Installing a ceiling fan isn’t as hard as you might think. As long as you already have wiring run to the spot where you want to hang the fan, it’s a piece of cake. You might need someone to help you with the job – an extra pair of hands when you’re taking down the old fan and lifting up the new can really come in handy. Follow these steps to install a brand new fan and bring your heating and cooling costs down.
Turn Off Power to the Circuit at the Circuit Breaker
Installing a new ceiling fan will require you to work with your home’s electrical wiring, so, for safety, you should turn off power to the circuit your fan is on by going to the circuit breaker and pushing the relevant breaker switch into the “off” position. If you’re not sure which breaker controls which circuit, use a circuit breaker finder to figure it out. Test an outlet in the circuit with a voltage tester to make absolutely sure the circuit is turned off before you start messing with the wiring in your house.
Take Down the Old Fan or Fixture
If you’re taking down a small light fixture, you can probably manage this part of the job on your own. If you’re taking down an old fan, you’ll probably need help with this part of the job.
A light fixture is easy to take down – just remove the glass bulb cover, and then take out the screws that hold the light fixture to the electrical box. Pull it down to reveal the wiring connections in the ceiling. Remove the wire nuts and untwist the connections. You might as well remove the electrical box in your ceiling, too, as it’s probably not the type you need to hang a ceiling fan.
If you’re taking down an old ceiling fan, you might want to get someone to hold it up for you as you remove the screws holding the canopy in place and then those that hold the downrod to the mounting bracket on the ceiling. If you can’t find someone to help you lower the fan safely, take it down in pieces – remove the blades and light fixture, then the motor assembly and downrod.
Take down the old mounting bracket and make sure you have a fan-rated pancake electrical box in your ceiling. Make sure it’s attached to a joist or a fan brace.
Install a Proper Fan Brace and Fan-Rated Electrical Junction Box in Your Ceiling
A ceiling fan needs to be mounted to a fan-rated pancake electrical box in the ceiling, and that needs to be fastened to a joist or to a fan brace. If you already have the right electrical box and mounting brace, you can proceed to the next step of your ceiling fan installation.
If you don’t have a fan brace and fan-rated pancake electrical box in your ceiling, this is the time to install one. It’s easiest to attach your fan directly to a joist, and if the hole for your light fixture happens to be right next to a joist, you can just move the fan over a little bit and install a ceiling medallion to hide the hole.
Otherwise, you will need to install an expanding metal fan brace between the joists. If you can get into the ceiling from above, you can also install a length of two-by-four lumber between the joists above your ceiling hole, using 1 ½-inch screws. Attach your fan-rated pancake electrical box to the joist or the fan brace.
Assemble the Fan Motor According to the Instructions in the Box
Your fan should come with instructions to help you assemble the motor assembly. In general, you’re going to attach the downrod to your fan’s motor housing, making sure to pull the wiring from the motor through the downrod. A canopy, which will cover the ceiling mounting plate, will go over the other end of the downrod.
Attach the Fan Motor to the Ceiling
Your fan should have come with a ceiling mounting plate. Attach this to the pancake electrical box with the screws provided.
Most fans come with a convenient hook on the motor so you can hang the motor from the mounting plate while you’re doing up the wiring connections. If not, you’ll need someone to hold it up for you.
Connect the white wire from the fan motor with the white wire from the ceiling, and the black wire to the black wire. Do so by twisting the bare ends of the wire together and fastening with plastic wire nuts. Make sure to connect the bare or green ground wire from the fan motor with the same one from the ceiling, wrapping it around the ground screw in the pancake electrical box as well. Then screw the fan in place against the mounting plate and secure the canopy.
Install the Fan Blades and Light Fixture
Once your fan motor is installed, you can screw the blade brackets to the blades and then attach them to the fan motor. The light fixture that comes with your fan might plug in, or you’ll need to wire it up using the same general principles as before: white to white, black to black, and ground to ground. Add the bulbs and fan covers, restore power to the circuit, and try out your new fan.