Install Your Own Ceiling Fan Step by Step
Tips & Tricks

Install Your Own Ceiling Fan Step by Step

A ceiling fan is a truly underrated home fixture. It can keep you cool in the summer, and you can switch the fan blade direction in order to keep you warm in the winter, too. Many homeowners are installing ceiling fans to save on heating and cooling costs, and live more sustainably. If you don’t have ceiling fans in your home – or if you need to replace old, outdated fans with newer models – you can do the work yourself. Just follow these steps to install your own ceiling.

Take Down the Light Fixture

Most people use a ceiling fan to replace a light fixture. You can buy ceiling fans with lights to increase the functionality of your fixture by combining the climate control of the fan with the illumination of a light fixture. If you’re not replacing to need to hire an electrician to run some wiring to the spot in the ceiling where you want to hang the fan.

To replace a light fixture with a fan, first remove the light fixture from your ceiling. Go to the breaker box and turn off the circuit. Remove the glass cover from the light fixture. In the base of the light fixture, you should see screws holding it to the ceiling. Remove those screws and pull the light fixture down gently. This should expose the wiring connections in the ceiling. Remove the wire connectors and disconnect the wires by twisting them apart.

Pry the Old Electrical Box Out of the Ceiling

Unless you are replacing an old ceiling fan, you’re probably going to need to replace the electrical box in your ceiling with a pancake electrical box that’s rated for use with a fan. A fan-rated box is sturdy enough to hold the weight of a fan. Pry the old electrical box off the joist or, if it’s attached to a metal bracket, remove the box from the bracket.

Cut a Hole and Install a New Pancake Electrical Box

You will want to anchor your new pancake electrical box to a ceiling joist or, failing that, to a bracket anchored firmly between the joists. If your light fixture wasn’t attached to a joist, you’ll need to find the joist and cut a new hole in the ceiling under it. Alternatively, you can install a fan brace between the joists above your existing hole.

Install a Ceiling Medallion Around the Hole

If you’ve cut a new hole in your ceiling, you’ll want to install a ceiling medallion to cover the old hole. You can glue the ceiling medallion to the ceiling and secure it with finishing nails.

Anchor the Ceiling Plate

The fan ceiling plate should attach to the pancake electrical box. Pull the wiring through the ceiling medallion and through the ceiling plate. Use two 1.5-inch screws to attach the ceiling plate to the pancake electrical box.

Put Together the Fan Motor

The fan motor assembly should be fairly straightforward. Your fan will come with instructions to guide you in assembling the motor. Feed the wires coming out of the motor housing through the fan canopy and through the downrod, if your fan uses one. Screw the downrod into the threads on the top of the motor assembly and then tighten the locking screw at the base of the rod.

Complete the Wiring Connections

Carry the fan motor assembly up the ladder and hang one side of it from the hook on the ceiling plate. You can then connect the wires emerging from the fan to the wires emerging from your ceiling. Match the colors up so that black connects to black, white to white, and so on. The green or bare wire is the ground; wrap it around the grounding screw in the electrical box before connecting it to its correspondent.

Install the Fan Blades and Lights

Now that you have the fan all wired up, it’s time to put on the finishing touches! Attach the fan blade brackets to the fan blades and then secure the blades to the fan motor. The fan light fixture might need to be wired up, or it might just plug into the fan motor housing. If it needs to be wired up, follow the same rules you used to connect the fan wires: black to black, white to white, and green (or bare) to green (or bare). Secure the light fixture to the fan’s motor with the screws provided and install the glass light covers. Now you’re ready to restore power to the circuit and enjoy your new fan!

Photo by alvin matthews on Unsplash

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