Keep Your Home At A Comfortable Temperature

As a conscientious homeowner, you want your home to be as comfortable and inviting as possible—for both you and your guests. And whether you’re worried about keeping your house cool in the summer or warm in the winter, a great ceiling fan can go a long way.

At Frontdoor®, we want you to have the knowledge, tools, and resources to tackle maintenance and installation issues around the home on your own. If you’ve never installed a ceiling fan before, you’re in luck: The process can be relatively straightforward!

In fact, if there’s already a fixture in place, you may be able to simply remove it and wire up the new one! And while we do recommend consulting with an electrician if you’re installing a ceiling fan where you’ve never had one before, you can likely tackle 90% of the project on your own.

Read on to learn more!

4 Tips For Installing A Ceiling Fan

These are our favorite tips to assist in installing a new ceiling fan in your home:

1. Replace A Light Fixture To Avoid Running New Wiring

If you’re not experienced in running new wire inside your home, the best way to install a new ceiling fan is to place one where there’s a light fixture or old, outdated ceiling fan. As long as there’s existing wire in place, you can use it to install your new ceiling fan!

Steps to follow:

  1. Turn off the electricity to the circuit before you start working.
  2. Remove the glass globe from the light fixture.
  3. Unscrew the fixture from the ceiling. Note: Be careful not to let the fixture fall!
  4. Pull the fixture down.
  5. Untwist the plastic connectors from the ends of the wires.

From here, move on to our next major step:

2. Use An Electrical Box Rated For Ceiling Fans

Once you have the old light fixture removed, you should remove the electrical box as well, as light fixture electrical boxes aren’t quite strong enough to hold the weight of a ceiling fan.

How you remove the electrical box will depend on how it was originally installed. For best results, follow these guidelines:

  • If the box is nailed to a joint: Use a pry bar to remove it.

  • If the box is screwed on: Unscrew it with a screwdriver or electric drill.

  • If the box is hanging from the bar mounted between two joists: Remove the box from the bar, then pry the bar from between the joists.

Once those components are removed, your new box can be installed within a couple inches of the old box. You’ll start installing the new electrical box with a half-inch pancake electrical box. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Center your half-inch fan rated pancake electrical box on a joist.
  2. Trace its outline with a pencil.
  3. Use a drywall saw to cut out a hole for the electrical box to fit inside. In some cases, this box will go right next to the light fixture hole.
  4. Feed the wiring in the ceiling through the knockout hole into the pancake box and secure it to the box with a fitting. 
  5. Slip the pancake box through the hole and press it against the joist.
  6. Screw the pancake box to the joist with the screws that came with the ceiling fan.
  7. Wrap the bare copper or green grounding wire around the grounding screw inside the pancake box. The ends should hang down.

3. Cover The Hole With A Ceiling Medallion

After Step 2, you’ll likely have a few holes in your ceiling—and a ceiling medallion will cover them! Here’s how to properly install that ceiling medallion:

  1. Pass the wires through the middle of the medallion.
  2. Apply a urethane-based adhesive to the top of the medallion.
  3. Center the medallion over the pancake box. Press it firmly in place.
  4. Secure the medallion to the joist with four finishing nails.
  5. Cover the nails with spackle or caulk.
  6. OPTIONAL: If you plan to paint the medallion, now is the time to do so! If you decide to paint, wait for the medallion to dry before moving on.
  7. Lift the ceiling plate that came with your ceiling fan up to the medallion.
  8. Pull the wires through the hole in the middle
  9. Using two 1.5-inch, 10/32 machine screws, screw the center plate to the pancake box.

4. Assemble the Fan

To properly assemble the fan, follow these steps:

  1. Place the fan motor on the floor or another flat surface and pull its wires through the hole in the canopy.
  2. Feed the wires through the down-rod pipe.
  3. Thread the pipe into the top of the motor.
  4. Tighten the locking screw to the side of the pipe with a wrench. Pro tip: Work gently so you don’t remove the factory coating from the threads of the pipe.

5. Install the Fan

Once the fan is assembled, follow these steps so you can begin enjoying your new ceiling fan:

  1. Hook the fan canopy to the ceiling plane on one side.
  2. Connect the wiring using twist-on wire connectors.
  3. Join the green wires to the bare copper or green wire sticking out of the ceiling.
  4. Join the white wires.
  5. Join the black wires.
  6. Place the fan into position against the medallion.
  7. Screw down the canopy with the screws provided with the ceiling fan.
  8. Attach the blades.
  9. OPTIONAL: Attach any lights, light shades, and lightbulbs.

Note: The above DIY tips are for informational purposes only! Always consult the installation instructions of your ceiling fan for more information.

Find Additional Help For Your Ceiling Fan Installation (And Other Projects)

If you still need help with your ceiling fan installation, download the Frontdoor App to video chat with an expert in real-time! Our team members can help you figure out the best process for your home.

Download our app today!

To dig into more topics, explore the rest of our How-to Tips for time-saving home repair and maintenance checklists, visit our website.

Frontdoor assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.