Stylish and functional, adding a ceiling fan to any room is a great way to improve your comfort year-round. Ceiling fans will keep you cool in the summer and circulate heated air in the winter. Installing a ceiling fan is easy with an existing ceiling light fixture or when replacing a worn fan. Check out our other resources if you want to install a ceiling fan where no fixture exists.
First Thing’s First : Determine the Right Size Fan for Your Room
The bigger the room, the bigger the fan you need:
If the longest wall is;
- Less than 12 feet, choose a 36-inch fan.
- Is 12-15- feet, go with a 42-inch fan.
- Is over 15-feet, a 52-inch fan is ideal.
Installing a Ceiling Fan Where a Light Fixture Exists
To make an existing light fixture more multifunctional with a ceiling fan, you’ll need to upgrade the fixture in the ceiling with one sized to hold the additional wires and rated to bear the weight of a ceiling fan in motion. In some areas, this upgrade may require a permit.
If you’re a newbie, or simply want the job done ASAP, contact your local L-Train Electric to perform the installation for you.
Here’s how a licensed electrician like L-Train Electric handles a ceiling fan installation:
- Gather Necessary Tools & Materials
- Ceiling fan
- Ceiling fan-approved ceiling fixture (the junction box that holds the wires/wire connectors)
- Mounting kit (this visible piece connects the fan to the box on the other side of the drywall, and may be decorative)
- Light kit (if you’d like to add lights to your ceiling fan)
- Downrod extender (with high or vaulted ceilings, you will need this rod to bring the fan lower)
- Dimmer switch, if desired
- Voltage tester
- Wire cutters/strippers
- Wire nuts
- Electrical tape
- Adjustable wrench
- Cordless drill
- Buy the Right Stuff
A properly sized ceiling fan for your room and all the necessary components, including a fan-rated junction box, will be essential to a successful installation. National Electrical Code (NEC) prohibits installing ceiling fans with traditional ceiling boxes.
- Turn Off the Power
For virtually every electrical project, the first step is to turn off power at the breaker box. NEVER rely on turning off a light switch to protect you from live current. An electrician will double-check with a voltage tester to ensure the wires are dead.
- Remove the Existing Light and Open the Fixture
The electrician will remove any electrical tape or wire nuts from wires to expose a black (hot), white (neutral), and possibly a green or bare (ground) wire.
Removing an old fan? Banish dust bunnies easily before removal with the famous pillowcase trick from Molly Maid: It’s the only way to clean dusty fan blades.
- Remove the Existing Ceiling Box
Depending on the box’s installation, your electrician may remove any visible nails or screws that attach the box to your home’s frame, or push up toward the attic to pry from the frame or bend the hanger bar holding it in place.
- Install the New Hanger Bar & Fan-Rated Ceiling Box
Most adjustable hanger bars simply push through the hole from the old electrical box. The electrician will push the bar completely through, then rotate perpendicular to ceiling joists, allowing it to expand until the sharp steel pins on the end dig into the wooden ceiling joists. Then, the fan-rated ceiling box can be attached to the hanger bar. The electrician can then feed the wires into the box and lock it into place with the included U-bolt bracket and nuts, centering with the bolts facing down.
- Mount the Fan Bracket
The electrician can then thread electrical wires through the center of the mounting bracket, sliding on the bracket over the mounting screws or fastening to the bolts with nuts (depending on model). This is the point when the down-rod will be installed, if necessary.
- Assemble the Fan
Following manufacturer’s instructions, the electrician will assemble your new ceiling fan and light kit. That is if it is also purchased.
- Attach the Wires
At this point, the electrician will connect the wires and install any necessary light kit wires. Wires will be pushed into the box when complete. Also trimming them if needed.
- Attach the Fan to the Box
The fan assembly typically attaches to the box with a few screws.
- Install Trim, Lights, and Fan Blades per Manufacturer Instructions
When installation is complete, the electrician will restore power at the breaker box and also test your fan.
Install a Ceiling Fan with Remote
Many modern ceiling fans come with a remote, giving you control of the fan from anywhere in the room. The installation process for these fans is the same as outlined above. However, after the fan is installed, you will need to add batteries to the remote and check the owner’s manual for specific set-up instructions.