Installing Ceiling Fans: A DIY Job?
LESLIE: James in Virginia is on the line with a ceiling-fan question. What’s going on at your money pit?
JAMES: I live in a 1986 2-story ranch and we do not have overhead lighting in any of the bedrooms and there’s no lighting fixtures. And we want to add ceiling fans, so I was wondering how difficult it would be to do that in the bedrooms.
TOM: It’s not terribly difficult but it’s not terribly easy either. I would say that it would be very easy for an electrician to do that because they have the tools necessary to get the wiring where it needs to go. It’s kind of hard for a DIYer to do that.
And the other important thing about a ceiling fan is you need to make sure you use the right type of electrical connection in that ceiling so that you have some support on that fan. Because it gets very heavy and it also vibrates sometimes. So you need to have the right connection for the fan to the ceiling and of course, the wiring has to be in place.
Now, electricians can fish wires through there. There’s a couple of tricks of the trade that they use. They have these sort of long, skinny fiberglass rods that can be run in the space between ceiling joists to run wires where they need to be. But what I would do is if you’re thinking about maybe doing this in a couple of rooms, I would sort of pile those jobs together. Because there’s sort of a mobilization cost when you hire a pro for a small project like that. And maybe try to get all of your electrical work done at the same time.
Now, with a 1986 house, you might also want to find out if you’ve got ground-fault circuit interrupters protecting the bathroom and the kitchen outlets. That would be another easy thing to add to that to-do list that will protect you from shocks.
JAMES: OK. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your help and I love your show. Listen to it all the time.