Power supply fan can get noisy for many reasons. Identifying the problem is the key to fixing it. The main reasons for noise coming from a PSF are:
- dust and dirt
- foreign object stuck in the fan
- system overheating
- bearing out of balance
- requires lubrication
- broken blade
We’ll examine each of these problems and how to fix them so you can get that awful noise under control.
1. Remove dust, dirt and foreign objects
To remove anything from your PSU fan first remove it from the computer. You’ll have way better access and prevent damaging any of the surrounding parts. Use an air blower or a vacuum cleaner to suck out any particles that can be removed easily.
For the grime and dirt that’s stuck to the blades I typically use a toothpick and go through each blade and around them. Once you’re done put the fan back in place, turn on your computer and see if it’s made a difference.
2. Lubricate the fan
You very likely have a standard sleeve bearing fan. The lubricant is an extremely thin layer surrounding the shaft in the center. It’s held by a rubber plug under the sticker of the fan so it’s really easy to find it.
What happens is the lubricant gets dry over time or simply disappears due to viscosity. Without the lubricant the shaft glides inside the bearing causing noise that would otherwise be absorbed by the lubricant.
So it’s important to re-lubricate this area. I suggest using a lubricant that is designed for computer components rather than vegetable oils. It will simply last longer because it’s more resistant to viscosity breakdowns.
It’s a good habit to check this area every time you’re cleaning your fan to save yourself the trouble of having to remove it again to re-lubricate.
3. Use the lubricating trick for easier application
Instead of removing the fan just to lubricate it, you can use a syringe or precision oiler (aff link) instead. You’ll find that your fan has probably four small holes leading to the sticker and bearing. By punching through the sticker with the needle you can apply the lubricant by squeezing some of it inside.
4. System overheating solutions
Often a PSU fan will work overtime if your system is overheating. Maybe because you’re playing games and using other programs that your computer can’t handle. Or maybe you have a virus that needs to be removed.
System overheating is a more dangerous problem since it can lead to burnout of components that are expensive and harder to replace. So if the noise doesn’t get resolved by cleaning and lubricant application, treat it as a symptom of a potentially worse problem.
If you can’t resolve the issue through software (running an anti-virus, monitoring your computer activity to see if the noise occurs at some times and not the others and why) you should probably have it checked in a computer store.
Perhaps some components have burned out already or are about to drop dead. They’re overheating for no apparent reason and the PSU fan is working overtime to keep the situation under control.
5. Broken fan blade fix
The only broken fan blade fix is to get a worthy replacement.
Broken computer fan blades are a relatively rare occurrence. But it can happen if a foreign object gets stuck or if the fan blades move from their usual position and hit on other parts of the fan. Due to the high speed only a few seconds of impact can cause the blades to break or deform.
Luckily, computer fans are relatively affordable. You can get a decent one like Thermaltake Ultra Quiet Cooling Fan (affiliate link) for $30-$50 that will work just fine so it’s probably not a good reason to panic.
Final Word: How to Quiet a Noisy Power Supply Fan
Your power supply fan should be super quiet. The only sound it should make is of the air moving through the blades. Which means essentially no sound at all. So any louder sound is a symptom of a larger problem.
The easiest solution is the removal of dust and grime that is slowing down the blades and reducing their function. If that doesn’t help, lubricate the shaft to prevent bearing noise while the fan blades are turning.
If that doesn’t help, you’re probably dealing with system overheating, a broken blade or blades that are poorly positioned and need to be straightened out. Most of the time these problems require professional assistance to resolve and/or the replacement of the power supply fan.
Replacing it is often times cheaper than taking it to the store and paying for repairs. It’s simply not worth the hassle. So in that case I suggest checking out the amazing selection of quiet power supply fans on Amazon (aff link) and getting one for $30-$50 that will instantly resolve this noisy issue. Hope this helps!