How to install an outdoor ceiling fan on a pergola?

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Connect the wiring

Once all the wires are properly set up and safe, you can start connecting them to the actual fan equipment. Strip the wires and remember to trim them well.

This would be a good time to remember which wires go where.

The black and blue wires connect to the black wire. If your fan has a light, connect it to the blue wire. Match the rest of the colors with each other.

Once you’re done, you can put the wires inside the electrical box and proceed with securing the whole fan.

Image credit:
Image credit:


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.

Wire the fan, fan light and switch

Connect ceiling fan wiring at the fan: Know your ceiling fan wire colors

This is what you need to know about ceiling fan wi

This is what you need to know about ceiling fan wire colors: Connect the bare ground wire from the box to the green ground wire on the bracket with a wire connector. Connect the white neutral wire from the motor to the neutral wire from the box. Connect the blue and black wire from the motor to the black hot wire from the box and neatly fold them into the box.

STEP 1: Select a ceiling fan that suits the size of the room


When choosing a fan, note the size of your room. The blades need to be at least 18 to 24 inches away from all walls, a minimum of 7 feet from the floor, and 10 inches from the ceiling. Use the following figures as a guide to selecting the right size ceiling fan for your space:

  • 36-inch fan if the room is less than 144 square feet
  • 42-inch fan if the room is between 144 and 225 square feet
  • 52-inch fan if the room is more than 225 square feet

Our researched guide to the best ceiling fans offers terrific fan options at a variety of price points. After selecting the fan, select a ceiling box that’s approved for fans. Boxes for overhead lights are not strong enough to support the weight of a fan; your best bet is to choose a metal box that can support a fan’s weight. If you have access from an attic above or have open ceiling framing, you can add framing between joists to attach the box. If not, use a brace bar. A brace bar can be screwed into the joists, and the ceiling box and fan will hang from the newly added support.


Assemble the fan and hang it

Insert the correct size downrod

Place the motor right side up, thread the wire thr

Place the motor right side up, thread the wire through the downrod and insert the downrod into the mounting collar.

Final Thoughts

Replacing a ceiling light with a new ceiling fan is a fairly easy DIY project. After selecting the new ceiling fan based on the room’s size and design preferences, and then gathering all of the needed supplies and tools, it’s an interior design update that can typically be completed in an afternoon.


Step 3: Wire your new fan

Once the downrod is securely fitted into the bracket, you can connect the wires in the ceiling to the fan’s wiring. Your new fan should come with wire caps that help connect the wires. Be sure to check both the fan’s installation manual and the labels on the ceiling wires so that you’re connecting the wires in the fan to the appropriate wires in the ceiling. You may need to use a wire stripper to expose wires before connecting them.

Wires that need to be connected include:

  • A hot wire (often black), which connects to the home’s supply wire
  • A ground wire (often green), which connects with the home’s copper ground wire
  • A neutral wire (often white), which connects with the home’s neutral wire

If your fan is equipped with lights, it will include a striped or blue wire that will also need to be connected with the home’s supply wire.

Gather any hanging wires and insert them into the ceiling’s junction box before moving the fan’s canopy up and attaching it to the mounting bracket with the provided screws.

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.

Choosing Where to Install Your Ceiling Fan

The two big questions you must answer before installing a ceiling fan are where you want to install it and how you’ll be supplying power to that location. Factors to consider will vary depending on if you’re installing a new fan, replacing an old one, or retrofitting an old light fixture.

  • Existing Fans or Retrofit: If you’re replacing an existing fan or light fixture, your decision on where to install your new fan is easy. You’ll want to carefully disassemble the fixture, beginning with light bulbs and decorative glass. Remove the screws holding the light fixture to the electrical box, then disconnect the plastic wiring connectors to remove the fixture completely. If you’re lucky, the electrical box will be installed directly to a ceiling joist. That means you’ll be able to bracket your fan to the joist to give it the support it needs. If the electrical box is installed between two joists, you’ll need to install a support bar that is rated for fan support.
  • New Fan Installations: When installing a fan where no fixture exists, you have the same options for structural support: either bracket the fan directly to a ceiling joist or install a support bar between joists. The greater challenge will be choosing the best solution for supplying power, which is usually the method that requires the least amount of drywall cutting. With attic access to the installation site, homeowners who are experienced with electrical rewiring can route new wiring from any electrical access point in the attic. If there is no such access, wiring should be routed from the nearest outlet or switch, which is usually a wall switch in the room where the fan is being installed. This will often require one or more small holes to be cut in the drywall so that the wiring can be routed around corners.

Step 1: Prepare to install your fan

Safety is the top priority when it comes to DIY projects, particularly when you’re working with electrical components. Shut off power at the breaker box to the existing fan or light fixture, and use a circuit tester to ensure that no electricity is present in the wires at the installation site.

After removing the old fan or fixture, be sure the existing electrical box is fan-rated and will support the extra weight. If it’s not, you’ll need to install an appropriate box as well as a fan brace between two ceiling joists. A ceiling fan that’s not supported well poses an enormous risk to anyone in the room, particularly when the fan is on.

Isolate the electrical material

Since it’s an outdoor ceiling fan, you’re going to need to protect it from the elements. Rain and water damage are the main risk factors.

Electrical equipment should always be properly isolated, especially if it’s located in an outdoor environment. Plastic is the ideal option for hydro-isolation and you might find a high-quality plastic sheet at places like Plastic Whol​​​​esale.

It’s important that you cover the fan with something that will last throughout heavy rain seasons. As long as the fan and wires are covered with plastic and PVC piping, you won’t have to worry about water damaging any electrical components.

Project details


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.


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

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Available Ceiling Fan Boxes


If a strong framing member is positioned directly above the box's hole, a pancake fan box or a box with a joist bracket through its center may be the easiest to install.


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