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One of the best ways to save on your heating and cooling costs is to install a ceiling fan that will circulate cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. It’s a project that’s relatively easy. But it does require some basic knowledge of connecting electrical wiring, and maybe an extra pair of hands to help you lift it in place. Watch this video to learn the basics on how to install a ceiling fan.

**WARNING** If you’re unsure about working with electricity, you should call a licensed electrician to do the work. But if you’re ready to give it a try, let’s go ahead and get started.

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One of the best ways to save on your heating and cooling costs is to install a ceiling fan that will circulate cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. Installing a ceiling fan isn’t difficult. All it takes is some careful planning and maybe an extra pair of hands to help you lift it in place. In no time you’ll be enjoying the gentle breezes and comfort that only a ceiling fan can provide.

Today we’re going to replace a ceiling fan in the master bedroom. First, we’re going to take proper measures to make sure our new fan will be properly supported. Then we’re going to install our new fan according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As with any electrical project, if you’re unsure about working with electricity, you should call a licensed electrician to do the work. But if you’re ready to give it a try, let’s go ahead and get started.

The first step in this project is perhaps the most important one to remember if you’re replacing a ceiling fan as we are. Ceiling fans are relatively heavy compared to the average light fixture. Yet so often when installing a new ceiling fan people don’t take the proper precautions to make sure the fan is properly supported.

As with any electrical project, turn off the power at the electrical supply panel before starting. Then, check to make sure the power is off at the fixture with a voltage tester. Now we’ll carefully remove the existing fan. While each fan is different, most fans will come apart by first removing the lighting fixture, then the blades and finally the motor housing. Also be sure to note the existing configuration of the wiring so you can duplicate it with your new fan. Either sketch a diagram or take a photo of it with your cell phone.

A ceiling fan electrical box must be secured to the house’s framing members. Upon investigation, our existing ceiling fan was only supported by a flimsy brace which came loose over time, causing our fan to wobble. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for the proper way to prepare the fan site.

I think we’ve discovered why our old fan was wobbling. Instead of reusing this flimsy brace that was supporting the box, we’re going to secure the existing electrical box to a 2x4 as the instructions recommend. First we’ll measure between the two joists. Then cut the piece to length. We’ll fasten it to the ceiling joists with 3” screws toenailed in, which means drilled at an angle into the 2x4 through the joist. It helps if you start the screws before you climb up in the attic. Once the 2x4 is in place, finish drilling the screws into the joists.

Now, we’ll screw the box to our 2x4 from underneath, being careful to stay clear of our wires.

It’s probably a good time to lay out all of our parts to our ceiling fan. One of the first choices we have to make is whether to use the standard mounting or the low-profile mounting method. There is also an angled mounting configuration for vaulted ceilings. Since this fan is over the bed, we’re going with the low profile mounting which positions the fan closer to the ceiling.

So let’s start installing our fan:

  • First we’ll install the mounting plate to the electrical box.
  • Then we’ll assemble the top housing.
  • Now we can hang the fan from this hook on the mounting plate, which makes wiring the fan a lot easier.
  • Now we’ll wire the fan, hooking the wires up in the same configuration as the old ceiling fan.
  • Next we’ll install the canopy and assemble the blades.

Now is a good time to paint if you need to.

  • Finally we’ll complete our installation with the light fixture.
  • Turn on the electricity back on and check to make sure everything’s working.

This fan is equipped with a reversing function so we can have a downward air flow pattern in the summer and an upward air flow pattern in the winter. Look, the wobble is gone.

There you have it. Now you can rest assured knowing that your fan is properly secured, and that it will help you stay comfortable while reducing your energy costs. And it looks pretty good, too.

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  1. 1.drill bit set

    Turn off the power that goes to the fan, and test that there is no electrical current using a voltage tester.

  2. 2.trim

    Remove the light shade and light fixture.

  3. 3.mix

    Remove the blades.

  4. 4.paint

    Remove the motor housing.

  5. 5.paint flakes

    Remember the placement of the wires so you can replicate during installment. Take a photo or write down if needed.

  6. 6.paint flakes

    If the ceiling fan electrical box isn't securely fastened, cut a 2x4 to fit between the two rafters.

  7. 7.hole saw

    Go into the attic where the fan is and fasten the 2x4 between the house frames.

  8. 8.hole saw

    Return to the room and screw the electrical box to the 2x4 you just installed.

  9. 9.hole saw

    Lay out all the parts to your new ceiling fan and make sure no parts are missing.

  10. 10.hole saw

    Install the mounting plate.

  11. 11.hole saw

    Wire the fan in the same way it was wired previously.

  12. 12.hole saw

    Paint the ceiling, if needed.

  13. 13.hole saw

    Install the canopy and assemble the blades.

  14. 14.hole saw

    Install the light fixture.

  15. 15.hole saw

    Attach the light shade, turn the power back on and test the new ceiling fan.


Project Faqs « back to project

I’ve balanced the blade, but my ceiling fan continues to wobble on the high setting. How can I fix it?

The fan is probably wobbling because the electrical box that it’s attached to isn’t secured tightly to the house’s framing members. You need... More »

I am installing a ceiling fan; do I need a special electrical box?

Yes, special saddle boxes are designed for hanging heavy fixtures—up to about 50 pounds. Since a ceiling fan moves, these boxes are good for... More »

Can I install ceiling tile over any existing ceiling?

The existing ceiling must be in sound condition. Ceilings can be drywall, plaster, popcorn surfaces or open joists. A suspended ceiling may be... More »

My ceiling fan wobbles, what should I do?

If a wood blade is warped, it will wobble. Correct this problem by installing adhesive-backed weights to the blades. Operating at faster speeds may... More »

Can I glue new ceiling tile onto the old ceiling tile?

Do this only if the old tile is in good condition. Most often, old ceiling tile is deteriorating and will not provide an adequate surface for... More »

Do I need to insulate behind the drop ceiling?

If the ceiling is between floors of a building, there is no need to insulate because there is a natural flow of heat from one floor to another. If... More »

My ceiling fan is reversible. What setting should I use in the summer and what one should I use in the winter?

Use the down draft setting in the summer, and the updraft setting in the... More »

Is a suspended ceiling something I can install myself?

Yes. Installing a suspended ceiling is a relatively easy project that requires few special... More »

Can I use existing lighting over my ceiling tile?

Yes, but you will have to temporarily remove the fixture to install the... More »

Do I need to open any other windows while using a window fan?

Opening other windows allows a way for the air in the room to vent. To cool one room, run the window fan on intake and open a second window to act... More »

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