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Everything You Need to Know About Ceiling Fans

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Ceiling Fan Installation Guide

Step 1: Mounting Preparation

1.1 Fixture Removal
Begin by shutting off the power to the existing fixture and removing it. Do this by loosening the screws that hold the fixture to the ceiling and then disconnecting the fixture's wires from the leads to the power source in the ceiling. Now, you should be able to see into the ceiling, where you'll notice an electrical outlet box attached to a joist or brace.

1.2 Ceiling Joist vs. Hanger Mounting
You'll need to remove the old electrical box, because you don't want to assume it will support your fan and accompanying mounting bracket. Do so by unscrewing it (or prying it loose if it's secured with nails) and installing a new electrical box rated to support your new fan.

1.3 Ground Wire
The ground wire should be bare or green in color. Attach it to the grounding screw inside the new electrical outlet box.

Ground Wire Image 1 Ground Wire Image 2 Ground Wire Image 3 Ground Wire Image 4
 

Step 2: Ceiling Medallions (Optional)

A ceiling medallion is a decorative piece that can be used to cover holes in the ceiling if necessary. If you're using one, affix it to the ceiling so that the ceiling and medallion holes align using a urethane-based adhesive and finishing nails driven into the joist.

Step 3: Fan Mounting Brackets & J-Hooks

Your new ceiling fan should come with a mounting bracket (or ceiling plate) and may also come with a "J-hook" that will help you install it without an extra set of hands. Pull the wires through the fan's mounting bracket and secure it to the electrical box using the mounting screws provided. If the mounting bracket includes a J-hook, position it pointed toward the floor to assist you in hands-free installation in Step 4.

Fan Mounting Brackets Image 1 Fan Mounting Brackets Image 2 Fan Mounting Brackets Image 3
 

Step 4: Flush Mount vs. Downrod Installation

A flush mount is when you affix the fan flush with the ceiling, while using a downrod allows you to put distance between the fan and the ceiling. The ideal height for a fan is 7 feet from the floor, so you can decide based on the height of the room whether you prefer a flush mount or downrod installation. The canopy is the cone-shaped part that attaches to both the fan and the mounting bracket. For either installation method, you'll first want to (gently) pull the fan wires through the canopy while you have the fan motor on the floor, blades removed, and ready to install. Once complete, you have two options:

4.1 Flush Mount Installation
Begin by attaching the canopy to the fan motor housing with the screws provided. If a J-hook is included, use it to hang the fan from the bracket using the J-hook hole provided in the canopy. If there is no J-hook, you should have someone hold the fan motor while you make the necessary connections. Use wire connectors and connect the fan wires to the lead wires in the ceiling (black to black, white to white and secure the ground to the screw in the electrical box). Once twisted together, push the wires into the box so they won't rattle around in the canopy. Now, secure the canopy to the mounting bracket with the screws provided.

4.2 Downrod Installation
For downrod installation, bring the wires up through the downrod as you pass it through the canopy and screw it into the motor housing, adjusting any lock nuts or set screws provided. If there is a collar yoke, twist the downrod until the holes match and then secure it with a connector pin and cotter pin.

Downrod Installation Image 1 Downrod Installation Image 2
 

Step 5: Attach Fan Blades

Now, for the easy part: Attach each fan blade with the screws provided and check that each screw is tightened well. This should complete your fan installation. Makes sure the fan is off, if possible, turn on the power at the breaker and then switch on your fan to give it a test run.

Fan Blades Image 1 Fan Blades Image 2
 

We hope this information helps you with your next ceiling fan installation!

 

Before you buy...
Pick the fan that's right for you!

As you search among the best ceiling fans on the market for your preferred style and price point, you'll probably come to notice very quickly that the best ceiling fan in the world may not be the best ceiling fan for you. That's because there are several factors to take into consideration when choosing a ceiling fan for your home and we're going to take a look at a few of them here. Once you review these factors you'll be able to better pick a ceiling fan that's perfect for your home and your wallet.

Ceiling Fan Location

The first filter you'll face is the easiest, although one of the most effective in narrowing your selection of ceiling fans. Your ceiling fan's location will determine what follows including size, positioning, functionality and a few other things.

Outdoor vs. Indoor Ceiling Fans
At the top level, you can break fans down between outdoor and indoor ceiling fan models, although if you like the style of an outdoor fan and want to use it indoors there's nothing stopping you from doing that. The only thing you need to avoid is putting a fan suitable only for dry locations in an area that gets damp (e.g. bathrooms, laundry rooms) or wet (outdoors) locations.

