How to Install a Ceiling Fan In 4 Easy Steps

Safety Considerations for a Ceiling Fan Box Install

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Whenever electricity and ladders are involved in a project, safety is of the utmost importance. To limit risks and prevent injury when replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, follow these ceiling fan wiring safety precautions.

  • Always turn off the power source at the breaker box before starting a project that involves home wiring. Then, check that any wall switches are in the “off” position, but do not rely on just a wall switch for turning off the power as it presents some degree of risk.
  • Always double-check that the wires are not live. While the electrical power to a switch or outlet can be turned off at the breaker box, it’s important to then use a voltage tester to make sure the breaker box was labeled correctly.
  • When working on a ladder, make sure it is placed away from door openings and is placed on a secure and level surface.
  • Keep your hips centered within the ladder frame when on a ladder, and climb down to move the ladder if something is beyond your reach.

Install a new ceiling fan mounting box: electrical box and a ceiling fan wiring hanger bracket

Feed the existing wire through the cable clamp in

Feed the existing wire through the cable clamp in the top of the new metal ceiling fan junction box, slip the box over the saddle screws, and tighten the nuts to clamp the box to the shaft with a nut driver or a deep-well socket. Crimp a loop of grounding wire three-quarters around the grounding screw and tighten the screw.

Video

Project details

Skill

1 out of 5 Easy Somewhat easy. It takes a bit of work to install a fan-approved electrical box, but the ceiling-fan assembly and installation are very straightforward.

Cost

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

Overview and getting started

Fan Height Requirements

Manufacturers generally require that fan blades be

Manufacturers generally require that fan blades be at least 7 ft. above the floor. Since most fan and motor assemblies are less than 12 in. high, they’ll fit under a standard 8-ft. ceiling with the proper clearance.

Angled ceilings require that you install “downrods” (also called extension tubes or downtubes) that will lower the motor and fan blades so they’ll clear a sloped ceiling surface. The more space between the ceiling and the fan, the better. The fan will have more air to draw from, and you’ll feel more air movement because the blades are closer to you.

Most fans come with a short downrod designed for mounting on 8-ft. ceilings. If your ceiling’s less than 8 ft., you’ll need to remove the rod provided and flush-mount the fan. But if you have a higher or sloped ceiling, purchase a longer downrod.

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 saw to catch the dust.

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.

Tip: 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.

Tip: The pipe’s threads have a factory-applied coating. Don’t remove this coating; it keeps the pipe 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.

Step 8: Connect the Electrical Wiring

In our eighth step, we’ll be doing the often complicated work of actually connecting the electrical wiring. This is where things can get a bit tricky (and dangerous) for those that are inexperienced as to how to install a ceiling fan. We, again, highly recommend consulting with a licensed electrician to ensure that your ceiling fan is properly wired. 

Using twist-on wire connectors, join the two green wires to the bare copper wire extending from the cable. Next, join the two white wires before connecting the two black wires. Finally, rotate the fan into position against the ceiling medallion before securing it with two canopy screws. It is important to note that the room where you are placing your ceiling fan may be wired differently than outlined in these instructions. Again, if this is the case, it is highly recommended that you contact your local electrician in order to avoid trouble.

Step 4: Affix a New Electrical Box

Once you have successfully removed the existing kit from the ceiling and cut a new hole in order to install your new ceiling fan, it’s time to affix the new electrical box. 

It is important to note that you will need to install a new electrical box that is designed to hold ceiling fans as the electrical boxes used for ceiling lights aren’t sturdy enough to withstand the weight and vibration of a ceiling fan. You can do this by feeding the electrical cable that extends from the ceiling through the hole you have cut. You’ll want to make sure that there is a cable connector attached to the hole. 

Next, set the box into the hole, pressing tightly against the underside of the joist. After that, attach the box to the joist using your ceiling fan’s provided screws. Finally, wrap the cable’s bare copper wire around the grounding screw found inside of the electrical box before allowing the wire end to hang down. 

Installing Ceiling Fan With Downrod

The standard minimum distance between the floor and the blades of a ceiling fan is around 7 feet. Most homes have an 8-foot ceiling height, so homeowners will either have the ceiling fan mounted flush with the ceiling or with a low-profile 3” to 6” pole called a downrod. For ceilings with a height greater than 8 feet, installers will use a pole to connect the motor housing of the ceiling fan to the ceiling mount. Depending on the size and finish you need, your costs will land somewhere between $6 for a 3” and $80 for a 72” rod.

Downrods are available in diameters between &frac1

Downrods are available in diameters between ½” and 1” to suit the type of fan being installed. Here are the common downrod sizes based on ceiling height according to ceiling fan manufacturer Del Mar. [4]

Ceiling Height Downrod Length Average Cost
8’ No downrod
9’ 6” $5–$20
10’ 12” $6–$84
11’ 18” $8–$98
12’ 24” $11–$76
13’ 36” $10–$73
14’ 48” $25–$94
15’+ 60” $30–$94

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Ceiling Fan Installation Cost

The average cost of ceiling fan installation is $75 to $150 with most homeowners spending around $150 to $350 for both parts and labor. Hiring a handyman costs $50 to $80 per hour to install ceiling fan and typically takes 1.5 to 2 hours. If a professional is needed, an electrician’s hourly rate averages $85–$100 per hour and it will usually take two hours or more for new wiring.

Cost to Install a Ceiling Fan
Ceiling Fan Unit $50 – $320
Labor $75 – $150
Mount $8 – $15
Downrod $6 – $80
Wiring (If needed) $210+
Parts & Labor Total $150 – $350

If you need to cool a room in your home without huge expense, a ceiling fan will help considerably by moving stale air and introducing breeze at a reasonable price. Let’s go over the cost factors that will affect the cost of installing a ceiling fan.

Can I install a ceiling fan where a light fixture is?

One factor to consider when replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan is that the electrical box for the light fixture may not be built to hold the weight of a ceiling fan. Fans are much heavier than light fixtures, so you’ll likely need to purchase a new electrical box that was designed to anchor a ceiling fan.

STEP 7: Ensure everything is secure, then test the fan

Photo: istockphoto.com

Do a final check to make certain the fan and its components are secure before turning the power back on at the breaker. Turn on the wall switch, and then slowly test out the fan at its lowest speed to make sure it operates properly.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions to install the adjustable hanger bar and ceiling box



You install most hanger bars by pushing them thr

You install most hanger bars by pushing them through the hole in the ceiling left by the old electrical box. When you have the hanger bar completely through the hole, rotate it until it’s perpendicular to the ceiling joists. The bar expands until it engages the ceiling joists. The ends of the hanger bar are equipped with sharp steel pins that dig into the wood joists when the hanger bar is expanded. You then attach the special ceiling box to the hanger bar, locking it in place to provide a secure base for the fan.

Step 4: Assemble the rest of your ceiling fan

If your new fan includes blades that are “easy mount,” this next step shouldn’t be too difficult. Install the fan blades according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions, which typically involves screwing a blade mount into the motor housing unit and either screwing or snapping fan blades into place on the mount.

Assembling the lighting components according to the manufacturer’s instructions is also fairly straightforward. The fan will typically include a fixture for the light bulbs that attaches to the blade mount. Then, simply attach light shades, if included, and light bulbs.

Restore power to the ceiling fan at the breaker box, and switch on the unit to be sure the fan and lights are working properly.

Your new fan will help regulate the temperature in your space and provide good ventilation. The good news is installing a new ceiling fan isn’t a tough job, and you can get your space feeling cool or cozy after just a few hours of mild labor.

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