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Installing A Ceiling Fan For A Cooler Home Experience

by Beverly Barnes

One way to keep your home cooler in warm weather is by using as ceiling fan to keep the air in the room circulating. Ceiling fan kits come with most of the components you need to install them yourself. If you're uncomfortable working with your home's electricity, have a licensed electrician do the work for you. But if you're a DIY homeowner, grab a few tools and put up a ceiling fan in a couple of hours with the following steps.

Supplies You'll Need for This Project

  • slip-joint pliers
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • needle-nose pliers
  • crescent wrench
  • wire cutters/strippers
  • wire nuts
  • ladder

From the home improvement store:

  • ceiling fan
  • light kit (optional)
  • ceiling fan mounting kit and fan brace (optional)

Note on hanging the fan:

Ceiling fans are heavy and need to be hung from a ceiling rafter. If you're replacing a light-weight ceiling light that is simply hanging from the drywall, you need the ceiling fan mounting kit to secure the fan from your ceiling rafters.

Installation Steps

  1. Turn off the power to the ceiling light fixture at the circuit breaker box for your house.
  2. Remove the cover of the ceiling light fixture.
  3. Remove the screws holding the ceiling light to the electrical box and lower the light.
  4. Clip the wires connected to the light as close to the fixture as possible and remove the fixture.
  5. If the electrical box is anchored to a rafter, continue with the ceiling fan installation. If not, install the fan bracket and junction box as follows.  
    1. Push the fan brace up through the ceiling hole and position it so the arms point to the two adjacent ceiling rafters.
    2. Rotate the center of the brace to extend the arms into the wood rafters.
    3. Continue until the brace is securely imbedded into the wood rafters.
    4. Attach the U-bolt bracket to the brace.
    5. Attach the junction box to the bracket.
    6. Feed the electrical wires through the junction box.
    7. You're now ready to hang the ceiling fan.  
  6. Attach the ceiling fan mounting bracket to the junction box with the long screws provided.
  7. Run the wires coming out of the ceiling down through the mounting bracket.
  8. Carefully lift the ceiling fan and set the downrod into the mounting bracket.
  9. Secure the downrod into the bracket with the mounting plate and screws.
  10. Strip a half inch of insulation from all of the wires.
  11. Twist the bare ends of the green wires together. Secure the ends with a wire nut.
  12. Repeat with the two white wires and two black wires.  
    1. If you purchased a light kit, connect the white and black wires for the light to the other white and black wires and use the wire nut to secure them.
    2. Secure the light kit to the bottom of the fan with the screws provided.  
  13. Push the wires up into the junction box.
  14. Secure the base of the fan to the mounting bracket with the screws or clips provided.
  15. Attach the blades to the fan with the screws provided.
  16. Screw light bulbs into the light kit (if purchased).
  17. Turn the power on to the fan at the circuit breaker box and test your work.

Problems You May Encounter

You will want to contract an electrician to do this job if you run into any of these problems:

  • You can't get the fan bracket to anchor into the ceiling rafters.
  • There are more than three wires coming out of the ceiling (they may go to multiple wall switches).
  • There are less than three wires coming out of the ceiling (you may be missing a ground wire).
  • The wire colors are not as noted in these instructions. 

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