A ceiling fan is a very convenient way to cool a room, and a great way to add some extra interest too. Pillar fans are fine, but the air flow is often blocked by obstructions, or they are an obstruction themselves, and let’s face it, they are not exactly stylish. Even though there are many types of ceiling fan, here is a general guide on how to install one in an old light fitting.
Make sure you have the necessary tools, including a drywall saw, an electrical tester, steps, dust sheet, screwdrivers, hammer, block of wood, and a socket set. Before you start any installation, you need to check whether your ceiling is level, and if it is not you will need to see if your fan will run true without hitting the lower part of your ceiling. In truth ceiling fans are never flush to a ceiling, and the level would need to be way out to need action, but it is better safe than sorry, Using an extra length of down-rod will solve the but be aware of the headroom you need (generally 7 feet). Shut off the electrical supply to the fixture at the breaker box; you can leave the bulb in to make sure it goes out before starting.
Removing the Old Fixture
Remove any ceiling rose or globe, and let the wires drop out of the ceiling (you can now test the electricity supply again with a non-contact voltage tester). Now you can remove the old electrical box as it will be no good to support your fan. This is usually an easy task as you can often simply hammer it off a joist using a block of wood. Some may be fitted to a brace, and if this is so, simply unscrew the box.
Fitting a New Box
The first thing you need to do is make sure the hole in your ceiling is large enough for your new box. If it isn’t, simply trace around the new one and cut with your drywall saw. I would recommend a joist brace to fit your new box; it means that you can fit your fan wherever you want, and that it will be completely secure. Push the brace through the ceiling hole, line it up over the opening, and extend the brace by turning the center of the brace. It will secure itself into the joists and stay there forever. The electrical box is then screwed to the brace bracket (after wiring is fed through it).
Fitting the Fan
Your new fan will come with some form of fitting collar or clamp that will connect to the electrical box or a joist, and you need to make sure this is fitted as securely as possible. This is what will support the weight of the fan and absorb any vibration, so it needs to be fitted correctly. A mounting plate is always the safest option but not all fans fit this way. You will now have to assemble the fan motor, a suitable length down-rod, and the canopy fitting. Make sure you have threaded the wiring through the system before permanently fixing it all together.
Different fans will have different requirements, depending on how the fan and lights work (some even have remote controls), so it is impossible to cover them all here. However, your fan will have come with wiring instructions, and you should follow these to the letter. Never twist bare wires together; always use the correct electrical connectors, and keep yourself safe.
Once your wiring is connected, all you need to do is to fit the canopy to the collar or plate. You must make sure that you use the screws supplied, and never, ever, use smaller ones. Some of these fan units can be quite heavy, and I would suggest having some help on hand for this last part.
This job will take a couple of hours at most, and assembling the fan is often the most troublesome part, but at least now you will have a great way to circulate air in your room.