1. Turn the power off

This is by far the most important step for this project. To stay safe when working with the electrical wires, turn off the power to the ceiling fan.

Turn the switch on and off, and use a voltage tester to confirm that there’s zero power running to the ceiling fan before you proceed.

Video

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

1. Remove the Existing Light Fixture

  • Make sure electricity to circuit is turned off and carefully remove the glass shade or globe from the old light fixture.
  • Unscrew the retaining nut or screws that hold the fixture to the ceiling.
  • Lower the fixture and disconnect the wires by twisting off the plastic connectors from the ends of the wires.

2. Remove Box and Cut New Hole

  • Remove the old electrical box from the ceiling. If it’s nailed to a joist, pry it free with a flat bar. If it’s suspended from a bar, you may have to take off a metal plate to unscrew the box; then pry the bar from the joists.
  • Hold a 1/2-inch-thick pancake box against the ceiling, centered on a joist, and trace around it with a pencil.
  • Cut along the line with a drywall saw.

Tip: Hold a vacuum cleaner wand next to the saw to catch the dust.

3. Attach New Electrical Box

  • Feed the electrical cable coming from the ceiling through the knockout hole in the pancake box. (Be sure there’s a cable connector attached to the knockout hole.)
  • Set the box into the hole cut through the ceiling and press it tight against the underside of the joist.
  • Attach the box to the joist with the two 1 1/2-inch No. 10 hex-head screws provided. Drive in the screws with a drill/driver equipped with a 5/16-inch nut-driver tip.
  • Wrap the cable’s bare copper wire around the grounding screw inside the box. Allow the wire end to hang down.

4. Glue on the Ceiling Medallion

  • Apply a small bead of urethane-based adhesive to the back of the ceiling medallion.
  • Pass the wires through the medallion (above).
  • Center the medallion on the pancake box and press. Fasten it with four 6d finishing nails driven into the joist.
  • Set the nailheads and fill with caulk or spackle.

5. Mount the Ceiling Plate

  • Hold the fan’s metal ceiling plate up to the pancake box and pull the wires through its center hole.
  • Attach the ceiling plate to the box with two 1 1/2-inch-long 10-32 machine screws.

Tip: If you’re going to paint the medallion, do it before installing the ceiling plate.

6. Assemble the Fan Components

  • With the fan on the floor, feed the wires coming from the motor through the center of the canopy. Set the canopy on top of the motor.
  • Next, pass the wires through the hollow down-rod pipe.
  • Thread the down-rod pipe into the top of the motor. Use a wrench to tighten the square-head locking screw on the side of the pipe.

Tip: The pipe’s threads have a factory-applied coating. Don’t remove this coating; it keeps the pipe from unscrewing.

7. Make the Wire Connections

  • Hook one side of the canopy onto the ceiling plate.
  • Using twist-on wire connectors, join the two green wires to the bare copper wire coming from the cable. (If your room is wired differently from the one shown here, consult a licensed electrician.)
  • Join the two white wires.
  • Then connect the two black wires.
  • Swing the fan up into position against the medallion and secure it with the two canopy screws.

8. Attach the Blades and Lights

  • Attach each fan blade to a blade iron (the bracket that holds the blade to the fan). Then, fasten the blade irons to the motor with the screws provided.
  • Plug the fan’s light-fixture housing into the wire hanging from the underside of the fan’s motor.
  • Install the shades and lightbulbs.
  • Screw the plastic holder for the remote control to the wall beside the wall switch.

3. Install the ceiling bracket

Now it’s time to install pieces of the new fan. First up is the ceiling bracket. Use the screws that come with the new fan, and secure it into the holes on the electrical box.

Bring the wires from the ceiling through the center hole. In our case, that was one white wire and one yellow wire (plus the green one on the ceiling bracket).

How Do I Cut the Power to My Ceiling Fan?

For safety reasons, you’ll want to go beyond just turning off the switch or knob on the wall. Be sure you cut the power to the circuit that serves your ceiling fan. This means turning the power off to the circuit at the breaker box. If your breaker box is appropriately labeled, you should be able to find the correct breaker quickly.

However, to be sure you’ve cut the power to the ceiling fan, follow a few steps:

1. From the controls on the wall or the remote, turn the fan or lights on.

2. At the breaker box, turn the appropriate breaker off. If you don’t know which it is, start turning smaller breakers off one at a time as you check to see if the ceiling fan is still on.

3. Once the ceiling fan turns off from the breaker, you have effectively cut the power to the circuit.

4.  Separate connected ceiling fan wiring

With downrod fans, you’ll need to remove the canopy first. Then you can begin removing the wire nuts and disconnecting the fan wires from the house wires. If your ceiling fan has a remote receiver wired in the canopy, be sure to remove the wire nuts and disconnect the remote receiver wires from the fan and ceiling. 

Once you remove the light and blades from your low-profile fans, you can remove the canopy to begin disconnecting the wires from the fan, ceiling, and any remote receiver. Low profile ceiling fans often attach to the mounting bracket from a hinge on one side that you can rest the fan, making it easier for you to use both hands for unwiring the ceiling fan.

NOTE: If you are uncomfortable with the wiring portion of removing a ceiling fan, consult with a certified, professional electrician.

Project details

Skill

1 out of 5 Easy Somewhat easy. It takes a bit of work to install a fan-approved electrical box, but the ceiling-fan assembly and installation are very straightforward.

Cost

$50 to over $350, depending on size and features of the ceiling fan

Removing the Ceiling Bracket

Ceiling fan brackets are typically mounted to the junction boxes that house the wires for the unit. These brackets are usually held in place by a few Phillips-head screws that can be removed with your screwdriver.

At this point, you are ready to move forward with the replacement of a new ceiling fan or installing a light fixture. If you plan on selling the used fan, be sure to keep all the hardware together.

HomeServe is here to bring peace of mind to homeowners. Being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. With a plan in place, you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.

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