How to Put in Your Own Ceiling Fan

Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan can do a lot to make your home more comfortable during the warm summer months and even during the winter, due to the way fans circulate air. In the summer, fan blades can be set to turn counterclockwise, which creates a cooling breeze in your home. In the winter, fan blades can be set to spin in the other direction, which forces warm air down from the ceiling and closer to the floor, where you can feel it. 

Installing a new ceiling fan in your home isn’t hard, especially if you already have the wiring in place to service a fixture that you want to replace with a fan. Follow these steps to add a new ceiling fan to your home.

Turn Off the Power to the Room Where You’ll Hang the New Fan

Never work on any of your home’s wiring or electrical fixtures without first shutting off the power to the circuit you’ll be working on. You can turn off power to the circuit at the breaker box. Double-check that you’ve got the right circuit – try turning the lights on in the room where you’ll be working. If they don’t come on, you’re ready to begin.

Take Down the Old Fan or Light Fixture

If you don’t already have an electrical fixture in the spot where you want to hang the fan, you should consult an electrician to get wiring run to the location. Otherwise, simply remove the old fixture and set it aside. 

Add a Fan-Rated Electrical Box, If Needed

If you’re replacing a light fixture with a fan, you need to make sure you have a fan-rated electrical junction box in your ceiling. A light-rated junction box won’t be robust enough to support the weight of a modern ceiling fan. Remove the old electrical box from the joist and attach a fan-rated, pancake electrical box to the joist with 1 ½-inch screws.

If you can’t attach your new electrical junction box directly to the joist – usually because the joist doesn’t run directly over the ceiling hole – you will need to install a fan brace in your ceiling. You can buy expanding metal fan braces that you can insert through the ceiling hole and expand from below. These braces have sharp protrusions on either end that dig into the joists to anchor the brace. These braces often come with a fan-rated electrical junction box already attached.

Alternatively, if you can access your ceiling from above, you can screw a piece of two-by-four lumber into place between the joists so that it runs above your ceiling hole. Then you can screw the electrical box to the two-by-four.

Install the Mounting Plate and Downrod

Once the fan brace and electrical box have been installed, you can start installing the fan itself. use the screws provided to fasten the mounting plate to the electrical box. Make sure to wrap the green or bare ground wire running from your ceiling around the green ground screw on the electrical box, and then pull all three wires (black, white, and green or bare) down through the electrical box and mounting plate. Pull them through the downrod before attaching the downrod to the mounting plate using the instructions that came with your fan.

Connect the Fan Motor

Before you get up on the ladder with your fan motor, check your fan’s installation instructions to make sure there’s no motor assembly you need to do on the floor. Once you are up on the ladder, you should be able to hang your fan motor from a hook on the mounting plate, leaving your hands free to connect the wiring.

Connect the wiring by twisting the bare copper ends together, then add a wire nut to secure the connections. Connect the wires from your ceiling to the same color wires in your fan motor – black connects to black, white to white, and green or bare to green or bare. Once you’ve connected the wiring, you can swing the fan motor up into place and fasten it to the mounting plate as described in your fan’s installation instructions.

Add the Blades and Light Fixture

Now it’s time to put on the finishing touches. Screw the metal blade brackets onto your fan blades and then screw the fan blades onto the motor housing. Connect the wiring for the light fixture, if your new fan has one – there will either be a plug that you can plug into the motor housing, or you will need to connect the light fixture wiring just like you connected the fan motor wiring. Put on the bulb covers, add light bulbs, and voila – you have a new ceiling fan!