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Whatever your reason for installing a ceiling fan, you will find it to be a relatively easy project. Usually you will be replacing a light fixture in the middle of a room. This means all the wiring will already be in place. Most likely your biggest obstacle will be a new workbox that is approved for the weight of an overhead fan or adding support to an existing workbox. A workbox that is not approved for ceiling fan weight can lead to a wobbly fan or even worse…

The following instructions cover general installations when replacing an existing light. It will give you an idea of what is required for the project. Make sure you review and follow instructions that are specific to the fan you purchase. Depending on your installation requirements, you may need to purchase a longer "down rod" for cathedral ceilings or purchase an optional lighting kit if it is not included.



Skill Level & Time to Complete

  • Beginner - 4 to 5 hours 
  • Intermediate - 3 to 4 hours
  • Advanced - 2 to 3 hours
  - Make sure you turn off the circuit you will be working on. Locate the breaker or fuse and properly disable it.
  - Do not use a plastic workbox. Make sure you use a metal workbox and that it is securely anchored to wood framing.
  - Make sure you purchase a fan that is right for your room. A 36" diameter fan will work for smaller rooms; 42" for medium-size rooms and 52" for larger rooms.


Materials List
   2" x 4" pieces
   Expandable cross brace
   Wire nuts
   Outlet box
   Ceiling fan kit
Tools List
   Needle-nose pliers
   Adjustable wrench
   Wire cutters
   Flathead screwdriver
   Phillips screwdriver
   Screw gun


1. Turn off the circuit by switching off the breaker or removing the fuse. Remove the existing ceiling fixture.
2. You need to determine if your existing workbox will provide enough support. If you have access to the workbox from your attic, check to see if the workbox has metal cross braces that span between two joists. If not, you can cut a 2"x4" to fit in between the joists. Install it so it touches the top of the workbox. Use screws and a screw gun to anchor the wood in place. From the room, use 1" drywall screws to anchor the box to the wood brace.
3. If you do not have access from the attic, you can install a metal cross brace through the rough opening in your ceiling and then attach an approved workbox to the metal brace.
4. Assemble the ceiling fan according to the manufacturer's provided instructions. When you are ready to hang the fan, take the mounting bracket and install it to the ceiling workbox. Some fans come with a hanging frame that allows you to hook the ball end of the down rod in place. Others come with a bracket that provides a "J" hook that allows you to hang the motor housing while hooking up the wiring.
5. If you removed a light fixture from the ceiling, most likely the existing wiring will provide one switched circuit to your new ceiling fan. This means the wall switch will function as the master switch to turn the unit off and on. The pull chain on the fan will also control the fan (and its speed). If you install an optional light kit on the fan, both the wall switch and a pull chain will also control it.


6. Following the wiring diagram provided with the fan, hook up the wires using wire nuts. Most likely this is as simple as connecting the 2 black wires; connecting the 2 white wires and connecting the 2 ground wires.
7. Once the fan is wired, finish its assembly according to the specific manufacturer's instructions. You will need to install the canopy to the top of the rod.
8. You will also need to attach the fan blades. If you are installing a light kit, remove the cover on the bottom of the fan where the light kit will be mounted. Following the manufacturer's instructions, assemble and install the light kit.

You are now ready to turn the breaker back on and test your work. If the fan does not work at all, most likely you have a loose wire connection. If the fan wobbles, check the fan's instructions for balancing the fan blades.

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