Although it is generally unwise for homeowners to tinker with home electrical systems, installing a ceiling fan in place of an existing ceiling light fixture is one electrical job a competent do-it-yourselfer can reasonably tackle.
Step 1: Turn off Power
The first step of any electrical project is to turn off the electrical supply to the existing lighting fixture. This must be done at the main circuit breaker box. Ensure that the power supply is disconnected by trying the switch that operates the light fixture. If you are unsure of how to do this, call an electrician to help.
Because it involves electrical work, make sure you have some experience with wiring. If you're not comfortable handling the job, hire a licensed professional. (Photo courtesy of Clint Swigart)
Step 2: Disconnect existing light fixture
Remove any add-ons to the fixture such as glass globes, hoods and bulbs before the actual removal of the fixture begins. This will make the fixture easier to handle during this process and decrease the likelihood of injuries or other hazards. Begin by unscrewing any hardware that connects the fixture to the ceiling. Disconnect wiring, but make note of how the electrical wires are connected to the fixture. Some people use masking tape to label the wires.
Step 3: Assemble the ceiling fan
The manufacturer’s instructions should be included with the new assembly. These instructions should contain a list of hardware and components included in the kit. Use this list to perform an inventory to ensure that all required pieces are available.
Ceiling fan assembly guide
- Turn motor over so it is facing you.
- Each fan should have three motor wires. Unbundle these wires so they are easy to access.
- Place all three wires through the hanger ball or down rod assembly for the model. Set the down rod assembly into the top coupling of the motor.
- Locate the square head set screw, which is located on the top motor coupling of the fan. Loosen this screw so the down rod and ball assembly can be connected.
- Once the down rod and ball assembly are in place, the square head set screw can be tightened. Improper placement of the down rod and ball assembly can cause wobbling of the fan to occur when in use.
- Connect the blades to the brackets. For models that have reversible options, make sure that the brackets are connected to the side that is desired. Do not connect the blades to the ceiling fan at this point as it is easier to hang the fan without them.
Step 4: Hang ceiling fan
To hang the ceiling fan, it’s important to make sure that the mounting bracket for the outlet box is attached securely. This can be done by using the two screws that are supplied with the outlet box. It’s recommended that the outlet box be able to hold 75 pounds of pressure in a secure manner before installing the ceiling fan. Pull the three electrical wires through the center hole of the base plate. Once this is completed you can lift the fan and place the hanger ball or down rod assembly on the hanger bracket that attaches to the outlet box. Ensure that the groove located in the ball lines up with the mounting bracket tab.
Step 5: Wire ceiling fan
Homeowners that don’t feel comfortable with wiring electrical devices should contact a licensed electrician. Here is a proper guide to the wire connection process.
- Ensure that power is off to the outlet.
- Locate the green grounding wire for the fan and the green grounding wire that is located at the mounting bracket. Connect these two wires with the grounding conductor supply. This may be either a bare wire or a wire that has a green colored insulation surrounding it. Use a wire connector to secure them.
- Connect the white wire located on the fan motor with the white or neutral wire on the mounting bracket. Use a wire connector to secure them.
- Connect the black wire on the fan motor with the blue wire at the mounting bracket. These are the hot wires. Use a wire connector to secure them.
- Once all connections have been completed, the leads should be turned in an upward manner and pushed into the outlet box. The green and white lead wires should be positioned on one side of the outlet box while the black and blue lead wires should be placed on the opposite side.
Step 6: Install canopy
The canopy is the part of the fan that mounts to the ceiling and secures the electrical wires in place. It is important to ensure that the canopy sits flush against the ceiling and is properly lined up with the screw holes in the mounting bracket. Once completed, the canopy can be screwed into place. Make sure all screws are tight and secure.
Step 7: Attach blades and accessories
The blades for the fan can now be positioned into place and secured to the fan with the brackets. Extra accessories such as lights, globes, pulls and other decorative features can be added.
Step 8: Turn power back on