5 Tips for the DIY Ceiling Fan Installer
There are many reasons you may choose to install a ceiling fan on your own. Maybe you couldn't find an electrician to help? Do you enjoy an occasional home improvement challange? Or do you want to save a few dollars? Whatever the reason, just remember: electricity is not a hobby, it is dangerous. Always follow all manufacturer's instructions and if you are unsure of what you are doing, then you should consult with your local electrician and/or electrical inspector. With that being said, here are a few tips to help with a successful installation.
Turn the Power Off. Safety first! Always turn the power off before working on any electrical project. Test the power with a voltage meter to be sure you have turned the correct circuit off. Begin by testing on a known hot scorce (to confirm your meter is testing properly), then test the circuit you will be working on.
Check your outlet box for a Ceiling Fan Rating. Not all boxes are created equal! The last thing you want after installing a ceiling fan is for the box to give out. The ceiling fan could fall and possibly harm someone or damage your home. A general purpose round lighting outlet box is not intended to hold a ceiling fan. The National Electrical Code (NEC 314.27[C]) mandates that all Ceiling Suspended (paddle) Fan outlet boxes shall be listed by the manufacturer as suitable for this purpose, and ...the required markings are to include the maximum weight to be supported. If your box doesn't have these markings then it needs to be replaced with a UL listed ceiling fan outlet box.
Mounting Height. When choosing your ceiling fan, keep the mounting height in mind. Choose a downrod that suits your room. The blades of the fan should be at least seven feet above the finished floor. We generally recommend between eight and nine feet for optimal airflow.
Mount the Motor First. Don't install the fan blades before mounting the motor. I've noticed alot of amatuer electricians will install the blades of the fan onto the motor, before hanging the motor. This practice tends to throw the motor off balance, creating a strong wobble effect which is undesirable.
Choose the proper Switch. Speed control switches are a great option for controlling the fan speed. Don't use a light dimmer to control a motor or vice versa. If you find a situation where your light outlet has only one switch leg, a ceiling fan remote control would be a good option for controlling the fan speed and the light brightness separately.
Remember, be safe. Be sure you've properly disconnected the power before engaging in any electrical project. Good luck and happy hanging!
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