Install a ceiling fan, but beware cloth wiring in Chicago

Install a ceiling fan, but beware cloth wiring in Chicago

What kind of licensing should homeowners look for in a ceiling fan installer?

Southard: It depends on where you're doing the work and how big the job is. If you're going to be running new lines, you'll need a licensed electrician.

Heskin: In Chicago, you'll want a city home repair license and an electrician's license.

Sparrow: You'll want a licensed electrician. Make sure they're bonded and insured.

What kind of electrical wiring is required for ceiling fans?

Southard: Builders will often have the line run to the ceiling and ready to go, and in that case, it's no more difficult than changing a light fixture.

Heskin: You have to verify if the existing backbox is secure and rated for a ceiling fan. The older, shallow pancake boxes aren't made to accommodate a ceiling fan.

Sparrow: A lot of Chicago homes have old cloth wiring, which is not safe and needs to be replaced. A ceiling fan can be easy or complicated, depending on what wiring is already there.

What should I keep in mind when purchasing a fan?

Southard: Pay attention to how far down it goes, especially in a room with an 8-foot ceiling.

Heskin: Talk to the salesman and make sure it's going to be appropriate for the room size.

Sparrow: You get what you pay for with ceiling fans. The cheap ones might last only a year or two.

How does a fan's rotation affect my home?

Southard: You can reverse the direction in summer to pull warm air to the ceiling, but you won't get a breeze. So it's a trade-off.

Heskin: With proper use of a ceiling fan, the industry norm is a 15 to 17 percent reduction in heating and cooling costs.

Sparrow: Some fans have a heating element you can use to push heat down into the room during cold times.

How do you charge for installation?

Southard: You're mostly paying for labor, and whatever the fan costs.

Heskin: There's no set number because the variables are so numerous. We look at the situation and quote a price before starting work.

Sparrow: If the wiring is already in place, installing a new fan takes about an hour. It'll be two or three hours if we have to run wires.

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