How To Replace A Ceiling Fan

how to replace a ceiling fan
Image by 관성 정 from Pixabay

Have you noticed that your energy bills are highest during summer? It is because all the cooling systems need to work at the same time all the time to ensure that you do not melt under all that heat. One way you can checkmate those bills, however, is by using a ceiling fan on those somewhat sweaty nights. 

Are we saying a ceiling fan is only useful in the summer? Not at all. Although we can all agree that it is needed most at that time to help to circulate the air. Nevertheless, during winter, a ceiling fan in a room will help to pull down the rising warm air.

Moreover, the presence of a ceiling fan in a room would add to the appeal of that room. So, it’s not surprising to see people changing their ceiling fans to newer models even when the previous one is still functional. If your old ceiling fan has seen a thousand better days, or it has suddenly given up on you, or not just blending with the new décor, a replacement is due.

While you can spend a good deal of money on getting an electrician to install your new ceiling fan, you can also decide to do the work yourself. It is not rocket science that needs you to exert all your mental energy and the process will not last forever. About an hour or so will do. Read on to see just how to replace a ceiling fan.

If you simply want to install a new ceiling fan (not replace), click here to read our article on how to install a ceiling fan.

What Is Needed to Replace a Ceiling Fan?

Before you get started with installing your new ceiling fan, you need to be sure you make adequate preparation for your project. There are basic things you will need to carry out a successful ceiling fan replacement. These basics include the following.

A New Fan

It is possible to get carried away with the excitement of setting off on this new adventure that you forget that you have not gotten your new fan yet. Make sure that your new fan comes with instructions or directions for installation

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A Ladder

Getting yourself a step-ladder will be adequate to carry out this project.

Whatever you do, make sure the ladder you intend to use will allow you to reach the ceiling bracket safely without your having to stand on the last two steps of the ladder. A worse case is if the ladder does not provide adequate elevation for you and you have to stand on your tiptoes. That won’t do at all. Do not compromise your safety on the altar of adventure.

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A Non-Contact Voltage Tester

This will come in handy when you are just about to come in contact with the wires. You don’t want yourself getting electrocuted during this project or ever.

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A Screwdriver

Since you will be doing some fastenings with screws, you will need a screwdriver to drive those screws in. If what you have or can lay hold of is a drill, that will work just fine.

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A Wire Cutter

There will be some wire threading and attachments, so a wire cutter will come in handy.

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A Wire Stripper

This will help you take off the rubber ends on wires when you need to twist them together to create an electrical connection.

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A Helper

Due to frequent practice, a professional may not necessarily need a helper. However, depending on your physical strength, you may need someone to support you when you lift heavy stuff or when you need to work on something from two different ends simultaneously. 

How Do You Get The Job Done?

Now that we have gotten our tools together, let us get right to it. Be sure to refer to the manual or instructions on the new fan as you carry out this project. The steps below will guide you.

Turn The Power Off At The Circuit Panel

First things first, turn the power off at the circuit panel. This is the most important part of this project. Please note that merely turning off the light switch in the room where the fan needs to be replaced will not do.

When you check the ceiling box, a lot of wires will be checking you out also. The problem is you might not be able to tell which connects to the circuit the fixture you are working on uses.

Your best bet is to turn off the power to the whole house. That way you are sure that the wires you are working on have no power flowing through them. 

Uninstall The Old Fan

The old has to make room for the new. So, you have to get the old fan off if you hadn’t already done that. Here is where your helper and a screwdriver will come in. Depending on the fan model, you will need to get off the light fixture, the fan blades, and then the fan base. Just unscrew the components until the fan comes off. 

Your helper needs to alert so that they can quickly hold the fan as you work it off the ceiling. It will help if you can take a picture on your phone of how the wires are connected to the old fan. This will help you replicate the arrangement with the new fan.

Install The Ceiling Bracket

The first part of the new fan to be installed is the ceiling bracket. It is the part that holds the fan in place, and it is always hidden by the fan’s structure. Pull the wires from the ceiling through the middle of the ceiling bracket. 

How you secure the new ceiling bracket depends majorly on the design and model of your fan. Please refer to the instructions that came with your new fan. You could use some of the screws provided with the new fan to secure the ceiling bracket into the holes on the old electrical box.

