Are you looking for a way to keep your home comfortable year-round without spending a fortune on heating and cooling costs? You need a ceiling fan!
A ceiling fan doesn’t actually make your home cooler or warmer – but it can make it feel that way by circulating air. In the summer, ceiling fans create a cooling breeze that can make your home feel up to four degrees cooler. In the winter, you can change the direction of the fan blades so that the fan pushes warm air down from the ceiling and makes you feel cozier.
You don’t even need to hire an electrician to install a ceiling fan. As long as you have a working light fixture in the spot where you want to put the fan, then you can easily swap it for a fan yourself. Here’s how.
Turn Off the Power to the Circuit
You should never work on any of your home’s wiring without first shutting off electrical power to that circuit at the breaker box. Double-check that the power is cut off by trying to flip the lights on in the room or sticking a voltage tester into an outlet.
Remove the Old Light Fixture
You can wire your new ceiling fan up to the same wiring that powers a light fixture or old ceiling fan in your room. Remove the light fixture or old fan and set it aside. If you want to keep the light fixture functionality, make sure to install a new ceiling fan with lights.
Install a Fan-Rated Electrical Box
Once you have removed all components of the old fixture, including any mounting plates, you’ll need to make sure there’s a fan-rated pancake electrical junction box in your ceiling, and that it’s anchored into the joists. An electrical box rated for a light fixture alone won’t be sturdy enough to hold up a whole fan, which can weigh 50 pounds or more.
If there happens to be a ceiling joist running right above where you want to put your fan, you can just screw your fan-rated electrical box directly to the joist. If there’s not a joist right where you want to put your fan, though, you have a couple of choices. You could move the fan over a little to anchor it directly to a joist, but that might mean hanging your fan off-center in the room.
Your other option is to install a fan brace between the joists. If you can access the other side of your ceiling from the attic above, you can attach a length of two-by-four lumber between the joists above your fan hole. Attach them to the joists with a 1 ½-inch screw. If you don’t have access to your ceiling from above, you can use an expanding metal brace, which can be inserted into the fan hole from below.
Attach the Mounting Plate
Now it’s time to open up your fan box and start putting it together. Follow the instructions that come with your fan to attach the mounting plate to the electrical box. Make sure to pull the wires from the ceiling down through the mounting plate.
Place the Downrod
Not all fans come with a downrod, so if yours is flush-mounted, you can ignore this step. For the rest of you, make sure to attach the downrod to the mounting plate using the instructions that came with your fan. Pull the electrical wires down through the downrod. You may need to add some length to the wires if they’re too short.
Wire Up the Fan Motor
Assemble the fan motor on the floor, and then bring it up to the ceiling. Most fan mounting plates will have a hook where you can hang the motor while you’re wiring it up. Connect the black wire from your fan motor to the black wire in your ceiling, the white wire in the fan to the white wire in your ceiling, and the green or bare wire in your fan to the green or bare wire in your ceiling. The green or bare wire is the ground, and you should make sure it’s grounded by wrapping it around the green ground screw in the electrical box before bringing it down through the downrod.
Add the Blades and Connect the Light Fixture
Once you have the fan motor wired up, you can attach the fan motor to the downrod. Attach the blade brackets to the fan blades and then attach the blades to the fan motor housing. The light fixture may be able to be plugged into the motor housing, or it may need to be wired up just like the motor.
Once everything is put together and wired up, you can put on the bulb covers, screw in new light bulbs, and bask in a feeling of accomplishment under the cooling breeze of your new fan.