How to Install a Ceiling Fan
Installing a ceiling fan involves a high degree of preparation and knowledge. It can be a daunting task and you may be more comfortable hiring someone else to do it. But if you feel ambitious and want to try installing your own ceiling fan, here are some tips to doing it right and doing it safely.
1. Know your space before you start. Ceiling fans need to be anchored to electric ceiling junction boxes that are designed to hold heavy things: the wiring and the weight of the fan itself. If you're just replacing an old fan, you probably already have the right junction box, but if you're replacing a simple light fixture with a fan, you need to make sure you have the right junction box first. Also ensure there are no pipes or wires in the way prior to installing. Have your light bulbs ready to install, too, but do not install them before putting in the fan. Ensure you have decided on the most ideal spot to install the fan. (Visit How to Choose the Right Size Light Fixture for more information.)
2. Ceiling fans often come with all the parts you need for installation right inside the package. But, make sure you have everything you need in there before you start. You don't want to get halfway through the process before realizing you need something! Also, read over the instructions before you begin and check your state and local codes to make sure you don't need a special permit for your new fan. Basically, be prepared.
3. Have a helper with you when you install the ceiling fan. That's because fans are heavy and another person can help keep you safe, especially when you're up high on a ladder or ensuring the power is off--something that is absolutely essential before you begin work because you could get shocked.
4. Keep in mind that making sure the power is off does not mean just flipping a switch and waiting a minute. Power to the fan has to be turned off at the electrical panel. Use a voltage tester, available for about $20 at hardware stores, to make sure the power is off before you start. If this is the part that is causing you to rethink your ability to do it yourself, that's perfectly OK. Look up a trustworthy electrician in your area and make use of their services.
5. If you're all set and ready to go, remove the current ceiling fan and take note of how it is wired. Take pictures or write down specific details. These notes will help you install the new fixture.
6. Then, follow the manufacturer's installation instructions to the letter. Don't ever deviate from the instructions because you could put yourself in danger if you do, especially when it comes to wiring. That helper comes in handy when it's time to mount the fan motor, since it needs to be held steady while it is being installed. It is much easier if one person holds it while another installs.
7. When you're done with the installation, make sure to restart the power at the electrical panel. Then, turn on your new ceiling fan and admire a job well done.
Do you like watching videos more than reading instructions? Check out this video from Kichler that details the installation process.
(If you can't see the video above, click here to watch.)
Emma Harger-Young - Lights Online