- An easy-to-install ceiling fan can make a real difference in your home's climate - both
cooling and heating - at a far lower cost and operating expense than almost any other
- The installation begins with choosing where the fan should be located. In almost all
homes, the fan is installed in the center of the room, replacing a central light fixture.
This spot provides a smooth air flow to most of the room.
- Since a fan draws about the same power as a ceiling fixture, the electrical circuit
shouldn't be overloaded. But if your fan includes lights, be sure the circuit it's on has
enough extra capacity to handle the load. If not, you must run a new circuit with a new
circuit breaker from the house main service panel or subpanel to the fan.
- If there is no central light fixture, you'll have to create a place to hang the ceiling
fan. Then, you'll need to bring electrical power to it. You can tap into an existing
circuit to do this.
| MOUNTING THE
- Start your installation by turning off the power to the light's circuit breaker or fuse.
Only then should you remove the light fixture.
- If there is no central light fixture, snap diagonal chalk lines from opposite corners of
the room to find its center. Determine whether the lines cross exactly below a ceiling
joist. If they do, move aside just far enough between joists to let you fasten the side of
the fan's new junction box directly to the joist.
- Cut a hole large enough for the junction box to be slipped in. If it's next to the
joist, drill holes in its side and screw it to the joist.
- Installation between joists is OK, too. Fasten the box to a 2 x 4 header nailed between
the joists. Sometimes, you can insert a 2 x 4 header through the junction box's hole,
nailing it to each joist. If not, you may need to open a larger access hole. Then, patch
the hole to close it again. (See Fig. 1 for a typical fan mounting where there's access
above the joists for header-nailing.)
- You may choose to use a patented fan support unit designed to be inserted through the
normal junction box hole to save you from opening a hole in the ceiling (Fig. 2).
- Use only a metal junction box to support a ceiling fan - never hang the fan from a
plastic box. Depending on the brand, style, and size of your ceiling fan - and your
electrical code - you may use a 4" or 3" octagonal junction box. (Some local
codes don't permit the use of 3" boxes.)
- The heaviest fan that should be supported by an outlet box is 35 pounds. If it weighs
more, the building structure must support it.
- Whatever you do, make sure the junction box is supported well enough to hold at least 50
pounds. That's the weight of an average ceiling fan. Also, your mounting must be able to
withstand vibration while the fan is running. Even a well-balanced fan creates some
vibration when it runs.
- You'll use a special beam mount when mounting a fan to a beamed ceiling. Use one kind
for a horizontal beam, another for a pitched beam (Fig. 3). You may need an extender to
lower the fan to the proper level.
- Fan-mounting is particularly important because any failure to make things secure could
allow your fan to fall from the ceiling.
- Fan assembly varies from brand to brand. Be sure to follow the specific instructions
with the unit you buy. Regardless of the manufacturer's instructions, if the fan blades
are less than a screwdriver's length away from the ceiling, it may be best to install the
blades before hanging the fan.
- The hanger pipe is usually placed into its hole on top of the motor. The wires are drawn
up in the center. A set screw is tightened securely to make sure the pipe stays in
place after it is threaded down.
- Some fans have a separate motor hub into which the hanger pipe mounts. In this case,
you'll place the actual motor housing over the hub.
- Other fans have a two-piece decorative ceiling cover to hide the hole in the ceiling. It
is installed after the fan has been hung on the ceiling (Fig. 4).
- Tighten the set screw well.
- Other models use a hook, with the hanger bracket designed to accept it (Fig. 5).
- To attach the fan blades, set the motor unit down where it will be stable. Often, the
styrene foam packing for the motor housing makes an excellent stabilizer on your
- Most fan blades have a two-pronged attachment, using screws that come through holes in
the blades and into the flanges (fig. 6). These need to be drawn up securely, but not so
tightly that the threads are damaged or the laminated blade material is crushed. On many
fans you'll find the flanges, or prongs, also need to be mounted to the motor housing. If
this is the case, mount them before the flanges are mounted to the blades themselves.
|| HEIGHT BENEATH
- Now, check the floor-to-ceiling height of the fan blades. You can do this by measuring
the floor-to-ceiling distance and subtracting for the part of the fan that will extend
below the ceiling down to the lower blade surface. An absolute minimum height of 7' is
recommended (Fig. 7). This may be reinforced by building codes in your area.
- If the floor-to-ceiling distance is too little, check into a low-ceiling mount for your
fan. With some models, the fan blade height can be increased by as much as 10".
