How to Install a Ceiling Fan (with Pictures)

How to Install a Ceiling Fan (with Pictures)

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Attaching the Fan Blades

The last step in installing a ceiling fan has you attaching the fan blades.

First Attach the Brackets to the Blades

Attach the brackets to each fan blade before you attach the brackets to the ceiling fan. Typically each bracket is attached with 2 or 3 screws and washers. It helps to thread these screws by hand first and then use a manual screwdriver to tighten them all the way.

Recognize that the heads of the screws are on the “top” of the blade—the side you won’t see exposed. Many fan blades are reversible in color, so be sure when the job is completed you have the correct finish pointing “down” from the ceiling.


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.

Supplies Needed

Before installing a ceiling fan, you must shut off the circuit breakers supplying power to any fixtures or outlets you’ll be working with. You should also fully unpack your fan kit and read the included installation guide. Verify that all the parts are included, and gather the other tools you’ll need, which may include:

  • Electric drill
  • Pliers
  • Crescent wrench
  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver
  • Ladder
  • Drywall saw
  • Safety goggles

Wire the fan, fan light and switch

Connect ceiling fan wiring at the fan: Know your ceiling fan wire colors

This is what you need to know about ceiling fan wi

This is what you need to know about ceiling fan wire colors: Connect the bare ground wire from the box to the green ground wire on the bracket with a wire connector. Connect the white neutral wire from the motor to the neutral wire from the box. Connect the blue and black wire from the motor to the black hot wire from the box and neatly fold them into the box.

Knock out the old box and install a fan brace

Shut off the power at the main panel and remove th

Shut off the power at the main panel and remove the light fixture. Knock the existing electrical box free of the framing with a hammer and a block of wood, then pull the electrical cable free of the old box and through the ceiling hole. Leave the old ceiling fan junction box in the ceiling cavity unless you can easily remove it through the hole.

Tip: Before you blast out the box, bend back the plastic clamps or loosen the metal cable clamps so it’ll be easier to pull the electrical cable free after the box is loosened.

Finding the Mounting Position When Installing aCeilingFan

When installing a ceiling fan, you must mount it to a metal junction or outlet box. This must be securely attached to the ceiling joist, either directly or via a secure cross brace. The box and whatever is supporting it must be capable of handling a ceiling fan in motion. There are several choices for this, including solutions for new construction and “old work” (existing installations):

For new construction, you simply attach your choice of fan box to a vertically-positioned 2×4 which braces between two ceiling joists. Conveniently, both thick and thin boxes are available, though you should ensure that all exposed wiring stays within the box and ceiling fan canopy. For existing installations, if you don’t already have an adequate mounting electrical box, you can use an expanding metal ceiling fan hanger bar. Some of these are meant to be inserted from below and expanded once they are positioned between the joists.

Be sure to measure your fan mounting position well if you are doing new construction. There’s nothing worse than mounting a fan and realizing it is off-center after the installation is complete!

Note: For detailed wiring examples and options, please see our article on wiring a ceiling fan, which details several different ways to make the necessary electrical connections in a variety of situations you may encounter.

Install a Ceiling Fan Where No Fixture Exists

If the installation is for a room that has never had a ceiling fan before, then it will need to have a fixture and the required mounting kit installed before the fan can be mounted. You will need to hire an electrician to bring switched 120V power to that location, at the cost of about $170 for the electrician’s time and another $40 for parts. However, costs go up depending on your answers to the following questions:[1]

  1. Where do you want the wall switch?
  2. Where do you want the fixture?
  3. Which way are the joists running in the ceiling in relation to the wall switch and fixture location?
  4. Where can you pick up power?
  5. Is there lath-and-plaster or drywall on the walls and ceiling?

Installing Ceiling Fan Wiring

Installing Ceiling Fan Wiring

Overhead lighting in living rooms is not typical. A switched receptacle is. Depending on how the room is wired, an electrician needs to change the box at the switch location to a two gang and keep the switched receptacle, or he/she may be able to change the receptacle and disconnect the line-in in the switch box. The existing wires are usually a 3-wire feed. Then the single switch/box can be used for the overhead light.

Install Ceiling Fan Mounting Box

With a fan weighing up to 50lbs., you’ll need a strong mount to support it. These are installed by attaching the mounting box to a support brace on the ceiling joists. A handyman will either do this by going through the attic or by ratcheting the brace in place from the room below.

A ceiling fan mount will cost $8 to $15. Your handyman will need to swap out the old light mounting box for a ceiling fan box; otherwise, the motion of the fan could shake the fan loose over time.

Installing Ceiling Fan With Light

If you are installing a replacement ceiling fan, then your contractor will first need to remove the existing fan from its ceiling installation and replace it with the new fan. Even if the original fan didn’t have a light, all the wiring should be in place for one with a light. A handyman can do this for about $75.

Ceiling Fan Electrical Box

It is worth having an electrician check out your circuit panels to make sure your ceiling fan installation won’t place too high of a demand on the breakers you have in place currently. Poor initial electrical wiring, or subsequent non-code compliant repairs or enhancements, can result in zone crossover with light fixtures on the same circuits as outlets.

The resulting load from the combined demand, which should never exceed 80% of the breaker’s capacity, could prove too much for that breaker and require an additional panel or the replacement of the old circuit breakers. If an additional panel needs to be installed, that could cost somewhere between $250 and $400, but if it is time to replace the entire circuit breaker setup, you could be looking at a cost between $900 and $1,300.

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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).

Project details


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.


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

Installing Ceiling Fan With Downrod

The standard minimum distance between the floor and the blades of a ceiling fan is around 7 feet. Most homes have an 8-foot ceiling height, so homeowners will either have the ceiling fan mounted flush with the ceiling or with a low-profile 3” to 6” pole called a downrod. For ceilings with a height greater than 8 feet, installers will use a pole to connect the motor housing of the ceiling fan to the ceiling mount. Depending on the size and finish you need, your costs will land somewhere between $6 for a 3” and $80 for a 72” rod.

Downrods are available in diameters between &frac1

Downrods are available in diameters between ½” and 1” to suit the type of fan being installed. Here are the common downrod sizes based on ceiling height according to ceiling fan manufacturer Del Mar. [4]

Ceiling Height Downrod Length Average Cost
8’ No downrod
9’ 6” $5–$20
10’ 12” $6–$84
11’ 18” $8–$98
12’ 24” $11–$76
13’ 36” $10–$73
14’ 48” $25–$94
15’+ 60” $30–$94

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Follow the manufacturer’s directions to install the adjustable hanger bar and ceiling box

You install most hanger bars by pushing them thr

You install most hanger bars by pushing them through the hole in the ceiling left by the old electrical box. When you have the hanger bar completely through the hole, rotate it until it’s perpendicular to the ceiling joists. The bar expands until it engages the ceiling joists. The ends of the hanger bar are equipped with sharp steel pins that dig into the wood joists when the hanger bar is expanded. You then attach the special ceiling box to the hanger bar, locking it in place to provide a secure base for the fan.

7. Add the switch housing

You’ll most likely put your switch housing into place using screws. There will be a wire plug that goes from the upper to the lower switch housing. Make sure this connection is secure, because it’s what turns the fan on.

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