How to Install a Ceiling Fan

After moving into a home that was previously owned, I wanted to change many things. One thing in particular when you walk into the great room is the sight of a horrific out of date ceiling fan. First of all, the fan installed in the great room was ugly, but when tested, I also found that it was non-working. From the home inspection, it was determined that the problem with the fan happened to be that the bearings were going bad. This revelation gave me the perfect opportunity and a reason to purchase a new fan and install it.
The first step is to go to a local hardware store. Once there, you will have many choices of fans. Personal preference is important in selecting what you like and what will look nice in your home. Go with an idea of what you expect it to look like when it is placed in your home.

The next, important detail in fan selection is to be sure that the fan will install properly in the area where your old fan is hanging, or if you don’t have an old fan, be sure it will fit where your light fixture is currently installed. You must look on the box to see how the base of the fan is made and how long the shaft that comes in the box is. If it is the proper length, then you are fine. If the shaft is not the length you need, you can purchase one of a different lengh separately. They are sold within the lighting department. Normally, your fan will include two lenghts of shaft, one short and one about 12 inches long. This is to provide for proper installation in a varity of areas. As for the base, it is also important to see if the base is what you need. If you plan on hanging the fan from an angled ceiling, be sure that the base you are provided within the box will adjust. If not, the bases for slanted ceilings are also sold in the lighting department.

Next, you will need to decide on the fan you want for your budget. Ceiling fans range from $30 something and up in price. If you purchase one of the fans in the range of $100.00 or so, you will normally be provided with a nice lighting fixture. Most fans come with some light fixture but the lower the price, the less likely you will get a nice one. However, the lighting department sells those too.

Now that you have chosen your ceiling fan, it is time to take it out of the box. You should have a packing list in the box. Be sure to check the contents with the packing list so that you can be sure that you have all the parts you are supposed to have. Doing an inventory of the parts, you will also get an idea of the parts you will use at each stage of the installation.
Before you begin taking down the old fan or fixture, go to your breaker box and turn off the breaker to this part of the house. You can be sure you have the correct breaker by first turning on the old light fixture or fan. When you begin flipping breakers, you will know you have the correct one turned off because your old fixture will be off.

Now that you have the power off to this area, it is time to remove the old fan or fixture. You will need both a flat screwdriver and a Phillips head screw driver (the one that looks like an “x” on the end). The packing list and instructions will also tell you if you need any other tools. Usually, a screw driver is enough.
You will need to take down the old fixture. Take the bulb and the light fixture off the fan first or off of the light if there is no fan. This is a precaution so that you do not have broken glass if you happen to hit it before you are done.

Unscrew the fan from the ceiling. Once the fan is released, it will be heavy. If you have a helper, have them hold the motor and the rest of the fan. If you are removing a light fixture only, you can let it dangle. Once the fan or fixture is taken loose from the ceiling, you will see wires that are spliced together with “wire nuts,” these can be orange, yellow, blue, etc. They are the plastic caps that hold the wires from the fan or the light fixture to the wires coming out of your ceiling. You will need to unscrew each one of these. Remember, when they are unscrewed, the wires will pull apart and the fan or light fixture will be loose. Be careful that you have a grip on the fan or the light fixture. Once you have the old fan or fixture down, you are ready to install the new fan.
First of all, depending on how it is made, you will take the base and screw it into the plate that remains in the ceiling. It will probably be a metal ring or plate in the ceiling that the base of the fan will screw into for stability. Once it is screwed in and you have the wires from the ceiling pulled through the base, you are ready to hang the motor of the fan. Many times, you will ahve a loop that will fit over a hook on the base to help hold the motor in placed as you wire up the new fan. Once you have the fan either hung by that loop, or being held by another person, now it is time to wire up your new fan. You should have 3 wires hanging out of the ceiling, a black one, a white one and a bare, copper wire, sometimes, this wire is also covered in green. The black wire should fit to a black wire on your fan. Take both black wires and twist them together in a clock wise fashion. When the two black wires are twisted together, take a wire nut and twist it clockwise onto the end of the black wires until it is tight and won’t turn any longer. Repeat this for the white wires as well. Also, you will repeat this for the two copper wires (which is your ground wire) or with the one covered in green which is also your “ground wire”. Once you have the wires together , you will push the fan up to the base and connect it with the screws given. Then, if your light fixture is already installed (it is part of the time), you will now need to install the fan blades. If your light fixture is not installed, you should match up the color of the wires as you did in connecting the base of the fan to the fan motor. When you get the fan attached to the ceiling, you now need to attach the fan blades to the fan blade arms sticking out of the fan. Normally, you will have three screws for each blade. Take them one at a time and be sure not to turn the blades too much while installing as you do not know which direction your fan will be turning when it is ready to use. Once you have installed all of your fan blades, you can now put in the bulbs and put on the globe.

Once you have the entire fan together (follow all instructions in the instruction booklet in case your fan is different than the one I have described), go back to the breaker box and flip the switch. Turn on your light switch and you should have a working fan to enjoy.

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