How to Install Ceiling Fans

Whether your ceiling fan is broken or just out of style, improve lighting and ventilation in any room with this weekend project.

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Solve two problems with one great solution: Improve lighting and ventilation by replacing an existing light fixture with a ceiling fan. Although a ceiling fan is a complex fixture with lots of parts, each step of installation is fairly simple. The most challenging task is assembling the parts in the right order.

Here, we'll present the basic steps involved in the project. For more specific instructions, be sure to read the directions packaged with your fan.

Editor's Tip: To keep your family comfortable and energy costs low, set your fan to spin counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. We all know how fans cool off rooms in the summer, but the clockwise motion in the winter makes cool air rise and redistributes warm air. 

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What You Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Strippers
  • Voltage tester
  • Lineman's pliers
  • Nonconducting ladder
  • Ceiling fan
  • Screws
  • Wire nuts
  • Electrician's tape

Step 1: Shut off Power and Secure Mounting Bracket

Turn on the existing light fixture, then shut off power to the fixture. For extra safety, place a piece of tape over the circuit breaker or fuse to warn others that you're working. Test that there is no power in the box. Secure the fan's mounting bracket to the ceiling fixture box with screws. If rubber washers are provided, be sure to install them between the bracket and the box.

Step 2: Attach Downrod

Slide the downrod through the canopy, slip on the yoke cover, and pull the wires through. Attach the downrod to the motor housing with the hanger pin and retaining clip.

Step 3: Attach the New Plate

Carefully lift the assembled fan and hook the ball-like end of the downrod into the mounting bracket. Avoid having wires getting caught between the brackets and the end of the downrod. This ball-and-socket arrangement lets the fan unit swing slightly. Then wire the fan. The black lead controls the motor and the blue or striped lead controls the light. If you have two-wire cable, splice both to the black house wire. Splice the white lead to white wire and connect the grounds.

Step 4: Secure Canopy

Fold the wires into the box. Push the canopy against the ceiling and secure it to the mounting bracket with the provided setscrews.

Step 5: Screw on Fan Brackets

Screw a fan bracket onto each fan blade. Attach each fan bracket to the underside of the motor. Make sure all the screws are tight.

Step 6: Wire the Light Kit

Remove the plate on the bottom of the fan and wire the light kit. The model shown here uses plug-together connectors. Some fans require that wires be spliced.

Step 7: Tuck and Tighten Light Kit

Tuck the wires into the housing and push the light kit onto the fan. Tighten the screws to secure it.

Step 8: Install Lightbulb and Globe

Install the lightbulb(s) and globe. Check manufacturer's instructions for exact directions. 

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