Jeff Flowers on February 11, 2016 0 Comments Available in a range of styles, a ceiling fan can add functionality and beauty to your living room, kitchen, bedroom or even your place of business. No matter which type of ceiling fan you buy, they will all come with installation instructions. Even if you consider yourself DIY-savvy or have installed many other ceiling fans in the past, I would strongly recommend you keep the included instructions close by. I’ve installed a couple dozen ceiling fans in my life, and there hasn’t been a time where I needed to refer to the included instructions. Keep in mind, every model is slightly different, which means that all of the installation instructions will be slightly different from model to model. Aside from the installation instructions in front of you, our goal here is to provide you with some general tips on how to install a ceiling fan. They may or may not apply to you for this current installation job, however, they are still good to know going into the project. At the end of the day, you want to get the job done quickly and safely, and these installation tips will help you to accomplish this task. Know Your Local Home Improvement Regulations Before you decide to install your ceiling fan by yourself, it would be wise to make sure that it’s even legal to do so. Yes, I realized that it sounds a bit silly that you would need a permit to install a ceiling fan, but in some areas it is indeed true. This is because the installation must meet both federal and local electric regulations. If you don’t know how to do this on your own, we would recommend hiring a qualified electrician to handle the installation. Even if you do have the knowledge to install your own fan, we would strongly encourage you to check with the proper departments in your city to ensure you don’t need a special permit. A quick search online or on the city’s official webpage should give you the answer. How to Choose the Right Fan for Your Space Once you have the necessary legal clearance, it’s time to decide which type of ceiling fan is right for your space. First, you’ll need to measure the area of the room. This will determine how large the fan should be. A mid-sized living room is about 216 square feet, so it will need a fan with a blade diameter of 44 inches. Of course, the exact size will depend on your actual space. Keep in mind that the tips of the blades should be at least 30 inches away from any walls, support beams or other obstructions. 75 square feet = 29- to 36-inch fan 75-144 square feet = 36- to 42-inch fan 144-225 square feet = 44-inch fan 225-400 square feet = 50- to 52-inch fan The height of the ceiling will also play a role in choosing the right ceiling fan. According to federal regulations, a ceiling fan must be at least seven feet above the floor once installed. If your ceilings are lower than eight feet, you will need to purchase a flush mount fan. This type of fan installs directly onto the ceiling without the use of a down-rod, which keeps it at the minimum height. Most ceiling fans include a short down-rod, but if you have very high ceilings, or if your ceilings are sloped, you may need to purchase a longer down-rod. These can be found rather easily online or anywhere that ceiling fans are sold. Even if you don’t have sloped ceilings, you may want to purchase a longer down-rod, since the more space between the ceiling and the fan, the better the airflow will be. Choosing Where to Install the Fan When you’re deciding exactly where to place the fan, take precise measurements to ensure the aforementioned clearances are available. Install the fan directly below a support that can hold the entire weight of the fan, and don’t forget to factor in the weight of any light fixtures, assuming the fan has them included. Standard Ceilings vs. Concrete Ceilings The type of ceiling you have will also factor into your ceiling fan installation. If you have a standard drywall or plaster ceiling, the installation will be fairly easy. You’ll cut the hole, install a support brace if necessary, install the outlet box, prepare the wiring and install the fan. However, if you have a concrete ceiling, installation will include a couple of extra steps. You’ll have to locate the electrical supply mains and ensure they come down from the ceiling by at least six inches. You will also need anchors, which you must purchase separately. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for your fan to determine which anchors are best suited for the model. Tools You Will Need: Like any home improvement task, installing your own ceiling fan will require some tools. Besides the obvious fan, you’ll need a ladder to reach the ceiling, a tape measure and a variety of other tools. Gather the following before you begin: Hammer Ladder 4-in-1 screwdriver 3/8-in. nut driver Wire stripper Needle-nose pliers Non-contact voltage tester Wrench set Important Safety Tips Since installing a ceiling fan involves heights, heavy objects and electrical wiring, it is very important that you keep a few safety tips in mind. Above all else, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, and if you have to purchase extra parts, only buy ones the manufacturer recommends. Even if others are cheaper, they could cost more in the long run if you need to replace them or if they create a safety hazard. Before you begin, disconnect the power at the circuit breaker so you don’t get shocked. For added safety, lock the breaker in the “off” position, or if you can’t lock it, attach a warning note to the breaker. Other Things to Keep in Mind Don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily. Even though a ceiling fan typically only takes an hour or two to install, you should carve out an entire afternoon for the project. This way, if there are any unforeseen issues, you will have extra time to handle them instead of trying to rush to complete the project. It also helps to have at least one other person on hand. For one thing, ceiling fans can be much heavier than they appear, so you may not be able to lift it on your own. Even if you can, the extra set of hands will be helpful in handing you tools since it may prove difficult to climb on and off the ladder during the installation process. The Installation Once you’ve prepared for the installation process, it’s time to get started. If you’re replacing an old fan, begin by removing the old unit, keeping in mind to carefully disconnect and separate the wires before pulling the fan all the way down. It is also recommended that you snap a photo of the wires with your cell phone or digital camera so that you can refer back to it when reattaching the wires. If your ceiling fan came with a ball end socket, the next step will be to attach it to the junction box. After that’s attached, you should assemble the new fan according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, install the new unit by connecting the wires according to color. This is where the aforementioned photo will come in handy. Video Demonstration: For more detailed step-by-step instructions, please watch the video below. Takeaways Whether you choose a ceiling fan for its functionality — they can help cut costs of running heating and air conditioning by helping to push the warm or cool air around the room — or you choose your fan to add beauty to an otherwise bare room, these ceiling fan installation tips will ensure you’re ready for an afternoon DIY project.