A ceiling fan is an effective way to cool a home while conserving energy and saving money. Many homeowners opt to install a new ceiling fan themselves for convenience and added savings. However, prior to assembling and installing a ceiling fan, residents must confirm they have selected the right fan based on the location and dimensions of the area where the ceiling fan will be installed. See our guide on how to choose a ceiling fan for additional criteria. Once the appropriate fan is chosen, use our easy-to-follow guide below to assemble and install the fan.
Step 1: Who Will Install the Ceiling Fan
Homeowners should determine whether they are physically capable of installing the selected fan in order to prevent physical injuries or property damage. In order to verify ability, ask yourself the following:
Can you locate the ceiling joist or other suitable support in the ceiling?
Can you identify and connect wires?
Can you lift at least 40 pounds?
If the answer is yes, gather and assemble the necessary materials for installation. If the answer is no, contact a licensed professional for assistance installing the fan.
Step 2: Gather Materials
Prior to assembling and installing the ceiling fan, make sure all the necessary tools and materials are readily accessible:
Instruction or Owner's Manual
Read the instruction manual included in the packaging. Some manufacturers like Emerson fans make the installation guides available online for download.
Determine if you have the right tools for installing a fan. Generally, a Phillips screwdriver, wire cutters, pliers, and a stepladder are needed for installation. An electricity tester is useful, but not required.
Turn off the electrical power at the circuit breaker box. As an added precaution, make sure all switches are on the off position.
Once the necessary materials and tools are gathered, assemble the fan according to the instructions provided in the manual as assembly can vary from model to model.
Step 3: Installing the Mounting Bracket and Assembling the Fan Blades
Prior to installing and wiring the ceiling fan, verify the ceiling fan junction or outlet box is designed for ceiling fan use. This is particularly important if the fan is replacing an existing light fixture. Also, determine whether the box and the support provided are able to hold the weight of the fan. All large ceiling fans (weighing over 35 pounds) will require additional assistance, not including the outlet box. Once it is determined that the outlet box is effective, install the mounting bracket that will support the fan.
Installing the Mounting Bracket
Use the following steps to install the mounting bracket to hold the fan.
Remove the fan motor screws and washers.
Steps 1 - 3
Separate the mounting bracket from the canopy.
Secure the bracket to the junction or outlet box with the screws and washers provided.
If the fan includes a J-hook, install the bracket with the J-hook pointing down. The hook will support the weight of the motor for hands-free installation.
Thread the wires through the center opening of the bracket.
Confirm the mounting bracket is set firmly against the outlet box.
NOTE: If the bracket and/or outlet box are not secure, the fan could wobble or fall.
Assembling the Fan Blades
The ceiling fan blades may be attached before or after hanging the motor. Place the motor on a suitable work area and use the steps below to assemble the blades.
Attach the blades to the brackets using the screws and grommets provided.
Turn the motor over and attach one blade to the motor hub in a clockwise direction using the provided screws. Do not tighten the screws until all blades have been attached.
Once all the blades are attached, securely fasten all the screws in a clockwise direction.
Step 4: Mounting and Wiring a Ceiling Fan
Assemble, install, and wire the new ceiling fan according to the instructions provided in the manual as assembly and installation can vary based mounting method, standard mounting with a downrod or flush mounting. If the ceiling fan is being placed in a room where the ceiling height is less than eight feet, a hugger or low-profile fan is required. Note: the National Electrical Code requires that all ceiling fan blades be at least seven feet above the floor regardless of mounting.
Standard mounting hangs a fan from the ceiling using a downrod. A fan should be installed eight to nine feet above the floor. If the room where the fan is being installed has a height less than eight feet, proceed to flush mounting. Use the steps below to install the mounting bracket to hold the fan.
Unbundle the fan's motor wires.
Steps 1 - 5
Thread the wires through downrod and canopy.
Place the downrod at the top of the motor coupling.
Loosen the screw or lock nuts on the coupling.
Attach the rod to the coupling and tighten the set screw or lock nut.
Lift and place the ball on the hanger bracket.
Attach the assembled fan blades.
Make the appropriate wire connections (see wiring below).
Slide canopy up to the bracket and secure with the screws supplied.
Turn on the ceiling fan and run on the highest speed to confirm performance.
A variation of the standard installation is the standard installation on an inclined or sloped ceiling. This type of installation may require a slope ceiling adaptor depending on the angle of the ceiling. Determine the slope of a ceiling using our slope calculator. A ceiling with a slope greater than 30 degrees will require an adaptor, but this varies by manufacturer. Homeowners should also consider selecting a ceiling fan with remote for these hard to reach areas.
If installing a ceiling fan outside, select an outdoor fan with a UL-rating for wet or damp areas. These ceiling fans have weather resistant materials especially designed to protect the motor and electrical parts from the elements. When installing an outdoor ceiling fan, take extra precaution to cover the wiring in order to prevent an injury to any individuals or damage to the fan.
For additional guidance, see the instructional video by Minka Aire below:
Flush mounting is used when an area or a room's ceiling is less than eight feet tall. This type of installation hangs the fan closer to ceiling.
Flush mounting or low profile mounting is an installation method used to hang a ceiling fan closer to the ceiling. This is generally because the ceiling height is below the recommended eight feet.
Remove the screws and washers from the motor housing.
Secure the canopy to the housing with the same screws.
Hang the fans from one of the holes at the top of the canopy.
Make the appropriate wire connections (see wiring below).
Attach the canopy to the mounting bracket with the provided screws.
If a homeowner lacks knowledge or experience with electrical wiring, he or she should have a licensed electrician install the fan. Prior to starting, ensure the power is off and identify the wires by color. Generally, the black wire is the fan's hot wire, the green wire is the grounding wire, and the white wire is neutral wire. If installing a ceiling fan with lights, the blue wire is for the light kit. Some fans may contain a plug-in connection and require little installation.
Connect the fan's green grounding wire and mounting bracket's green grounding wire to the grounding conductor supply, which may be a bare wire or a wire with green insulation, using the wire connector provided.
Steps 1 - 3
Connect the motor's white wire to the supply white wire, or neutral wire, using the connector provided.
Connect the motor's black wire to the first hot wire using the connector supplied. Use an electricity tester to identify the hot wire if needed.
If wiring a fan with a light kit, connect the fan's white wire to the light kit's white using the connector supplied.
Steps 4 - 6
Connect the fan's black wire to the light kit's blue wire using the connector provided.
Secure the connections with electrical tape in order to prevent the connections from vibrating and coming loose when the fan is operating.
Once all connections are made, carefully push the wires into the outlet box with white and green wires on one side, and the black and blue wires on the other side of the box.
Attach the light kit to the housing with the provided screws.
Take a moment to confirm that no wiring is exposed. However, do not pinch any wiring as this may result in electric shock or fire. For additional help wiring a light kit, see the video below by Westinghouse ceiling fan:
Step 5: Testing After Installation
Once the ceiling fan is installed and wired, restore the electrical power and turn on the ceiling fan. Run the fan at the highest speed to determine if there is any shaking or wobbling. If wobbling is detected, see our step-by-step instructions on how to balance a ceiling fan. If the ceiling fan includes a light kit, test each individual function by pulling on the respective chains. If errors are encountered such as the fan not turning on once the power is restored, see our recommendations and solutions to common fan problems. Installing a ceiling fan is a rewarding process, as homeowners will surely enjoy the cool air and cooler savings a new fan will provide.