How to Replace a Ceiling Fan

How to Replace a Ceiling Fan


  • Always be sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker/fuse box any time you are working with electricity.[10]

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  • Be careful not to let your ceiling fan fall during removal. Keep a good grip on the heavy motor body while the screws holding it up are being loosened.

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Removing the Ceiling Fan Body and Motor

Ceiling fans come in two categories: downrod fans and flush-mount fans. As the name suggests, downrod fans suspend the main fan body at the end of a rod. Flush-mount fans have the main body and motor mounted close to the ceiling.

Removing Flush-Mount Ceiling Fan Bodies

Flush-mount fans commonly use a screw and hinge to secure the fan motor to the ceiling bracket. Use your screwdriver to remove the screw and allow the fan to hang from the hinge. Find the wires from the ceiling that connect to the fan. Remove the plastic caps or wire nuts that connect these wires together, then separate the connections. Next, remove the fan body from the hinge and take it down.

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Removing Downrod Ceiling Fan Bodies

Downrod ceiling fans come with a metal cover that conceals the mounting bracket where the rod connects to the ceiling. These covers commonly use a screw to hold them in place. Some may have a decorative ring that covers the screw that will need to be removed by hand. With your screwdriver, remove the screw on the cover and slide the cover down to the bottom of the rod on the fan body. Follow the wires from the ceiling to where they connect with the fan’s wires. Remove the wire nuts and separate the wire connections.

There should be a ball on the ceiling end of the rod. Support the weight of the fan motor as you slide the ball out of the ceiling bracket.

4. Prep the fan

This next step will depend on the make and model of your particular fan, so follow the directions to assemble it correctly.

For ours, we installed the canopy and download assembly, making sure to bring the wires all the way through. You may also need to grab your wire cutters and cut the wires a bit shorter at this point.

Removing the Fan Housing

Loosen the screws to take the fan unit off the base plate. With an older fan you may need someone to hold it, while you unhook the wires. Check the box with a non contact tester before you mess around inside. Look to see if there is a maintenance hook. Hang the fan there, if it is available. Unhook the wires and put the wire nuts back on.

It is unlikely that the old base plate will be suitable for the new fan. You can compare them if you want to. Remove the old base plate and mounting screws. Hang onto the mounting screws, you may need them. So far so good, on this wiring a ceiling fan project.

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.

Can Handyman change ceiling fan?

Hire an electrician or handyman to hang a ceiling fan. If the job entails replacing a ceiling fan, a handyman can probably do the work. If you’re putting a ceiling fan in a location where there wasn’t a fan or light fixture before, or you need new wiring or a new circuit to power the fan, contact an electrician.

4.  Separate connected ceiling fan wiring

With downrod fans, you’ll need to remove the canopy first. Then you can begin removing the wire nuts and disconnecting the fan wires from the house wires. If your ceiling fan has a remote receiver wired in the canopy, be sure to remove the wire nuts and disconnect the remote receiver wires from the fan and ceiling. 

Once you remove the light and blades from your low-profile fans, you can remove the canopy to begin disconnecting the wires from the fan, ceiling, and any remote receiver. Low profile ceiling fans often attach to the mounting bracket from a hinge on one side that you can rest the fan, making it easier for you to use both hands for unwiring the ceiling fan.

NOTE: If you are uncomfortable with the wiring portion of removing a ceiling fan, consult with a certified, professional electrician.

Removing the Fan Blades

Ceiling fans are awkward to handle with the blades installed. The blades should have screws or bolts on the top side of the blade that goes down into a metal bracket that is attached to the fan motor.

Each blade will have three or four screws that hold it in place. Remove the blades one at a time. Save the screwes if you are planning on installing the fan somewhere else.

How Do I Cut the Power to My Ceiling Fan?

For safety reasons, you’ll want to go beyond just turning off the switch or knob on the wall. Be sure you cut the power to the circuit that serves your ceiling fan. This means turning the power off to the circuit at the breaker box. If your breaker box is appropriately labeled, you should be able to find the correct breaker quickly.

However, to be sure you’ve cut the power to the ceiling fan, follow a few steps:

1. From the controls on the wall or the remote, turn the fan or lights on.

2. At the breaker box, turn the appropriate breaker off. If you don’t know which it is, start turning smaller breakers off one at a time as you check to see if the ceiling fan is still on.

3. Once the ceiling fan turns off from the breaker, you have effectively cut the power to the circuit.

Can a ceiling fan motor be rebuilt?

If the motor does turn out to actually be the problem, you can certainly replace it. Some motors simply plug in and out of the fan. If you’re not lucky enough to have one of those, you’ll have to wire the new motor into place, matching the colored wires.


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