Rated 4.5 out of 5Â by 2
Rated 4 out of 5Â by thebigsee Excellent product, but installation was not as easy as I thought
I wanted to install a ceiling fan in the dining room, but upon removal of the old light fixture I found there was just a plastic electrical box instead of the metal boxes I've hung ceiling fans from in the past. I knew over time it would certainly fail if I attached a 30-lb. spinning fan to it, but since the fixture was located in a condo with no attic, I was at a loss as to how to reinforce the box. So I did research and found that there was a "simple" solution to my problem -- a ceiling fan brace.
If you watch the videos online detailing how to install this, it appears to be something that could be put in in less than 15 minutes, and I think in most circumstances, that is true. But I was the exception to that, and you might be too, so read on.
Removing the old plastic box was pretty straightforward -- after shutting off the power and detangling the wires, I started snapping the box apart with pliers until I found where it was mounted -- 2 nails going directly into a joist. With a bare hacksaw blade I was able to sever both nails and the plastic wings they were held to in about 10 minutes. The box came out quite simply after I enlarged the hole in the drywall slightly by scraping the edges with a utility knife.
Now the fun began. I fed the brace up into the hole and tried rotating it to be perpendicular to the joist, but it just didn't seem to fit. After some measuring, I discovered that my joists were about 12-13" apart -- and this brace at shortest extension is about 14". It's designed for standard 16" or 24" joist spacing. I was livid, naturally, but after cooling down and some repentance, I remembered reading a review on another website where a fellow had faced the same problem and had solved it by trimming a few inches off the tube and the screw with a hacksaw.
30 minutes later I had disassembled the brace (quite simple, mine just pulled apart with a bit of muscle) and cut 3" off the end of the tube and a similar amount off the end of the screw with my hacksaw. I slid it back together and gave it a few whacks with a hammer (using a bit of wood to protect the teeth on the end of the screw) to secure it and I fed it up into the hole -- it fit great!
There is a competitor to this brace made by Westinghouse. It's very nice but it cannot be customized like this -- at least not as easily as the Raco version. I took the Raco apart while working at a rental property without the help of my workshop or all my tools. I think the Westinghouse is just not designed to be taken apart or you would need a vise and some tools to pry it apart. So if you have joists less than 16", the Raco is the way to go.
Now, after I put the brace into the hole, it was a struggle to get it aligned properly. I had it all tightened at one point and realized the legs were upside-down on the far end. It takes some fiddling to get it right. And as for tightening it, in the videos they show you easily reaching into the hole and twisting it without effort. Unless you have tiny hands, you will need to use channel locks to twist it.
Once it was secure -- and it is VERY secure, I feel I could have hung from it without problem but did not test this theory -- I slid the bracket on and attempted to attach the new box. Aha! The hole is too small. So I enlarged the hole, and tried again. What? The screws don't line up? Why not? Well, unlike in the videos, the hole in the drywall was right up against a joist, not dead-center between the joists. So, the brace's feet get in the way of aligning the new box to the screws. Solution? You have to enlarge the hole even more to get the box to line-up with the bracket. After 5 more minutes, that was done and I finally had the box mounted onto the brace! Thank goodness the ceiling fan had such a large trim cover to it to cover the enlarged opening.
Now, last step: The box comes with one plastic bushing to feed your wires through into the box to protect them from the sharp metal edges. Notice I said ONE bushing -- wonderful except I had TWO cables coming into the box, requiring a second bushing! Incredibly frustrating to have to stop everything to source a 50-cent bushing to finish the install. So this is my only complaint about an otherwise excellent product -- it is not unusual at all for a ceiling box to have multiple cables running into it, so why does Raco only provide ONE BUSHING??? I mean, how much more would it cost Raco to put 2 more into the box? 10 cents? Raco -- PUT EXTRA BUSHINGS INTO THE BOX!!!! Please!
So, once I had the new bushing and the wires connected, I had a super-sturdy base to mount the fan to. With tenants and associated liability issues, I cannot tell you what a comfort it is to me. And this brace cost me less than $13. If they put in some more bushings, it would be perfect.
January 13, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by GMTK Great buy - the ONLY box to use for old work
I shopped around and did research before buying this product. It is by far the best. There is a YouTube video of the installation to help. I put this in to hold a ceiling fan and it worked perfect. Super easy to install, just keep the feet on facing the ground. The hole is just large enough that I was able to get my entire hand up in the ceiling to check the side 2X6's that it used to brace. Do not settle for imposters, buy only the RACO brand.
July 15, 2014