A ceiling fan is a great way to make any room more comfortable. It can also help reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs. To replace a light fixture with a fan, all you’ll need is about two hours and some basic supplies. Here’s what you’ll need for this intermediate-level project:
- Circuit Tester
- Philips Screwdriver
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- Wire Cutter
- Wire Stripper
- Tongue & Groove Pliers
- Mini Hacksaw
- Electrical Tape
- Ceiling Fan
- Cable Clamp Connectors
- Electrical Box – Fan Rated
- And/or Fan Hanger Kit
To replace a light fixture, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear. Throughout the video, we’ll alert you regarding when you should and should not use the safety gear.
Turn off circuit. Start by turning off the breaker connected to the circuit you’ll be working on. Confirm the power is off by switching on the fixture. If it doesn’t turn on, you’re ready to begin.
Remove old fixture. Remove the glass cover and light bulbs from your old fixture. Fixtures are typically held in place with screws and a mounting strap. Loosen the screws, twist the base and then pull the base over the hole. Test each wire with a non-contact circuit tester to avoid dangerous shocks.
Disconnect old fixture and strap. Cut any wires connected to the old fixture and, if necessary, remove the mounting strap. Remove the wire nuts, untwist the wires, and disconnect the ground wire from the fixture box with a screwdriver. You’ll be left with a white wire, a black wire, and a bare wire.
Remove old fixture box. Conventional light fixture boxes aren’t strong enough to support a fan, so you’ll need to replace it with one that’s fan rated. If your current fixture box is screwed to a ceiling joist, simply remove the screws. If it’s nailed to a joist accessible from an attic, use a hammer or pry bar to remove the box and nails. If your fixture box is hanging from a strap, remove the nut or screw holding it in place. You may need to use a mini hacksaw to remove the strap to make room for the new electrical box.
Install brace. Your fan-rated box will need to be supported by ceiling joists. If you have an attic that enables access from above, you can use a box that attaches to the joist. Without attic access, you’ll need a fan brace that can be installed from below. Fan braces are typically sold as a kit that includes a brace, box and bracket or U-bolt. Slip the brace into the ceiling hole with its feet on the inside of the drywall and its bar centered over the hole. Twist the bar until both ends meet the joists, then tighten with tongue and groove pliers.
Prep new box. Preparing your new fixture box before you install it will make installation much easier. Start by punching out holes for your wires, then install cable connectors, making sure you’ll be able to access the screws if you need to make adjustments. Screw the green grounding screw into the designated hole.
Install box. Slip the U-bolt or bracket over the brace, then feed the wires through the cable connectors. Line up the bracket and box screw holes, then secure the nuts provided in your kit. This may take a little patience.
Install fan mounting bracket. This installation features a pass-through, with light switches on each side of the room and two sets of wires. You’ll need to prep these wires before installing the mounting bracket. To do this, screw the ground wire into the box, using the extra wire to twist both ground wires together. If necessary, use wire strippers to remove about three-eighths of an inch of insulation from each wire. Twist the black wires together and secure with a wire connector. These wires are a pass-through. You won’t need them when installing the fan. Twist the white wires together, then attach the mounting bracket to the fan box using the screws included in your kit.
Assemble and attach blades. Each blade typically features three holes to attach it to the fan or blade irons. Attachment methods vary, so be sure to check manufacturer instructions before you begin. Attach each blade to the bottom of the motor with the screws provided, making sure each is tight.
Secure down rod to motor. Secure the down rod to the motor. In most cases, the down rod will be threaded into the motor housing and secured with one or more setscrews.
Prepare wires and hang fan. Place the canopy over the down rod, leaving it loose. Then hang the motor by inserting the ball on the down rod into the bracket.
Wire the fan. The fan motor’s grounding wire is typically green, bare or sometimes covered in a color noted by the manufacturer. There may also be a grounding wire attached to the hanger. Use a wire connector to secure them to the ground wire from the power cable. Connect the white wire from the box to the white fan wire and the black wire from the box to the black fan wire. Secure the canopy against the ceiling with screws provided.
Assemble the light fixture. Attach the fixture according to the manufacturer’s instructions and install light bulbs. Turn on the power at the breaker box and enjoy the cool breeze coming from your new fan!
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