When you’re trying to raise a family, money can get tight sometimes. But putting in a ceiling fan can help you save on cooling costs, because it allows you to turn the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter, and still stay comfortable.
You don’t need to spend money to pay someone to install a ceiling fan, either. As long as you already have a light fixture in the spot where you want to install the ceiling fan, then it’s a pretty simple do-it-yourself job. Follow these steps to put in your own ceiling fan.
You’ll need to connect your new fan to the wiring in your home. For your own safety, you should make sure to cut the electrical supply to the room where you’ll be working. Go to your breaker box and turn off the circuit to which you’ll be connecting the fan. Go to the room where you’ll be installing the fan and verify that the electrical supply really is off. Flip the light switch in the room or use a voltage tester in one of the outlets.
With the power safely off, you can get to work. Climb up on a ladder and remove the old light fixture from the ceiling. Do this by removing the light shade or globe and unscrewing the screws in the fixture that hold the fixture in place. Then you can carefully pull the fixture down from the ceiling. Don’t pull too hard, because it will still be connected to the wiring in the ceiling. Remove the wire nuts, untwist the wiring connections, and set the light fixture aside. You can use it somewhere else in your home or donate it.
A ceiling fan is considerably heavier than a light fixture, so you need to make sure you have the proper support installed in your ceiling.
You’re going to need to either attach your new fan directly to a ceiling joist, or to a fan brace anchored securely between the joists. If your old light fixture was right next to a joist but not actually centered over the joist, you may want to consider simply moving your fan over a few inches so you can secure it to the joist. You can cut a new access hole below the joist, pull the wiring through that hole, and use a ceiling medallion above your fan to cover the old hole.
If you want to insert a fan brace between the joists, you can do so either by accessing the joists from above or inserting an expanding metal fan brace from below. If you can get to the joists from above, cut a length of two-by-four lumber to fit between the joists and use 1.5-inch screws to hold it in place. You can anchor your fan directly to this wooden brace. If you can’t get to the joists from above, insert a metal fan brace through the hole and expand it until the spikes on either end bite firmly into the joists.
Your new modern ceiling fan will also need to be suspended from a fan-rated electrical box. Purchase a fan-rated box and attach it to the fan brace, making sure to pull the wiring through into the box. Wrap the green or bare ground wire around the ground screw in the electrical box, but leave the end loose so you can connect it to the ground wire in the fan.
You will need to assemble your fan motor on the floor, using the instructions that come with the fan. Generally, this will involve attaching the downrod to the fan using a cotter and clevis pin. You will need to run the wires from the fan through the downrod so they come out at the top. Attach the fan mounting bracket to the electrical box in the ceiling.
Now you can wire up the fan motor. Any modern ceiling fan you buy should have a hook on the mounting plate, so you can hang the fan motor from the mounting plate while you connect the wiring. The black wire inside the fan motor should connect to the black wire from your ceiling, the white wire to the white wire, and the green or bare ground wire to the green or bare ground wire. Connect the wires by twisting the bare ends together and covering them with wire nuts. Once you have the wiring connected, move the fan motor into position, fasten it to the ceiling bracket, and secure the fan canopy that hides the ceiling bracket.
With the fan motor in place, all that’s left is to connect the lights and blades, and maybe mount a wireless wall control on the wall. You might need to wire up the fan lights just as you wired up the fan motor, but on some fans, the lights have a plug to plug into the fan motor rather than raw wiring to connect.
Screw the blade irons onto the blades and connect each blade to the fan motor. Make sure all the blades are equidistant to the floor. Turn the power back on and enjoy a cooling breeze from your new fan.
Check out my other home reviews.