Project Guide

How to Install a Ceiling Fan

Ceiling Fan Installation Tips

Before installing a ceiling fan, observe the ceiling conditions of the desired installation site.

  • If you are adding a new fan where one didn't exist, consult with your local building code department to determine if a permit is required.
  • Safety: Ceiling fans need to be properly anchored to an electric ceiling box that's designed to hold a heavy fixture. It will not only hold the ceiling fan wiring, but also support the full weight of the fan. If you're replacing a ceiling fan, double-check that the weight of the new fan can be held by the ceiling box.
  • Safety: Turn off power to the fan at the electrical panel and use an appropriate testing device to ensure no power is present at the fixture before you begin work. Do not rely on a wall switch to protect you from electrical shock.
  • If you're swapping a simple light fixture with a ceiling fan, the box will likely need to be replaced with one rated for a ceiling fan.
  • For easier ceiling fan installation, consider an easy-install ceiling fan, which installs in just three easy steps. The parts that require assembly simply click into place.
  • Check the joists for any wiring or plumbing pipes that might be in the way before installing your ceiling fan.

Safety: Before beginning, turn off the power to the fan from the electrical panel, then use a testing device to ensure the fan is not receiving power.

Inspect the existing junction box to make sure it’s rated for ceiling fans. There should be an inscription on the box to indicate this. The box is usually metal. If not, replace it with a fan-rated junction box and a fan brace between the ceiling joists to help support the fan’s weight. This process will be shown in Step 2.

  • Insert the fan brace through the hole in the sheetrock and onto the ceiling. The square tube of the brace should be centered with the hole. 
  • Rotate the square tube with your hand until the teeth are firmly locked into the joist. Feel around to gauge your results.
  • Attach the U-bolt bracket to the fan brace. It should be centered in the hole with the bolts facing downward.
  • Thread the cable wire into the junction box. Slip the box up so that the bolts slide through it and tighten the nuts to secure the box into place.
  • Thread the main wires through the center of the mounting bracket. 
  • If the fan has a slide-on bracket, you can leave the mounting bolts on the junction box and simply slide the fan bracket over the mounting screws. Tighten them securely. 
  • If your fan doesn't have the slide-on fan bracket, place the fan bracket over the mounting bolts that poke through the bracket and fasten it with the nuts provided.
  • Using a flat surface, slip the canopy onto the ceiling fan downrod and run the main wires through. Insert the clevis and cotter pins to the downrod, so that it connects to the fan's base. 
  • Attach the bulb-shape fitting at the top of the downrod to the mounting bracket on the ceiling.
  • Connect the ceiling fan wiring to your household wiring. Some fans come with additional wires, so be sure to follow your owner's manual for specific instructions. Use the wire nuts supplied with your ceiling fan installation kit to secure the wires. This step will be much quicker for ceiling fans without lights.
  • When wiring a ceiling fan, remember to match up the wires: In many cases, the fan's copper or green insulated wire connects with the ground wire. The fan's motor black wire connects with the supply black wire. The ceiling fan light kit's wires, blue or striped, also connect with the supply black wires. The fan's motor white wire connects with the supply white, or neutral, wire. 
  • Once these wires are securely connected, push them into the junction box. 
  • Use wire cutters to cut the wires if they can't fit into the box. This will keep them from vibrating against the canopy when the fan is running. 
  • Clip the canopy onto the mounting bracket and tighten the screws

Tip: When wiring a ceiling fan with a light, follow manufacturer's instructions to ensure a correct connection. If you have additional questions on how to wire a ceiling fan, check the manufacturer's instruction for your specific model.

  • Some fans have quick-install blades that can make the installation faster. Simply align the blade arm posts through the blade keyhole slots and slide them outward until they click and lock into place. 
  • For fans without quick-install blades, screw the fan blades onto the blade arms. The side of the blade that you want shown should face downward. 
  • Ceiling fans with accu-arm blade brackets can also speed up installation. These brackets come with the blade screws attached. Also, there's an alignment post on the bracket that will help in mounting the blade arm without stripping the mounting hole. 
  • For fans without the accu-arm feature, fasten the blade assembly to the motor with two screws. Drive the screws in slowly to avoid stripping and bending the blades, and tighten securely. 
  • Install the globe and light bulbs that may be included in your kit. 
  • Restore power and test out your ceiling fan remotes and wall controls to make sure you can turn on the fan.