Do you need to replace an old ceiling fan? Do you wish you had a ceiling fan in a room that only has a light fixture?
It’s actually pretty easy to swap out an existing fixture for a new ceiling fan. You don’t need a man’s help. Follow these steps to install your own ceiling fan.
Shut the Power Off
First things first – find your breaker box and shut off power to the circuit you’ll be working on. Not sure which breaker controls which circuit? They should be labeled, but if they aren’t, you’ll need to map your breakers. Test the voltage in one of the outlets in the room where you’ll be working to make sure that you have shut off the right breaker.
Take Down the Old Fixture
If you’re replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, it should be pretty easy to take down the light fixture. Take off the bulb shade and remove the screws that attach the fixture to the ceiling. Then pull it down carefully and undo the wiring connections in the junction box. Set the light fixture aside.
If you’re replacing an old ceiling fan with a new ceiling fan, you should take the old fan down in pieces – it will be easier to handle that way. Take the bulb shades off, remove the light bulbs, and then remove the fan blades. This should leave just the motor and light assembly. You can take this down by removing the screws that hold the fan canopy at the top of the downrod to the mounting bracket on the ceiling. Then you can disconnect the wiring connections in the junction box and remove the downrod from the ceiling bracket. Take down the ceiling bracket.
Put a Fan Brace in the Ceiling
If you’re replacing an existing fan, you can probably skip this step, as there is probably already a fan brace in your ceiling. But you should look through the ceiling hole to make sure that’s the case.
If the hole in your ceiling is positioned directly below a ceiling joist, you can just hang your ceiling fan from the joist. If there’s no joist in the right place, install a fan brace. You can buy an expanding metal fan brace capable of supporting both indoor and outdoor ceiling fans. You’ll just put it through the hole in your ceiling and expand it so that the built-in spikes on either end bite into the joists on either side, firmly anchoring the brace in position.
Swap Out the Electrical Junction Box
Again, you probably don’t need to do this if you’re replacing an existing ceiling fan. But make sure the electrical junction box in your ceiling is rated for use with fans. If it isn’t, take it out and replace it with a fan-rated electrical box. Secure it directly to the fan brace or joist. The box will ultimately support the weight of your fan.
Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions to Put the Fan Motor Together
Most fans are assembled the same way. If you have a fan model with a downrod, you’ll attach the downrod to the motor housing using the pins provided, then fish the wires up through the downrod so they can be connected to the wiring in the ceiling. If it’s a flush-mount fan, the canopy will attach directly to the motor housing. Install the ceiling bracket by attaching it to the junction box in your ceiling.
Hook Up the Fan Motor
Now it’s time to bring your fan motor up to the ceiling and connect the wiring. Most ceiling fan brackets enable you to hang the motor from the bracket while you connect the wiring. You should have three wires coming out of your ceiling: a black one, a white one, and a green or bare one. The black one is hot, the white one is neutral, and the green or bare one is the ground. These wires should match up with the black, white, and green or bare wires coming out of your fan motor. Connect the bare ends of the wires by wrapping them around each other. Add wire nuts to ensure the connections remain strong.
Once your wiring is connected, you can secure the fan motor to the ceiling bracket. There may be a ball and socket connection for fans with downrods, or you may attach the fan motor housing to the bracket with screws.
Put on the Lights and Fan Blades
Now you’re almost done. If your fan has a light fixture, wire it up the same way you wired the fan motor – match the wires coming out of the fan with the ones in the light fixture according to color. Screw the light fixture into position and add the light shades before adding bulbs.
When it’s time to attach the fan blades, you will first need to affix the blade brackets or blade irons to the blades. Then you can attach the blades to the motor housing via the brackets. Make sure all the blades are the same distance from the floor. Now you’re ready to try out your new fan!