Assemble The Fan Base Or Canopy

It is time to assemble components of the fan. Most of this will be done on the floor before you go up the ladder to connect the assembled parts to the ceiling bracket. What you do at this stage will depend on the model of your new fan, so following the manufacturer’s instructions will save you a lot of time and work. 

Depending on the instructions from the manufacturer, you just need to get all the components of the fan together such that you can connect the wires from the fan’s motor to the ones pulled through the ceiling box.  The wires coming off the fan’s motor must, however, be threaded through the fan. From the motor, the wires should be fed through the fan canopy and then through the downrod. 

You will need to cut the wires because they will be too long to thread through the fan. The length of these wires must match the length of the wires extending from the ceiling. So, making them 15 to 20 centimeters longer than the downrod will be adequate. And then, you can use your wire stripper to strip off the plastic at the ends of the wire. This is so they can be connected to the wires coming from the ceiling.

Endeavor to secure the downrod properly with locking screws. The tightness of the screws will determine the sturdiness of your fan. You don’t want your fan to wobble when in motion. 

Attach The Fan Canopy To The Ceiling Bracket

It is time to connect your fan canopy to the wires. You will need to carry the assembled base to the ceiling. This might be strenuous for you, so your helper will support you by handing the fan base to you after you have gotten on the ladder.

Next, you need to secure the fan so you can connect the wires. This can turn out to be an unscheduled arm workout as you try to hold the fan base in place while connecting the wires. 

The only way out is if your new fan is one of the newer models that have a feature that allows you to rest the fan on the bracket. If your fan has this feature, then you will not have to bear the fan base’s weight as you connect the electrical wires. Arm workout aborted!

You can now proceed to connect the wires from the fan motor to the ones passed through the ceiling bracket from the ceiling. The process is not complex at all. It is no different from that of a regular light fixture. Connect the motor’s wires to matching wires in the ceiling bracket. That is, black to black, white to white, and green to green as much as is provided. 

Using wire nuts or caps will help secure the wires. Endeavor to twist on the wire caps with a wrench, if need be, so that the wires do not slip out when you tuck them into the ceiling above.

After tucking the wires neatly into the ceiling, secure the fan canopy to the ceiling bracket. What you need to do is to push the canopy against the ceiling bracket. The base may pop into place without screws. If it does not, however, you will need to screw it into place. Ensure that the screws fit close to the ceiling. This completes the attachment of the fan assembly to the ceiling bracket.

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Attach The Fan Blades

There is no way air can be circulated if there are no blades in the fan. So, it is time to attach the fan blades. Some people decide to attach the blades while assembling the fan components on the floor. That is, before attaching the fan assembly to the ceiling bracket.

One reason this option is preferred by them is that they do not get to spend so much time up on the ladder. Others prefer to wait till the fan base has been secured to the ceiling bracket. Their reason? For them, it gets somewhat difficult to attach the fan assembly with the blades on to the ceiling bracket.

Whatever the case, you will need to attach the fan blades to the fan to get it working. You need to follow the directions for your particular fan model. By the side of the fan base are brackets for the fan blades. All you need to do is slide each blade into a vacant bracket and secure it with a screw. Sometimes, your fan model may require that you use more than one screw to properly secure a blade.

Another way to get this done is to use a screwdriver to keep the screw in place after you must have placed it in the blade bracket. Carefully lift the blade and bracket and screw the blade to the fan motor. Ensure that the screws are tightly fitted so the blades are balanced and the fan does not wobble when in motion.

Add The Switch Housing

The switch housing is what turns the fan on. It has a wire plug that runs from the upper to the lower part. Screw it into place, and ensure the connection is secure so that your fan turns on when you want it to.

Add The Cover Plate

Some fans come with cover plates that add some appeal to your room. Other times, light bulbs are fitted to these plates. Having gotten to this point, Put the cover plate, if any, over the base of the fan till it clicks into place. If your fan does not have a cover plate, there is no need to worry at all. This is because the fan will work just fine.

Turn The Power On

If you are sure that everything has been fitted properly, it is time to test your installation. Flip the circuit breaker on, turn on the switch to see that your fan comes alive like it was fixed by a pro.

For a video demonstration of how to replace an old ceiling fan, check out the video below:

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