How to Easily Install a Ceiling Fan

  • 01 of 14

    Installing a Ceiling Fan

    You’ll be amazed how effective a ceiling fan can be in cooling off a room. You may also be surprised that they can also be used to direct heat back down in the winter. That may be why ceiling fans are so popular and seen in many homes and apartments as standard appliances.

    When deciding to use and select a ceiling fan there are some things to consider such as:

    • Proper support for the ceiling mounted electrical box
    • Maintaining adequate clear height under the fixture so a person does not hit their...MORE head,
    • Proper size and blade width,
    • Desired features such as lights
    • Separate switching for lighting and fan controls
    • Remote control capability of light and fan controls

    Once you picked the style, color, size and various features you want in your ceiling fan, installing it is actually fairly straight forward if you have basic electrical skills.


    Tools Needed:

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  • 02 of 14

    Confirm Ceiling Electrical Box Adequacy

    ceiling fan boxes
    Ceiling boxes for fan attachment require reinforcement.

    Ceiling fan assemblies can be very heavy, 50 to 70 pounds is not uncommon. When you consider the mass of the motor, size and number of fan blades and the glass globes used on some models of fans with lights you can see how the pounds add up. This weight coupled with the vibration that some fans generate cause significant dynamic loads on the electrical box to which the fan attaches.

    As a result the NFPA 70: National Electrical Code® and most local electrical codes that reference it require the...MORE use of a ceiling fan-rated electrical box that can handle the weight and motion placed on the box. A ceiling fan-rated electrical box will be marked and labeled as such usually rated to support a 70 pound weight. Ceiling fan boxes in new construction will use a saddle box or braced electrical box for support. Retrofitting into existing ceilings will require a special retrofit brace and box assembly.

    When retrofitting a fan into an existing ceiling light fixture box it may not have adequate support. If you go ahead and use the box anyway because there is no way to reinforce it, the fan will potentially wobble and the tightness of the electrical box to the structure can loosen, creating a dangerous situation not meeting electrical codes.


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  • 03 of 14

    Confirm Wiring Insulator Condition

    insulating wires
    If you are using pre-1950's wiring check for cracked insulation. © 2014

    First, shut off the circuit at your power panel that will connect to the ceiling fan.

    Next, if you are retrofitting a fan into an existing box or using wire installed in the early 1950’s or earlier, it probably uses cloth-sheathed rubber insulated cable. This cable is prone to cracking of the rubber insulation. If you are installing a standard light fixture (as shown in the photos above) or removing the box to install a code compliant fan-rated box, the insulators may start to crack. In that case...MORE follow this tutorial to Repair Damaged Wire Insulation. NOTE: If you are installing the fan into a new ceiling with new wire you can disregard this step of repairing the wire insulators.



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  • 04 of 14

    Prepare Fan Components

    ceiling fan packaging
    Open box and check components. © 2014


    OK, now that we know the ceiling box can support the weight of the fan and the wiring is safe, let’s get to installing!

    Open the box and remove the components. Before beginning, check for any damage such as to the glass globe (if lighting is used) and ensure completeness of all parts. You’ll hate this next part I know, but READ THE INSTRUCTIONS for any unique installation requirements not covered under this tutorial such as wiring options. Sorry, just had to put that in there…


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  • 05 of 14

    Fasten Fan Mounting Bracket to Ceiling Electrical Box

    ceiling fan bracket
    Fasten mounting bracket to the electrical box. © 2014
    Depending on the specific instructions found in your ceiling fan kit, there will be some kind of mounting bracket that fastens to the electrical ceiling fan-box. Mount the support bracket using the screws provided in your kit. As you mount the bracket, guide the electrical wires though the hole provide that allows the wires to pass from the box through the bracket. Make sure they do not pinch.


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  • 06 of 14

    Hook Ceiling Fan Motor to Mounting Bracket

    ceiling fan hooked to bracket
    Hook the fan motor assembly to the mounting bracket. © 2014

    Once the mounting bracket is securely fastened to the ceiling box, place the fan motor on the bracket hook using the hole specified in the instructions. This step allows the heavy fan motor to be supported until you complete the wiring connections in the next step.

    NOTE: If your ceiling fan model does not have a supporting hook on the bracket I would recommend supporting the weight of the fan assembly to the bracket with a plastic zip-tie until the wiring connections are completed.


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  • 07 of 14

    Connect Power Wiring to Ceiling Fan

    electrical ceiling fan wires
    Connect wires to fan motor and light. © 2014

    Next, it is time to wire the fixture for power to the fan motor and for the light if appropriate. When you perform this step you'll understand why the previous step of relieving pressure on the wires is so important.

    The model of fixture you have and how you want it switched will determine how it gets wired. See your instructions for details on specific wiring requirements. However, in general, if you want the light and motor controlled by the same wall switch, wire it as shown. First connect...MORE the ground wires (bare or green) to the ground screw, then connect the white wires and the black and/or blue wires. The black and blue wires are the hot wires for the motor and the light.

    Connect the wires with plastic screw on wire nuts and if necessary. wrap electrical tape around the wire nut and wires in a clockwise direction.

    Gently push the wires back into the electrical ceiling box to the extent possible.


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  • 08 of 14

    Attach Ceiling Fan Bracket to Mounting Bracket

    ceiling fan bracket
    Attach ceiling fan to mounting bracket. © 2014

    With the ceiling fan assembly wired up, the next step is to remove the fan motor assembly from its temporary hook and place it onto the mounting bolts of the mounting bracket attached to the ceiling box. Then fasten the nuts to the bolts finger tight to hold the fan and bracket in place.


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  • 09 of 14

    Tighten Mounting Nuts

    tightening ceiling fan mounting nuts
    Tighten nuts using a socket and ratchet. © 2014

    Tighten the nuts snugly with a 3/8 Inch drive ratchet and socket (socket size appropriate to size of the bracket attaching nuts).

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  • 10 of 14

    Install Motor Housing Cover

    installing ceiling fan cover
    Install motor housing cover. © 2014

    Once the ceiling fan motor assembly is in place, install the motor housing cover. Depending on your model, there will likely be small attaching screws that fasten the cover to the motor assembly. If those screws are already attached to the motor assembly as in this tutorial, remove them and reinstall them when attaching the cover.

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  • 11 of 14

    Attach Fan Blades

    attaching ceiling fan blades
    Attach fan blades to the motor shaft plate using a Phillips head screwdriver. © 2014
    Attach the fan blades to their attachment brackets. Then attach the assembled fan blades to the bolt holes in the fan's shaft mounting plate.


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  • 12 of 14

    Attach Light Globe Bracket to Fan

    attaching ceiling fan globe
    Attach light globe bracket. © 2014
    Attach the bracket that will hold the globe for the fan light using the provided small screws. If necessary thread the pull chains through holes in the bracket to allow use of the pull chains.


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  • 13 of 14

    Install Light Globe

    installed ceiling fan light
    Install light bulb(s) and globe to the bracket. © 2014
    Install the light bulb(s) and the globe. Most enclosed globes use a screw on type glass globe.


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  • 14 of 14

    Check for Final Operation

    ceiling fan with light
    The finished installation. © 2014

    With everything connected, it's time to check for proper operation:

    • Turn the power back on at the electrical panel
    • Check operation of the light switch and local pull chain controls for the fan and/or light.

    That's it! now relax and cool off!