How to Install a Ceiling Fan & 5 places Not to Install One

unscrewing fan assemblyInstalling a ceiling fan can vary from a very simple job that can be performed by a homeowner with basic handyman skills to one that is somewhat complex requiring the services of a qualified electrician.  There are many factors that need to be considered when dealing with ceiling fans: ceiling height, whether ceiling is sloped, condition of existing outlet box and whether it is adequately supported, access above the ceiling, how many switches are to be installed, will there be dimmers or remote kits installed, if the fan is to have a light kit, etc.   Materials required may include: fan brace, electrical switch, cut-in boxes, switch plate, romex and staples, down-rod, mounting kit,  pancake box and ceiling medallion.

Most homeowners should limit self installations to simple replacements of existing fans with a new fan where there will be no changes in the switching requirements.  Even replacing light fixtures with a fan can get complicated due to the electrical code requirement that requires a supported or braced electrical box.  Hiring a handyman rather than a qualified electrician to do the installation can also present problems.  A certified/licensed electrician not only will be able to properly install the fan according to the electrical code but they will also be taking notice of any other potential electrical deficiencies or code violations they observe while performing the installation.  An experienced technician will normally remove your electrical panel cover as part of the installation and check for problems that may require repair.

For safety reasons, do not install fans in the following circumstances.

  1. Where blades will be below 7ft from the floor
  2. Where metal blades will be below 8ft from the floor
  3. Where the fan is too near a bunk bed
  4. Where fans can hit cabinet doors
  5. Where blades pass under a light fixture

If we can assist you with your ceiling fan installation or answer any of your electrical questions let us know  or click here to request electrical service in Atlanta, Georgia.

5 replies
  1. Tim Jackson
    Tim Jackson says:

    Good article and great advice! Other areas where caution should be used when installing ceiling fans are around pools, spas, bathtubs, and shower stalls. There are very specific electrical code requirements in these areas to ensure safe operation of the ceiling fan and the safety of the people using them.

    In addition, many ceiling fans will have separate wiring in the ceiling box for the fan and for the light kit. If a homeowner or handyman is not familiar with electrical wiring, they may have difficulty properly identifying and reconnecting the wires correctly.

  2. Gordon Wayne Watts
    Gordon Wayne Watts says:

    Mr. Watts, when I looked at the Google alerts for my name (-: he heh 🙂 and saw this blog entry here, I figured I’d weigh in:

    You are correct here, but what is another bane to fan owners is the fact that CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights), if placed on ceiling fans, get vibration -and these CFL’s (which normally last for DECADES!) get messed up because the vibration wiggles loos the delicate circuitry in them.


    I found out the hard way when I gave some CFL’s to my church a while back -and they started going bad REAL fast! — I guess the only solution if you want them on fans is to make sure the fans are SOLIDLY attached to the ceiling AND are not run on high speed. These 2 factors should (in my mind) greatly reduce the vibration-effect here. (Or, better yet: place the CFL’s in another location.)

    I would NOT prefer to use incandescent (filament) bulbs, since these bulbs use about 400% of the electricity and generate about 400% as much heat as CFL’s of the same lumen brightness: Indeed, both CFL’s and LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) are the “wave of the future.”

    PS: I give you a hat-tip on my blog:

    ‘FLASH!’ Gordon Wayne Watts
    LAKELAND (between Orlando & Tampa), Florida


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