How to hook up a ceiling fan?: A ceiling fan can be a fantastic home upgrade. It can help you keep cool in the summer without spending a fortune on air conditioning. It can help you keep warm in the winter by pushing warm air back down from the ceiling. And it can look stylish, too.
It’s not hard to hook up your own ceiling fan. If you have an existing fan or a light fixture in the place where you want to hang your new fan, all you have to do is remove the old fixture and use the existing wiring to connect your new fan. Here are the steps you need to follow.
Turn Off the Power
Before you start working on your new ceiling fan installation, you need to turn off the power to the circuit you’ll be working on, to protect yourself from electric shock. Go to your breaker box – the breakers should be labeled as to which circuits they control, but if they aren’t, you will need to make a map of your circuits and label the breakers yourself. Make sure you test the light switch or use a voltage tester in the room where you’ll be working to verify that the circuit is inactive.
Remove the Old Fixture
Now it’s time to get to work. You’ll need to disconnect and remove the old fixture first. If you’re taking down a light fixture, remove the bulb cover and bulb. This should expose screws in the base of the light fixture that secure it to the electrical junction box in the ceiling.
Remove those screws, pull the light fixture down gently, and disconnect the wiring in the ceiling. You can disconnect the wiring by removing the plastic wire nuts and untwisting the ends of the wires.
If you’re removing an older ceiling fan, you’ll need to take it down a piece at a time. First, remove the blades and light fixture. Then you can remove the screws holding the canopy, at the top of the downrod, in place. Unseat the downrod from the ball-and-socket joint inside the ceiling mounting plate, then disconnect the wires.
If you need it, there should be a hook on the mounting plate that will allow you to hang your fan motor while you work on disconnecting the wires. Remove the ceiling mounting plate.
Make Sure You Have the Infrastructure a Fan Needs
You will need a fan-rated electrical box in your ceiling to support the weight of your new fan. You’ll also need to make sure your fan is anchored securely. You can either anchor it directly to a ceiling joist, if there is one handy, or you can insert a fan brace in the ceiling to support the weight of your fan.
If you’re replacing an old fan, you likely already have the right infrastructure in your ceiling to support a fan, but verify that your electrical junction box is fan-rated and make sure you’re anchoring your fan to a joist or fan brace.
If there’s a joist available, you will see it right through the hole in your ceiling. If you can’t see a joist, you will need to insert a fan brace in the hole. You can buy an expanding metal fan brace that you can insert into the ceiling through the hole, and expand until the spikes on either end bite into the joists on either side, anchoring it in place.
Piece Together the Fan Motor
When you buy new ceiling fans, they usually come as a box full of pieces. You’ll need to follow your new fan’s assembly instructions to put together the fan motor. Do this on the floor – the fan motor will be heavy and you’ll need to attach the downrod and feed the wiring from the fan motor up through the downrod.
Connect the Fan Motor to the Ceiling
Before you can connect your fan motor to the ceiling, you will need to secure your fan’s ceiling mounting plate to the junction box in the ceiling. Once you’ve done that, you can connect the fan motor to your home wiring. Use the convenience hook on the ceiling mounting plate to hang your fan motor while you’re hooking up the wiring.
Connect the white wire in your fan to the white wire in your ceiling, the black wire to the black wire, and the green or bare wire to the green or bare wire. The green or bare wire is the ground, so make sure that the one coming out of your ceiling wraps around the green ground screw in the junction box before connecting to the green or bare wire coming out of your fan.
Tighten the ground screw to hold the ground wire in place. With the wiring connected, you can attach the fan downrod to the ceiling mounting plate. Then slide the canopy up the downrod and screw it into position.
Put Together the Rest of the Fan
The final step is to attach the fan blades and connect the light fixture. The fan blades should be balanced so that each blade is equidistant from the floor.
The wiring for the light fixture will need to be connected to the wiring coming out of the fan motor – do it the same way you wired up the motor itself (unless it’s a plug-in light fixture, which some fans have).
Once your fan blades and light fixtures are attached, you’re ready to put in some light bulbs and give your new fan a whirl!