Ceiling Fan Set Up

Installing a ceiling fan can seem like a daunting task. But ceiling fans of today are made with the do-it-yourselfer in mind. Many will come with clear instructions, complete with illustrations that can take you from start to finish.

Here is what is involved.

Choose Your Location

Mostly, this means installing a ceiling fan in the center of the ceiling. Often there will already be a central light fixture in place. This simplifies matters. You can swap out the light fixture and put the fan in its place. The fan itself should not overload this circuit. But if, as is likely, the fan also has lights, you will want to check to make sure the circuit can handle the new load. If you are not swapping out an existing fixture, find the joist that is closest to the center and mark the location.

Determine Blade Clearance

The blades should be a minimum of 7 feet above the floor, ideally 8. The fan itself takes up about a foot of space, so a 9 foot ceiling will give you 8 feet of clearance. For higher ceilings, get the appropriate length of extension rod to bring the fan down where it will produce the best air flow.

Turn Off The Power

This is the most important rule when installing electrical appliances. You are going to be fiddling with wires. Go to the fuse or circuit breaker and make sure those wires aren’t hot.

Install The Junction Box

Cut a junction box-sized hole in the ceiling right next to the joist from which your fan will hang. Drill holes in the joist and screw the box in place. Patch the hole. (If you prefer not to make a hole in your ceiling, there are also fan support units that can be inserted through the normal junction box hole.) Use a 4 inch octagonal metal junction box. Plastic is not strong enough to support your fan.

Assemble the Fan

This procedure will vary from brand to brand. Each fan should come with its own set of instructions.

Mount the Fan

Use screws and lock washers to install the hanger bracket on the box. If the fan kit doesn’t come with lock washers, purchase some yourself. They will save you grief later by holding the screws tightly in place. With lock washers, the screws will not start to work themselves loose producing wobble and eventually a spectacular crash. To mount the fan to a beamed ceiling requires a special beam mount. Get one for a horizontal or pitched beam as appropriate.

Wire the Fan

Remember to connect black wires to black and white or red to white or red. Slip the ceiling cover up and tighten it in place.

Ground the Fan

The grounding wires will be green or bare copper. Make sure both the metal box and the fan are electrically grounded.