10 Tips for Installing a Ceiling Fan in Your Home

Ceiling fans have evolved from practical devices in our homes to elements of design aesthetics that enhance a room. Installing a ceiling fan is a relatively easy job that you may be able to do on your own if you have some experience with DIY projects.

If you are not comfortable with working around electricity or with tools, call Peterman Brothers. We offer residential electrical services for homeowners in the Indianapolis area, and we are happy to help you install your ceiling fan.

1. Choose a Good Location for a Ceiling Fan

One of the most common myths about ceiling fans is that they help to cool your home faster or better. This is not the case. However, what a ceiling fan can provide is a different type of cooling within a specific area.

Ceiling fans work by creating a breeze that evaporates moisture on your skin. This is why you feel cooler under a ceiling fan compared to a room that does not have one. With that in mind, choose where you want to put the ceiling in your home.

Some of the more common indoor areas are bedrooms and living rooms. You can also install ceiling fans on your covered porch to keep you cooler than the shade alone. You also need to make sure that the mounting location has a strong stud in the ceiling that can hold the weight of the ceiling fan.

2. Select a Ceiling Fan for Function and Looks

No matter the size of a room, a ceiling fan will attract some attention. You want to choose a fan that looks great and works well for your needs. As the popularity of ceiling fans as decorative elements has increased in recent years, you can find just about any style you want — contemporary, country chic, rustic, exotic, or simple and clean. You should also consider if you want to integrate lighting into your new ceiling fan.

3. Choose the Right Size for Your Room

For smaller rooms (less than 75 square feet), the fan should have a blade span of 29 to 30 inches. Slightly larger rooms (up to 150 square feet) require a 42-inch blade span. The next level is a 52-inch blade span for rooms between 150 to 250 square feet. The largest ceiling fans have blade spans of 54 to 60 inches and work for rooms between 250 to 400 square feet. If you are installing a ceiling fan on your covered porch, calculate square footage based on the area that is covered.

4. Prepare the Work Area

While you may be able to install a ceiling fan on your own, parts of the process can be awkward if you don’t have a helping hand. When you are ready to install your new ceiling fan, prepare the area where you will be working. We recommend that you remove any fragile objects and cover the furniture with a tarp or drop cloth. This prevents any mishaps due to debris falling from the ceiling or the accidental drop of the fan components.

You also need to do a bit of investigation to ensure that the electrical components in the ceiling are capable of managing a new ceiling fan. If you are replacing a ceiling fan, it is likely wired properly. If you are adding a ceiling fan, this is an important step.

5. Turn Off the Electricity

Before you do any type of work with electrical components in your home, always turn off the electricity at the breaker box. If you are not familiar with the wiring configuration in your home, we recommend that you turn off breakers for the room where you are installing the ceiling fan, as well as any breakers that provide power to surrounding areas. When it comes to electricity, extra caution is always advisable.

6. Install the Junction Box

If you have an existing light or ceiling fan where you are installing the new one, the first step is to remove the fixture and mount the junction box. A junction box is an aluminum shell that contains all of the electrical wiring for your ceiling fan. The boxes are used throughout your house to supply electricity to individual lights, outlets, and switches.

Your new ceiling fan comes with a metal brace to help hold the weight of the fan. Insert the brace through the opening in the ceiling and center it. You attach the brace by twisting it to connect the teeth with the joist in the ceiling. Next, secure the brace in place with the bracket that is in the ceiling fan packaging. Lastly, feed the electrical wire for your ceiling fan through the bracket.

7. Follow the Manufacturer’s Directions

It is best to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the remainder of the process. Read through the instructions and check to make sure that you have all the tools and parts. As you follow the steps, double-check the work that you have done thus far by checking the tightness of bolts, electrical connections, and the security of the fan components.

8. Double Check the Wiring

Before you cover the opening in your ceiling, take another look at the electrical wiring and connections. You want to make sure that the connections are secure. Also, look for signs of damage to the wiring that may have happened during the installation.

9. Test the Fan

Once you complete the installation of your new ceiling fan, test it for proper operation. We recommend that you let it run for a few minutes. Turn off the fan, and check around it for any hot spots and signs of electrical burning. What you want to look for is either blackened areas in the ceiling or on the fan, as well as a pungent odor that indicates the wiring is damaged. If you notice either of these signs, turn off the electricity at the breaker box, and remove the entire ceiling fan.

Once you have done this, contact Peterman Brothers to have a technician come by and check the wiring. We can make any necessary repairs and even complete the installation of your ceiling fan.

10. Set the Fan Direction

You turn your ceiling fan on and off with the cord that is mounted in the central base of the fan. If the fan is connected to a wall switch, you can turn it on with the cord and then use the wall switch to operate it. The fan also has a small toggle switch on the side of the central base to set the direction of rotation. The direction of the ceiling fan is based on some simple characteristics that contribute to the process of heat exchange inside your home.

When your AC is running in the summer, you want to push that cooler air downward, so the fan needs to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction. If the toggle switch is not labeled, you can stand under the fan while it is running to see the direction of rotation. During the winter, your heating system is running to keep your home cool.

Colder air tends to stay near the ground, so you want to pull it upward to mix with the heated air. This can be done by running the ceiling fan in a clockwise direction. Also, keep it at the lowest speed during the winter.

Get Help With All of Your Electrical Needs

Peterman Brothers offer expert plumbing, heating, electrical, and cooling services for homes in the Indianapolis area. Call us today to learn more and schedule an appointment with one of our technicians.

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