Installing a ceiling fan in your home

This fan may look pretty, but it took a lot of work in order to learn how to do it the right way.

I consider myself to be a very resourceful guy, but even I need to reach out for help sometimes. Especially since I am new to the DIY world. One of the most fun aspects of building a home is learning what makes your home a home. It’s also a lot of fun to learn about all of the potential projects you might have to take on in the process. After so many years of apartment living you’d think I wouldn’t be too excited about taking these projects on. It’s easy to get used to calling up maintenance and having them do it all for you. Conversely, you can get to a point where taking ownership of your property and projects becomes a little more important than taking the easy way. I think I have reached that point in my own life. That’s why I was eager to take on the task of installing a ceiling fan in my home.

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Going to Ceiling Fan school

Months before our house was completed, my wife decided it might be a good idea for us to take a ceiling installation class at a local Home Depot. Waking up early on a saturday morning isn’t one of my favorite things to do, but I was curious to see what exactly went into this process. At the time, I wondered if this was something we could do. When I think about doing anything that deals with electronics, I don’t necessarily think i’m the one people think of calling to do the job. From my perspective, this type of work is for a professional. However, I also like a good challenge. I can also thank my blog for the fact that I am willing to take on these challenges as well. Other than waking up early, I was up for the class and ready to go.

I will start by saying that I did learn a lot from our class. I wish we had waited to do it until we moved in, but I can understand how eager my wife was to learn. She actually found great deals on some used ceiling fans in the Facebook Marketplace around this time so I can’t blame her for wanting to get started despite our house not being finished just yet. The only other downside to our class was the instructor himself. Apparently the man had just come back to work after suffering a serious brain injury. This made communicating and understanding his instruction a little difficult. However, he did an amazing job of showing us how it was done. Despite the situation and limitations on his part, I thought he did a great job. More than anything, the fact that he was able to do that despite some of his obstacles made it clear to me that installing a ceiling fan is something I could do. At that point, I was ready to accept the challenge.

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After my morning at ceiling fan school, I felt much more at ease about tackling such intricate looking electrical work.

Learning new lessons as I go

After my wife and I settled in and unpacked our belongings, one of the first real DIY jobs we did in the house was build a ceiling fan for the living room. I would consider this job to be a learning experience. In hindsight, although we were able to get everything to function properly by the end of the afternoon (I think it took us 3-4 hours to do this one), we had some issues getting it all together. Getting the fan to latch into place wasn’t an issue, but getting the plate that connects to the ceiling was a tough task. I think this is due to us not cutting our wiring down to a shorter length. You may want to do that so the plate fits much easier. I also think we should have used electrical tape when connecting the wires and we should have stripped the wires themselves some more in order to make connecting much easier and cleaner. You might think that issues such as running the wrong wires to each other or forgetting to turn off the fuses would have been an issue for us, but it wasn’t. When it came down to it, cleaning up some of those issues would have made the installation go a lot smoother.

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My wife and I have learned some lessons on our own, but the help of her uncle and future brother in law helped a lot too. Adam Trifles (left) and Bart Polizzotti (right) were a huge help to us on this particular day.

Basic tips that should help you

Rather than ramble about every one of our ceiling fan installation parties, I felt it might be better if I went through some of the key components of the installation that you should know. Had my wife and I known a little better going into this, we probably could have gotten through it much faster. Here is a list of things to keep in mind when you install your ceiling fan:

-Read the instructions that come in the box. Every fan is different. We couldn’t have been successful with our projects without the instructions.

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Don’t disregard the instructions that are included in the box. Every fan is a little different. This will go a long way in making your ceiling fan job a success.

-Do the job itself with atleast one other person. It will make the process go much smoother.

-Turn off all breakers for the room/area of the house you are working on. Double check this if you have to. Don’t do anything else until you do this!

-Stage all pieces of the fan prior to starting. This will make the installation easier.

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Staging all of the pieces of the fan can be the difference between getting the job done smoothly and taking a long time to finish the project.

-Take inventory on how much wiring you will need in order to comfortably connect the unit to the ceiling. Holding on to too much wiring from the fan could make installing the unit difficult. Cut some of this down if possible!

-Use a wire cutter designed to help strip a small piece of the colored part of the ceiling and fan wires in order to make connection easier.

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Make sure you bring all of the right tools in order to do the job correctly. Installing a ceiling fan is easier than it looks, but you still need to do the job correctly.

-Pay close attention to what you are wiring. Typically, the copper ground wire from the ceiling connects to the green wire of the fan. make sure the other two wire color connections match each other i.e. black wire connects to black wire, white wire connects to white wire.

-Use electrical tape to keep the fan and ceiling wires connected.

-Tape the cap that protects each wire connection together just to ensure that the wiring stays nice and snug.

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A simple roll of electrical tape could make a big difference when connecting the ceiling wires to the fan wires.

– Pay close attention to the design of the fan itself and the ceiling plate so everything snaps in nicely. It is very easy to miss this when you first start installing fans.

-Have your teammate(s) help you with putting the blades on the fan. This can become very frustrating if you are trying to hold a spinning unit and install blades at the same time. Getting help with this will make the process much easier.

The list above may not be a traditional “how to” guide to installing a ceiling fan, but they are all things I wishI had known prior to doing it. Due to the lessons I’ve learned, installing a ceiling fan has become so much easier over the course of time. I’ve done three of these plus two ceiling lights. The job gets easier and less intimidating the more you do it. Anybody can learn how to do this. Don’t spend hundreds of dollars hiring a professional. With a little help and maybe some lessons from a Youtube video or two, this job can be done at very little cost to you. Other than buying the units themselves (some of which were found for a low price on Facebook Marketplace) and having a few basic tools to do the job, this is one DIY task that is more fun than scary.

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2 Responses

  1. roamy says:

    I just moved house and I was looking to get a fan so this post is exactly what I needed, thanks so much for sharing.

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