Installing a Ceiling Fan

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated August 28, 2020)

When faced with the possibility of installing a ceiling fan, many homeowners get a little nervous. Often times this is because of working with electricity. Luckily, installing a ceiling fan is one of the easiest home electrical jobs that you can do. If you are thinking about installing a ceiling fan yourself, never fear. All you need to do is follow these simple directions, and you will have a perfectly installed ceiling fan.

  1. Shut off the power! Prior to doing any type of electrical work, you need to first shut off the power to that room. Shutting off the power at the circuit breaker will help ensure that the room is completely power-free. Just be sure that you leave a note at the breaker box saying that you have turned it off for maintenance, so no one comes along and accidentally turns it back on.
  2. Remove the old box and wiring. If you are replacing an old ceiling fan or an old light, then you are going to want to remove the old box. However, if you are installing a completely brand-new ceiling fan with no existing box in place, then you need to install an electrical outlet first. That is not discussed in this tip. To remove the old ceiling box, you may need to cut away a bit of the plaster or drywall that surrounds the box. Check to see if the box is nailed to a joist. If so, cut away or remove the nails that are holding it in place. Be careful as you do this so that you do not accidentally cut any wiring at this time. Once you have removed the old box, remove the wiring from it and allow it to hang.
  3. Add and tighten new brace. Many ceiling fan kits will come with a brace that is designed to help hold the fan in place. When purchasing your ceiling fan, make sure that yours does. If it does not, then you will need to pick one up. These braces are basically flat, telescoping pieces of metal that have been designed to press firmly against the joists and hold the weight of the fan. You can find them at your local home improvement store Slip the brace for your ceiling fan into the hole and make sure it is spread until it contacts the joists on either side. As you are doing this, center the brace in the hole so that you can tighten it a little easier. Use a channel lock or adjustable wrench to ensure the brace is completely tightened.
  4. Attach new box. Thread the new box with the wiring, and then place the box into the hole. Secure the box to the brace with some bolts.
  5. Install mounting plate. Once you have attached the new box, it is time to install your mounting plate. This mounting plate is what will help secure the fan to the brace. Thread the wires through the mounting plate and then secure the mounting plate to the box using some nuts and bolts that came with the fan. Make sure that everything is secured tightly so that it doesn't fall down with the additional weight of the fan.
  6. Assemble the canopy and down rod. Following the directions provided by the manufacturer, begin to assemble the canopy and down rod of the fan. This will involve running the fan leads through the rim ring, canopy and the down rod. Once you have threaded the wires, screw the down rod on tightly. Be careful that you do not damage the wires, and do not attach the fan blades yet.
  7. Attach the wiring. Begin hanging the canopy by using the temporary system that was provided by the manufacturer. If necessary, have a friend hold the fan in place as you begin to attach the wiring. Most fans only use two wires, a black one and a white one. Attach the black wire from the fan to the black house wire, and the white one to the white house wire. If you have more than these two wires, follow the directions from your manufacturer. Cap each wire with wire nuts to make sure that the wires are not exposed.
  8. Attach the canopy. After you have attached the wiring, go ahead and attach the canopy to the mounting plate. As you are doing this, remove the temporary system that was provided by the manufacturer, and be careful that you don't over tighten the screws and nuts. Over tightening can lead to cracking or damaging the ceiling.
  9. Attach the fan assembly. Once you have the canopy attached to the mounting plate, it is time to begin assembling the fan itself. Do this by attaching the blades, one at a time, to the appropriate brackets.
  10. Balance and test the blades. Finally, after you have assembled the blades and attached them to the fan motor assembly, it is time to balance everything and test your blades. This means that you turn your fan on to its lowest setting and check to see if it wobbles. If it wobbles then you need to pull out the balancing kit that came with the fan and follow the directions carefully. Test your fan again after balancing, and then enjoy!

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...


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