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How to Install a Ceiling Fan: a DIY Guide So Simple, Anyone Can Do It

Get ready to be blown away by science: ceiling fans are cheaper to run and are significantly more energy efficient than air conditioning.

It turns out that ceiling fans accomplish a lot simply through air circulation. That means that they bring cooler air into a room during summertime, and are useful in winter because they evenly disperse any excess warm air produced by your heater. 

If you’re looking to perform a ceiling fan installation of your own, or replace an existing ceiling fan, there’s even more good news: it isn’t as hard as it looks, and can make for a satisfying DIY project if you’ve got a spare afternoon. 

Just follow this handy guide. We’ll show you how to install a ceiling fan yourself, and throw in a few bonus tips and pointers to boot.  

Everything You Need to Perform Your Ceiling Fan Installation

Ceiling fan installation: the tools you'll needYou just need a few basic tools to complete your ceiling fan installation:

  • Flat-head and a Philips head screwdriver
  • Wire snips
  • Stepladder

Optional:

  • Drill with flat-head and Philips head bits
  • Electrical tester 

Get Familiar With These Ceiling Fan Components

Ceiling fan installation: learn all of the parts of a ceiling fanImage via Wayfair.com

There are a few components you need to get familiar with before beginning your ceiling fan installation. 

  • The electric box is a metal housing in the ceiling that contains all the wiring for your ceiling fan. If there was an existing ceiling fan in place prior to your current installation, it should also already be braced to hold the weight of your fan—though it’s important to verify this for safety. 
  • The bracket is the metal piece that holds the ceiling fan in place. The electric box stays inside the ceiling, while the bracket is connected to it from below the ceiling line. 
  • The motor drives the fan, and also serves as the hub for the light and fan on/off switches
  • The cowl is a metal covering that goes over the motor and bracket for aesthetics
  • The light kit contains the light bulb sockets, and is connected to the motor via two or three simple wires

Things to Know Ahead of Your Ceiling Fan Installation

  • There must be at least 8-10 inches between the blades of the ceiling fan and the ceiling.
  • You must also maintain an 18 inch clearance between the blades and the walls, or any other obstruction.
  • Ceiling fan blades must be hung at least 7 feet above the floor, and the fan does its best if hung at least 8-9 feet up. 
  • If the ceiling is quite high, or if the fan is being installed on a sloped ceiling, a longer down-rod might be necessary so the blades don’t scrape the ceiling and the fan keeps its efficacy. 

How to Install a Ceiling Fan Step by Step

How to install a ceiling fan step by step.First, before performing any electrical repair or installation, always shut the power off at the circuit breaker in order to avoid the risk of electric shock. 

  1. If you have an electrical tester, you can use it before beginning the installation to ensure that the power is definitely turned off at the breaker.
  2. First, attach the bracket to the electric box via the two or more long screws. Instead of tightening the screws all the way, make sure they are screwed in enough to hold the bracket securely, but leave a couple inches leeway so that you can connect the wiring in the following steps.
  3. The motor should come pre-assembled, but if it does not, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to put it together before proceeding.

    Tip: So that you don’t have to support the fan motor yourself during the entire installation, the manufacturer likely included a hook or hanger in the design. Attach the hanger to the bracket, and then hang the motor to it from one side. The motor will hang down, making it close enough for you to attach the wiring, but also leaving the electric box and bracket partially exposed for the wiring to be attached. 
  4. Hang the motor from the hanging attachment, and begin connecting the wiring. Connect the wires from the motor to the corresponding wires in the electrical box. The black wire goes with black, the white wire with white, and the green with green. If there is a red wire coming from the electric housing, connect the blue wire to it. Otherwise, connect twist the blue and black wires that are coming from the motor together, and attach the two of them to the black wire in the electric box. 

    While you're installing a ceiling fan, you'll need to connect the wires.
  5. The blue wire is for the light, the black wire for the fan, the white is the common wire, and the green is the grounding wire. In older homes, there is just one wall switch for the light and fan, which is why there may only be one wire – the black wire – for both. Newer homes may include a red wire so that the fan and light can be operated independently.

    Tip: Twist the wires together lightly to connect them. Then, put the wire nut over them and use that to do most of the twisting. This is easier and more comfortable.
  6. Once the wires are connected, push them all into the metal electric box. This may take a bit of finagling. 
  7. Now, tighten those screws on the bracket to bring it up flush with the ceiling. 
  8. Swing the motor up and hold it in place while screwing in the screws to secure it to the bracket.
  9. Put the cowl on over the motor and bracket. The assembly below the motor, to which the light kit will soon be attached, will remain exposed. 
  10. Attach the fan blades to the bottom part of the motor, which will also be exposed inside the cowl. These are attached by simple screws.

    Tip: Pre-assemble the fan blades before starting installation so they are ready at hand.

  11. Connect the light kit. It may look like there’s a whole mess of wiring coming out from the motor, but don’t panic. A circular cardboard cover keeps most of that wiring in place above, with just two wires – blue and white – coming through the hole in the middle of the cover.
  12. Clip the wires from the light kit to the wires that come through the cardboard circle – black goes to blue, and white goes to white.
  13. Push all the wiring up below the cardboard circle as you did with the electric box, and attach the light kit to the motor.
  14. Install your light bulbs and any lighting cover that may be included, and test your new ceiling fan. 

Stumped? Call in a Professional to Keep You Cool

If you’re in Dallas, you’re in luck. Our professional technicians can take care of your ceiling fan installation while you kick back with an ice cold lemonade. We’ll worry about clearance, height, placement, or weight support. 

All you have to do is book a slot in moments, and our technician can be at your door as soon as the same day.

And of course, all of our parts and labor are covered by our trademark quality guarantee. Save yourself some cash, and some energy, and book your time slot now. 

Jake S.
Jake S.
Jake Sherman is a professional writer with a background in journalism. He is fascinated by home appliances and how they work. He enjoys breaking down complex topics and explaining them in interesting ways. He has been a Puls staff writer for two years. When he's not writing, he enjoys trotting around the globe, trying unfamiliar foods, and testing unmarked doors to see if they're locked.

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