According to the US Department of Energy, a ceiling fan can reduce the temperature of a room by as much as four degrees.
A ceiling fan also uses a lot less electricity than an air-conditioner. So, they’re a better option from an environmental perspective too.
If you’d like to take advantage of these benefits on a budget, you can even install a ceiling fan yourself. It’s a pretty straightforward process, doesn’t take long, and you don’t need any specialized tools.
Here’s how to install a ceiling fan in an existing light socket.
How to Choose a Ceiling Fan
There are three main things to consider when choosing a ceiling fan. These are:
- Blade size
- CFM rating
The amount of occupied space in your room is the first consideration when choosing the right size ceiling fan. You can reach this figure by measuring the area of your room in square feet and dividing that number by four.
You can choose a fan with slightly smaller blades for a room with a low ceiling or longer blades for those with high ceilings.
Most fans have a CFM rating. This number refers to how many cubic feet of air the fan displaces in a minute.
The best ceiling fans have a high CFM. These types of ceiling fans cool your room more efficiently. They’re quieter and last longer than fans with a low CFM.
The final consideration depends on your home’s decor. You’ll find a huge range of ceiling fans to choose from. These tropical options suit a rustic home, and some fans complement an industrial look, modern design, or ranch-style home.
Where to Place Your Ceiling Fan
Take care to hang your fan at least 1½ ft from a sloped ceiling or a wall. It should also be 7 to 10 ft above the floor and at least 8 inches from the ceiling.
Don’t hang it too close to overhead lights. The blades will cause a disturbing flickering effect as they rotate.
How to Install a Ceiling Fan
Before you start your ceiling fan installation, you’ll need to add additional support to your existing light’s electrical box.
A fan-rated pancake box attached directly to a ceiling joist works well in most cases. Another option is installing a fan-approved hangar box mounted between the ceiling joists.
Removing the Old Light Fitting
Switch off the electricity at the mains before you do anything.
Remove the shade from the light fixture and unscrew the nuts and screws holding the light to the ceiling. Then lower the fixture and remove the plastic connectors from the ends of the wires.
Remove the old electrical box by unscrewing it or prying it loose.
Placing a Pancake Box
Hold your pancake box against the ceiling and trace its outline on the ceiling with a pencil. Cut along the line with a drywall saw.
Feed the cable coming from the ceiling through the hole in the pancake box. Set the box in the hole you’ve just cut in the ceiling and press it against the joist.
Screw the box to the joist then wrap the bare copper wire from the cable around the grounding screw inside the box. Leave the end of the wire hanging down.
Attaching the Ceiling Plate or Medallion
Place a small amount of urethane-based glue on the back of the plate. Pass the wires from the ceiling through the center hole.
Center it on the pancake box and hold it in place. Fasten the medallion to the joist using four 6d finishing nails. Finally, set the nail heads and fill them with caulk or Spackle.
If you want to paint the medallion, you can do this now.
Some types of fans have a ceiling plate that goes over the medallion. In this case, you’ll place the ceiling plate up against the medallion, pull the wires through and fasten it with two 1½ inch screws.
Assembling the Fan Motor
Most ceiling fans come with detailed instructions for this process, and these may differ depending on the fan you have. These are the basic steps:
- Place the fan on the floor
- Pass the motor wires through the middle of the canopy
- Place the canopy on top of the motor
- Thread the wires through the down-rod pipe
Finally, attach the pipe to the top of the motor by tightening the side-mounted square-head locking screws with a wrench.
Leave the factory-applied coating on the screws during this process.
Connecting the Fan
Climb back up the ladder and hook one side of the canopy to the ceiling plate.
You’ll notice the wires descending from the ceiling match the colors of the fan motor wires. There’s an extra copper wire coming from the ceiling.
Using twist-on wire connectors, join the bare copper wire and the green wire from the ceiling to the fan’s green wire. Connect the two white wires and join the two black wires.
Swing the fan into place and secure it to the ceiling plate with the two canopy screws provided.
Adding the Blades and Lights
Fasten a fan blade to each blade iron using the screws provided. Fit the light-fixture housing to the wire hanging from the motor.
Fit the lightbulbs and shades. For convenience, screw the plastic holder for the fan’s remote control to the wall alongside your wall switch.
Switch the mains back on and test your fan.
Cool Tips for Your Ceiling Fan Installation
These are the basics of how to install a ceiling fan, but the precise details will vary according to the type of fan you choose. You should always follow the detailed directions provided with your appliance.
Installing a ceiling fan is well within the capabilities of reasonably proficient DIY enthusiasts. Yet, if you’re unsure about anything, ask for help from an experienced handyman.
Would you like some more good advice on upgrading your home’s interiors? Explore our blog for more handy decor tips and ideas.