Keep in mind, though, that ceiling fan manufacturers distinguish between "damp" and "wet" locations. Be sure to check the installation location information, which will tell you where that particular fan may be placed.

Outdoor Ceiling Fan Indoor Ceiling Fan

Ceiling Fans by Room
This often boils down to a matter of style - as in what ceiling fan design fits best with the room - but the ceiling fan options can be determined by a room's size and purpose.

As stated earlier, a bathroom ceiling fan will require a model built for damp locations. Similarly, a small room will be better served by a fan with smaller dimensions, fewer blades and/or a flush-mount installation option.

Small Room Ceiling Fans Medium Room Ceiling Fans Large Room Ceiling Fans Great Rooms Ceiling Fans Outdoor Fans

Ceiling Fan Size

The next filter will determine the best ceiling fan size for your room. There are many ways to measure a ceiling fan, but the most common are its diameter/blade span, height (from the ceiling) and number of blades.

Here's a handy chart to help you select the best ceiling fan based on room size:

Fan Size Room Size
36" or Less 6' x 6' or Less
37" to 48" 10' x 10'
49" to 55" 12' x 12'
56" or Larger 15' x 15' or Larger

Ceiling Fan Height and Sloping Ceilings
With regard to height, optimum performance will be achieved if your ceiling fan is placed 7 to 9 feet from the floor and many manufacturers will supply a downrod so that you may install your ceiling fan at the appropriate height.

This distance can be accounted for on a sloping ceiling with special downrod mounting, which is a feature available with many ceiling fans. If you have a sloped ceiling, be sure to confirm the fan model you select supports and includes a sloping ceiling adapter kit.

Ceiling Fan Blade Number
Generally, more fan blades mean more air movement, although it will depend on the pitch (angle) of the blades. The greater the pitch, which is represented by a higher rather than lower number, the more air will be moved.

Four- and five-bladed ceiling fans are the most popular, but blade number ranges anywhere from two to six in many designs. Scientifically speaking, there is a limit to how much an extra blade can improve air movement and efficiency, but style is always another matter.

Ceiling Fan With 8 Blades

Ceiling Fan Features

This factor could easily come first in the decision-making process if you're looking for a fan that, say, has a remote control. If a particular ceiling fan function is important you, you may want to use it as your guidepost as you search for the best fan.

Ceiling Fans with Lights
Many ceiling fans feature light fixtures, or may have the option of including or capping a light fixture (masking it from view). In turn, those fixtures may be dimmable, function independently of the fan and/or come with a remote control function. Consider all these options before your fan purchase.

Ceiling Fan With Light Ceiling Fan With Lights

Variable Speeds / Directional Spin
Another feature to consider is how many speeds you would like your ceiling fan to have. Three speeds are common (low, medium and high), but some fans come with more or fewer options.

If you live in a location with seasonal climes, you may also want to consider a multidirectional ceiling fan that can create updraft as well as downdraft. Since warm air rises and cool air settles lower, a ceiling fan that can create an updraft at low speeds will draw cool air up and push warm air down along the walls of the room to help keep your home warmer in winter.

Alternate Blades
In some cases, ceiling fans will support alternate blades that can change the look and performance of the fan. This is a luxury feature and one that basically makes it possible to showcase more than one style with the same model.

Eco-Friendly Ceiling Fans
It's not a stretch to say that all ceiling fans are eco-friendly when you consider how much energy (and money) they can save when compared to other home heating and cooling options, but there are some fans that exceed even this common measure.

Energy Star Logo

These particular ceiling fans may be designated as eco-friendly due to how much air they can move with minimum power output, or because they have officially earned recognition as an ENERGYSTAR® appliance.

Ceiling Fan Style

There are many facets to a ceiling fan's style: finish, blade design and number, material and lighting features are just a few. Taken together, these qualities can be grouped into several categories that include traditional, transitional and contemporary among others.

This is most helpful when you know the style of the room you're outfitting and want to match the ceiling fan to it. Otherwise, your search may be more successful if you focus on price, features, finish or size, as mentioned above.

 

We've made it easy by splitting our selection into the style categories above. Select any one or return to the Ceiling Fan main page to compare prices and features across categories.

We hope these tips help you in your search for the best ceiling fan for your home!

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