When you are installing a new ceiling fan in your home, any preparation steps you take can help make your installation task much easier. It is helpful to be ready with the right adapters for your ceiling fan to make sure it fits your ceiling's height and slope, and it is also important to stay safe and take precautions when you work with electricity. Here are some tips to help you get prepared in these two areas with your ceiling fan installation.
To Use or Not Use a Downrod
When you are installing a ceiling fan in your home, it is important to make sure the ceiling fan will sit at the right height from the floor. Most ceiling fan manufacturers recommend to hang a ceiling fan hang no closer than seven feet from the floor. This is to keep occupants in the room safe while your fan is running. Most ceiling heights are eight feet tall, and most ceiling fans assembled with their included downrod will hang less than 12 inches from the ceiling, so your ceiling fan should hang within regulation height. (The downrod is a rod that houses the electrical wires and extends from the electrical ceiling box to the fan's motor.)
If you are installing your ceiling fan on a ceiling that is sloped, you need to install the ceiling fan with the appropriately-sized downrod to hang it low enough and far enough from the ceiling. This is to allow clearance for the blades to rotate without hitting your ceiling.
First, make sure the ceiling fan you are installing can be mounted on a sloped ceiling. Many slope-installation compatible fans are made so they can be installed on a ceiling slope of up to 30 degrees. Usually the fan's packaging will give details about the ceiling's slope it will accommodate. Next, make sure your ceiling's slope is no steeper than 30 degrees. If your ceiling's slope is more than 30 degrees, you will need to add more length to your fan's downrod with a sloped ceiling adapter. To calculate your ceiling's slope, you can use an online calculator to help you.
Low and Extra-High Ceilings
If your ceilings are lower than eight feet, you may need to install the ceiling fan without its downrod. This will mount the ceiling fan nearly flush with your ceiling, making it still within safety code regulations. But this can cause your fan to not work as well. Because there will be less air space between the fan and the ceiling, the fan won't have as much air to to rotate down through the room.
If your ceilings are much higher than eight or nine feet, it can be helpful to replace a short downrod with a longer one to your fan to drop the fan further from its ceiling mount:
- Disconnect the ceiling fan from the ceiling by unscrewing the ceiling mount screws and disconnecting its wiring.
- Set the ceiling fan onto a flat surface so it is right-side-up. Detach the existing, short downrod from the fan motor by removing the cotter pin. The cotter pin secures a second straight metal pin running through the rod and the mount and holds them together.
- Remove the cotter pin at the top of the downrod to disconnect it from the ceiling mount, then slide the downrod off the fan's length of wiring.
- Thread the wiring through the longer downrod, and then reattach the downrod to the ceiling mount and the fan motor using the cotter pins and straight pins.
This will place the ceiling fan closer to you as you are in the room, which circulates the warm or cool air in the winter or summer around you so you can feel the air movement. The ceiling fan will also have more space between it and the ceiling and more air to draw from and circulate around the room.
Take Measures to Stay Safe With Electricity
Now that you have any necessary downrod extensions for your ceiling fan, you can shut off the power to install your new fan. It's important to disconnect the room's power by switching the circuit breaker in your home's power box. Next, test the power switch you will be installing the fan onto by turning on the wall electrical switch. Be sure to keep a working light bulb in the ceiling fixture to see if electricity is still going to that wiring. If you have access to a voltage tester, you can use this instrument to check the wiring behind the old ceiling fixture, making sure there is no power on.
Once you have the power switched off, you can remove the old ceiling fixture and connect your new fan to the existing wiring inside the ceiling. If the old wiring does not look compatible with the new fan electrical box, it is best to hire a residential electrician to rewire any necessary changes for them to be compatible. Some older ceiling fixtures may have different wiring components, or they may have been installed incorrectly and will need to be fixed.
Use these tips to help you get ready for installation of your new ceiling fan.