small, original, practical planter. The small hole at the base of the lighting fixture makes a convenient and practical drain to let out excess water.
  • Mirror – Using the old ceiling fan, you can make a funky mirror for your home. Disconnect the electronics and replace the center motor with a small round mirror. Mount flat blades on the wall and enjoy a new conversation piece custom-made for your home.

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Related Questions

Does Goodwill accept old ceiling fans?

Although it may seem like a convenient option to drop your old ceiling fan off at a local charity organization, unfortunately, Goodwill does not accept ceiling fans. Many ceiling fans have consumer product safety conditions or contain recalled items, so Goodwill will turn away people bringing old ceiling fans to their store.

Can I paint a ceiling fan?

Often, existing paint or metallic finishes can flake off, leaving your ceiling fan in need of a makeover. Painting a ceiling fan is completely possible and a great way to update the look of your current ceiling fan. Compared to traditional wall paint, be sure to use paint intended for cabinets to repaint your ceiling fans. Allow your paint to dry before reassembling and running your ceiling fan fully.

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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