How to Install a Ceiling Fan

Project details



out of


reasonably easy. It takes a act of work to install a fan-approved electrical box, but the ceiling-fan assembly and facility are identical straightforward .


$50 to over $350, depending on size and features of the ceiling fan

Estimated Time

2 to 4 hours

The popularity of ceiling fans continues to grow as more and more homeowners discover dramatic, year-round department of energy savings. In summer, ceiling fans create cooling breezes, which reduce the filter on atmosphere conditioners. In winter, they circulate heated tune to keep the room warm .
Installing a ceiling fan is relatively simpleton, specially if the outer space above is accessible from an attic. however, evening when it is n’t, the job is hush quite accomplishable. here, we ‘ll show how to replace an old light fastness with a new ceiling fan and light, in a room with no attic above. The advantage of this approach is that you do n’t have to run new wire. The fan connects to the existing cable television from the previous light .
However—and this is very important—you can ’ t equitable hang the fan from the existing electrical box. It ’ sulfur merely not strong enough to support the add slant and oscillation of a fan. Presuming you don ’ thyroxine have access to the ceiling fan from above, you must either use a particularly rated hanger and box to mount the fan between joists or, better however, screw a fan-rated “ pancake ” box ( so called because it ’ second very thinly ) directly to a ceiling joist .

Optimal Sizing, Speed, and Placement

Use this formula to find the best winnow size for a room ’ second occupied outer space ( the separate of the room where people gather the most ) : Occupied space ( in square feet ) divided by 4 equals the blade couple ( in inches ). Step blade span down a bit for rooms with gloomy ceilings, and go across-the-board if the ceilings are high .
Another thoroughly dominion of flick is to remember that blade spans of less than 36 inches are ideal for spaces smaller than 75 square feet, such as baths and breakfast nooks. Spans of 36 to 42 inches cultivate in rooms of up to 225 feather feet, like a dining room. Larger living rooms and bedrooms can handle 50- to 54-inch blades .
Make certain that the cubic feet of air that the fan moves per hour ( cfm ), measured at high gear accelerate, is near the top of its course. Some 52-inch fans, for example, rate equally moo as 2,050 cfm, while others reach 7,800. High-cfm fans not only provide a better cinch, they normally have full-bodied motors that will survive longer and run more restfully .
For optimum performance, the fan should be hung at least 1 1/2 feet from the wall or a slop ceiling, 7- to 10-feet from the floor, and at least 8 inches from the ceiling. Steer clear of hanging the fan besides conclude to any lights, as rotating blades under a light bulb will create an annoyance flicker .

Ceiling Fan Overview

Illustration of ceiling fan overview.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

1. Remove the Existing Light Fixture

  • Make sure electricity to circuit is turned off and carefully remove the glass shade or globe from the old light fixture.
  • Unscrew the retaining nut or screws that hold the fixture to the ceiling.
  • Lower the fixture and disconnect the wires by twisting off the plastic connectors from the ends of the wires.

2. Remove Box and Cut New Hole

  • Remove the old electrical box from the ceiling. If it’s nailed to a joist, pry it free with a flat bar. If it’s suspended from a bar, you may have to take off a metal plate to unscrew the box; then pry the bar from the joists.
  • Hold a 1/2-inch-thick pancake box against the ceiling, centered on a joist, and trace around it with a pencil.
  • Cut along the line with a drywall saw.

tip : Hold a vacuum cleaner wand next to the interpret to catch the scatter .

3. Attach New Electrical Box

  • Feed the electrical cable coming from the ceiling through the knockout hole in the pancake box. (Be sure there’s a cable connector attached to the knockout hole.)
  • Set the box into the hole cut through the ceiling and press it tight against the underside of the joist.
  • Attach the box to the joist with the two 1 1/2-inch No. 10 hex-head screws provided. Drive in the screws with a drill/driver equipped with a 5/16-inch nut-driver tip.
  • Wrap the cable’s bare copper wire around the grounding screw inside the box. Allow the wire end to hang down.

4. Glue on the Ceiling Medallion

  • Apply a small bead of urethane-based adhesive to the back of the ceiling medallion.
  • Pass the wires through the medallion (above).
  • Center the medallion on the pancake box and press. Fasten it with four 6d finishing nails driven into the joist.
  • Set the nailheads and fill with caulk or spackle.

5. Mount the Ceiling Plate

  • Hold the fan’s metal ceiling plate up to the pancake box and pull the wires through its center hole.
  • Attach the ceiling plate to the box with two 1 1/2-inch-long 10-32 machine screws.

tap : If you ‘re going to paint the medallion, do it before installing the ceiling plate.

6. Assemble the Fan Components

  • With the fan on the floor, feed the wires coming from the motor through the center of the canopy. Set the canopy on top of the motor.
  • Next, pass the wires through the hollow down-rod pipe.
  • Thread the down-rod pipe into the top of the motor. Use a wrench to tighten the square-head locking screw on the side of the pipe.

tap : The pipe ‘s threads have a factory-applied coating. Do n’t remove this application ; it keeps the shriek from unscrewing .

7. Make the Wire Connections

  • Hook one side of the canopy onto the ceiling plate.
  • Using twist-on wire connectors, join the two green wires to the bare copper wire coming from the cable. (If your room is wired differently from the one shown here, consult a licensed electrician.)
  • Join the two white wires.
  • Then connect the two black wires.
  • Swing the fan up into position against the medallion and secure it with the two canopy screws.

8. Attach the Blades and Lights

  • Attach each fan blade to a blade iron (the bracket that holds the blade to the fan). Then, fasten the blade irons to the motor with the screws provided.
  • Plug the fan’s light-fixture housing into the wire hanging from the underside of the fan’s motor.
  • Install the shades and lightbulbs.
  • Screw the plastic holder for the remote control to the wall beside the wall switch.


Looking for aid with repairs around your home plate ? A home guarantee may help. Check out these in-depth guides from the This Old House Reviews team :

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