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Ceiling Fan Installation – Tips For Do-It-Yourselfers

Ceiling fans can help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter by pushing hot air down and cooler air up. They also help circulate the air in a room, which reduces energy costs.

Installing a ceiling fan can be a fairly simple job for knowledgeable do-it-yourselfers, provided the existing wiring is compatible with a new model. However, if the existing electrical box isn’t fan-rated, or you’re unsure of the wiring, consider hiring an electrician to complete the project for safety and efficiency.

First, make sure your fan is the correct size for your room. Generally, a 36-inch fan works in rooms with a ceiling height of 12 feet or less, a 42-inch fan is recommended for rooms from 12 to 15 feet, and a 52-inch fan works in larger rooms.

If your fan isn’t the right size, don’t worry: Just buy a smaller model. Most manufacturers will accept returns on their products if you’re not satisfied.

Once you’ve chosen the fan that fits your needs, it’s time to move onto the fun part: putting it in place. It’s not difficult, but it’s important to have all the necessary tools ready before you begin.

The basic tools you need include a ladder, hammer and a drill with a long bit. Depending on the type of fan you’re installing, you may need additional equipment such as a voltage tester and a crescent wrench.

Before attempting any work, turn off power to the fan at your circuit breaker and any wall switches. This will prevent you from tripping over wires and getting injured during the process.

Next, remove the old ceiling fan and its mounting box. The box probably is attached to a joist with screws or horizontally driven nails. If so, pry it free with a flat pry bar.

A “pancake” ceiling box, which mounts directly to a joist, is another option that eliminates the need for a new box. This is particularly useful if you’re not able to gain access to the attic to remove an old one.

Inspect the electrical box to ensure it’s fan-rated and if it isn’t, replace it with a fan-rated junction box. The new box should have an inscription indicating it’s rated for fans.

If the old box isn’t rated for a ceiling fan, it’s likely that it has been compromised by water damage or other issues. If so, you’ll need to have the area inspected by an electrician before starting work on the fan.

Once the ceiling fan box is out, disconnect the power to the previous light fixture. Then connect the bare wires to a plastic wire connector, and twist them together until they’re securely connected.

To hook up the new fan, you’ll need a wire connector and a new wall switch, either an electronic one or a regular toggle-style. The latter is a popular option.

When you’re done, the new fan will be installed and ready to operate. Depending on your experience, the whole process should take just a few hours.

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