Notes on Installing Ceiling Fans

It seemed daunting to install a ceiling fan myself but it didn’t turn out to be too challenging. It was also a rewarding exercise since it could cost upward of $100 per fan based on one quote and a label in the store. However, there were some false starts so I am saving the lessons here. These are notes to myself and may not be deemed as an advice for any purpose, whatsoever.

  1. I started with a web search on “how to install a ceiling fan” and talked to some folks who had done this before.
  2. A 44″ fan should probably serve only big closets, assuming someone bothered to install a fan there. It works just OK in a 12’x10′ room. A 50″ fan feels the right size in such a room.
  3. Flush mount (or close mount – without a downrod) installation is the way to go for 8′ high ceiling. Some fans don’t offer this option, so remember that when buying one.
  4. Many fans use candelabra base for lighting fixture. Though there are fluorescent lamps available for this base, my regular spare ones won’t fit.
  5. I did buy braces and boxes for ceiling mount though I ended up not needing them.
  6. When starting work, always turn the power off first and verify. I got this right but I couldn’t go wrong with this reminder.
  7. An appropriate ladder is handy.
  8. Remember to remove the downrod support from mounting brackets when doing a flush installation.
  9. I had a good/strong outlet box on a brace already in place in the ceiling and I was replacing a light fixture which was installed with only one screw. So I had to find another matching screw for installing the bracket.
  10. Remember to use washers on screws when attaching the mounting bracket to the outlet box.
  11. The brackets with a J hook to hang the fan assembly make muscular arms/shoulders an optional trait for wiring skills.
  12. The canopy ring or cover is one of the first things to be used in assembly. The first time I missed it and had to redo the assembly. I was lucky on the other fan where I had the canopy cover oriented with the right side up when I checked.
  13. That black unused wire in the outlet box was for the other switch which appeared to be a decorative item before. Use it for separate control of fan and light.
  14. I bought three different models, and the Hunter Five Minute fan turned out to be best looking/performing and easiest to install.
  15. With a downrod installation ensure that the ball clicks into the wedge on the bracket intended to keep it in place.
  16. The downrod installation I did had a slight oscillation on the rod (like a pendulum), though not to a disconcerting degree.
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2 thoughts on “Notes on Installing Ceiling Fans

  1. You mentioned: ” I did buy braces and boxes for ceiling mount though I ended up not needing them.I had a good/strong outlet box on a brace already in place in the ceiling…”

    here is something we have to be careful of. Just because a box may be good/strong or made of metal it may not be approved for installing a ceiling fan. The reason is that the fan needs to be secured to the wood stud (or rear of the box) and not simply to threaded hole.

    The only way to tell for sure is to check to see if the box is stamped “approved for ceiling fan use”

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