Electrical & Lighting: Installing A Ceiling Fan – On the House

Electrical & Lighting: Installing A Ceiling Fan

By on August 31, 2015

We believe that a ceiling fan is a must for any home, anywhere. Why all of the enthusiasm for such a simple contraption? Comfort, energy savings and lower utility bills are a few reasons. Moreover, a ceiling paddle fan is decorative and, when equipped with a light kit, is a good source of artificial light.

We both learned early on of the benefits of having a ceiling fan when we visited our uncle’s corner market. He had one mounted just outside the entry door to his store. The cool breeze the fan provided made for a pleasant welcome. Yet our uncle didn’t install the fan to cool his customers, but rather for pest control. The stream of air created by the rotating blades would discourage flies and other airborne pests from entering his store.

Many people still believe that a ceiling fan has value only in warm weather. In truth, its benefits can be enjoyed all year long.

People without air conditioning can attest to the relief offered by a ceiling fan. However, such a fan also can be valuable to folks with air conditioning. When operated in the normal mode, the blades of the ceiling fan will push air downward causing cool air near the floor to travel upward to mix with air throughout a room, resulting in more even cooling.

The same principle can be applied during winter when home heating bills soar. The only difference is that the fan is run in the opposite direction. In contrast to normal operation, the fan blades push air toward the ceiling, driving warm air downward, which results in more even heating. In either case the fan can improve comfort and result in a reduced utility bill. If sweating windows are a problem, a ceiling fan might be the answer. When run in the reverse direction, the fan will cause a movement of air that will cure the sweats once and for all. Decorative ceiling paddle fans come in a variety of shapes, sizes, models and features. Four blades, five blades, painted finishes, metallic finishes, light kits and an assortment of glass shades make customizing a fan to meet your specific needs — if you will — a breeze.

Most fan motors are equipped with multiple speeds and a reversing switch. Manufacturers of finer models have various accessories. Variable-speed control switches allow the fan to operate at a wide range of speeds. A variable rheostat or dimmer switch will allow the lights to be adjusted.

If you like gadgets and your budget permits it, consider a state-of-the-art wireless remote, which will control lights and fan speed from your easy chair or nightstand. Wireless remotes on some top-of-the-line models control fan speed via a built-in thermostat and will turn lights on and off periodically as a security feature.

Ceiling fans range in price from less than $50 to well over a $1,000. If you don’t mind wobbling fan blades, a noisy motor and early replacement, the least expensive is the ticket. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a quiet, smooth operation, plan to spend at least $250.

Most ceiling fans come packaged in many pieces that require assembly. Detailed instructions and the right tools make installation simple. The most complicated aspect of installation is getting power to the switch and fan location. This isn’t a problem when the fan is replacing an existing light fixture. However, there are support issues that must be addressed. More on this later.

When running the electrical wiring, use 14/2 with a ground sheathed cable from the wall switch to the fan. This consists of two strands of 14-gauge wire with a ground wire. This will permit the light and fan functions to be operated independently from the corresponding wall switch. We recommend this even if your fan doesn’t have a light since it will allow one to be installed with ease in the future. Remember, never attempt to perform electrical work without first turning off the electricity at the breaker panel or fuse box. If electrical work isn’t your forte, we suggest that you enlist the service of a professional electrician to make the installation especially for electrical inspections for aluminum wiring in Mint Hill, SC, and don’t forget a permit should one be required.

Another important aspect of installation to consider is the weight of the fan. A ceiling fan is much heavier than an average light fixture. Therefore, the bracket from which it hangs should be securely anchored to ceiling framing. Most ceiling-mount electrical boxes for light fixtures are typically not anchored to framing. In many cases they are attached to a light gauge metal bracket that spans between two framing members and is attached at both ends. This is not enough support for most ceiling fans.

If you have access from above, such as an attic, you can install a two-by-four block between two ceiling joists. The electrical box then can be screwed to the wood block for a secure connection. If you don’t have access from above, use a fan brace that can be installed through the outlet box hole. It is an adjustable metal hanger that attaches to wood framing at either side of the fan location. It is designed to carry the load imposed by the fan.

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.


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