Remember, though, that you need at least 12" between the ceiling and the tops of the
fan blades for proper airflow (Fig. 7). Having 18" is better if the space is
MOUNTING THE FAN TO THE BOX
- Install the hanger bracket on the box with screws and lock washers. If no lock
washers are supplied, get some - they prevent fan vibration from loosening the screws over
- The hanger bracket may accept either a half-ball hanger or a hook-type hanger, depending
on which kind your fan uses. Either way, the hanger is carefully slipped into the bracket.
- Next, the unit is wired, and the ceiling cover is slipped up to its full height and
tightened in place.
- Be sure to connect the black house wires to the black fan wires, and the white house
wires to the white fan wires.
- The fan should be electrically grounded to both the metal box and the fan. The grounding
wires will be either green or bare copper. A green grounding pigtail attached to the box
by a bonding screw will make your work easier. Wirenut the ground wires from the box, the
fan and the power supply together.
- If the fan wobbles when it runs, its blades may be unbalanced. To correct this, try
interchanging two adjacent blades. If that doesn't work, take all the blades off and weigh
each one on a food or postal scale. If any is underweight, tape a soft object such as a
pencil eraser or modeling clay to the top center of the blade, making its weight the same
as the others. Fan balancing kits with detailed instructions are also available. Reinstall
the blades and the fan should run smoothly.
|| PROBLEM HANGING
- When nothing else works for fan mounting, use a piece of good-looking hardwood plywood
as a fan-mount. It should be large enough to extend over two joists. The size may be
18" x 18" or 26" x 26", or any variant that does the job.
- Use brass screws in pilot-drilled holes to attach the plywood to the ceiling joists. The
screw length will vary, depending on the thickness of the plywood and plaster or
plasterboard ceiling below the joists. Use one screw every 6".
- The plywood will have an access hole of proper size cut in its center, and will serve as
the main mounting member for the junction box above it.
- Finish the plywood with an outside corner molding, mitered at the corners for a neat
appearance (Fig. 9).
- Or, you can get a surface-mounting fixture box along with a surface conduit wiring
system that meets electrical codes. This allows you to do the wiring installation on the
ceiling and wall, rather than behind it.
- You may wish to wire your new ceiling fan through a fan speed control. This lets you set
its operating speed smoothly and easily.
|| SWAG KIT USE
- Swag kits are available if you wish to have a super-easy installation and a degree of
portability in a ceiling fan. These replace the above-ceiling wiring job. In this case,
though, the hanger bracket is screwed directly into a ceiling joist (Fig. 10).
- The swag kit is wired into the fan, and the fan assembled as described earlier. Then
slip it into the hanger bracket.
- The chain and cord are hung from hooks carried across the ceiling, toward a wall and
down the wall, where the cord plugs into a handy receptacle.
- A swag-mounted ceiling fan can be taken down in a few minutes and moved to another
- Use extra care when working with electricity. Less current than it takes to light a
60-watt bulb can be lethal.
- All wiring should conform to local electrical codes as well as to the current National
Electrical Code (NEC). You can probably find a copy of the NEC at your local library.
- Never trust a light switch to render a fixture "dead," because sometimes the
power enters at the fixture, even when the switch is located in the circuit beyond it.
- Turn off the circuit you're working on by switching off a circuit breaker or by
unscrewing a fuse (the house main switch should be off when handling fuses). Then padlock
the panel if you can.
- Make sure the circuit is truly "dead" before touching any wires or
terminals. Check with a high-voltage neon tester. Test from the black wires to a grounded
metal box or other good ground, then to the white wires. Also test from the white wires to
a ground. Since there may be more than one circuit inside an outlet box, before you take
off a cover, see that all of its circuits are off. Also, be sure your tester is
functioning by first trying it in a live receptacle.
- Test your finished work with the power on using the neon tester. Check black to white
and black to a ground. It should light. Test white to ground. It should not light.
- If you aren't knowledgeable about working around electricity, call in a professional.
TOOL AND MATERIAL CHECKLIST
|Patented Support Unit
||4" x 1 1/2" Octagon Electrical Box
||Cable, Switch/Outlet Box, Switch, Box Connectors,
Wirenuts, Switch Cover, Bonding Screw, Staples
||Neon Test Light
||No. 2 Phillips Screwdriver
||3/16" Slotted Screwdriver
||Wallboard or Compass Saw
Check your state and local codes before starting any project.
Follow all safety precautions. Information in this on-line brochure has been furnished by
the National Retail Hardware Association. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy
and safety. Neither the NRHA nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or
injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.