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How to Install a Ceiling Fan: Step-by-Step

A man installing a ceiling fan

Are you looking for a way to improve air circulation, increase comfort levels, and enhance the look of any room? A ceiling fan is a surprisingly simple way to makeover a space.

Best of all, learning how to put in a ceiling fan yourself is easy. This step-by-step guide breaks down this DIY project that many homeowners can tackle on a weekend. 

Why Consider a Ceiling Fan?

Ceiling fan in a bedroom hanging over a bed

Ceiling fans can do a lot for any room. They improve air circulation, move hot and cold air evenly, and even create white noise to help you drift off to sleep at night. Replacing an older fan or installing a new ceiling fan is a pretty easy job, too. Here are just a few of the benefits of ceiling fans:

  • Better Air Circulation: Distribute warm air (which rises) and cool air (which falls) evenly throughout a room.
  • Lower Energy Costs: Ceiling fans are energy efficient, requiring less energy than an air conditioner. Raise the thermostat in spring and summer and lower it in fall and winter to enjoy energy savings.
  • Cooler Air in the Summer: The gentle breeze from a ceiling fan can make a room feel cooler and less humid. 
  • Decorative Appeal: Ceiling fans are available in a wide range of styles and designs. Like any lighting fixture, they can serve as an eye-catching part of your décor. 
  • Lighting Integration: Many ceiling fan kits include optional built-in lighting. You get the dual function of cooling and illumination in a singular fixture. 
  • Space-Saving: Ceiling fans don’t take up valuable floor or table space. Because they’re mounted above, they work well even in small rooms. 
  • Move Low-Quality Air:  Cooking smells and stagnant air are no match for most ceiling fans. They circulate the air, helping it feel and smell fresh.
  • Quiet Operation: These days, ceiling fans are whisper-quiet and, in many cases, almost completely silent. This makes them a great choice for a bedroom or nursery. 
  • Versatility: Many ceiling fans are designed for outdoor use on patios, porches, and three-season rooms. Ceiling fans are a great way to make outdoor entertaining comfortable. 

Types of Ceiling Fans: Choosing the Right One

If you’re ready to select a ceiling fan, there are several factors to consider. The size of the fan, type, rating, and more should all factor into your choice. Here are the main considerations when choosing an ideal ceiling fan for the room.

Room Size and Ceiling Height

A flush mounted ceiling fan

Most fan kits will indicate the ideal room size. For small rooms, 29-36 inches in diameter is usually suitable. Medium-sized rooms, up to 175 square feet, may require fans that are 42-48 inches in diameter, and larger rooms may need fans 52 inches in diameter or larger. The fan should hang at least 7 feet above the floor. If your room has a low ceiling, you should look at low-profile and flush-mount options. 

Airflow and Efficiency Ratings

A ceiling fan that is on

Another factor to consider in fan selection is the CFM or cubic feet per minute rating. This rating helps measure the fan's airflow efficiency, with a higher CFM offering better air circulation. Many ceiling fans may also include an Energy Star rating, indicating better energy efficiency (thus, more energy cost savings for you).

Style, Design, and Blades

A stylish silver ceiling fan

Today’s ceiling fans are available in many different styles, from modern to traditional, industrial to rustic. You’ll want to select a color and finish that complements your home’s aesthetic. The blades are also available in many different colors and materials. Consider damp-resistant materials for outdoor and kitchen fans and wood blades for a more elegant appearance. For most modern fans, blade number is a matter of style preference rather than performance.

Lighting Inclusion

A ceiling fan with lights lighting up a dark room

Are you putting your fan in a room without an overhead light fixture, or are you replacing an overhead light with a ceiling fan? Many ceiling fans include integrated ceiling light fixtures. Choose the type of lighting you prefer—LED, fluorescent, etc. to ensure you get the right amount of light for the room.

Control Options

A person turning on a ceiling fan with a remote

Fans are controlled by several different methods. There are the traditional pull chains and wall switches. These days, you can also find ceiling fan selections that you can control with a remote or with your Smart home system. Select the option that's easiest for you to use, and that blends with your existing home technology.

Indoor or Outdoor Use

A ceiling fan hanging above an outdoor porch

There are other considerations when selecting a ceiling fan as well. For example, if the fan is placed on a porch or in a three-season room, you should look for a fan kit rated for outdoor use to withstand moisture.

If you're replacing an existing ceiling fan or fixture, look for a new fan with similar size measurements and features, assuming they fit your needs. The mounting kit and power requirements will often be similar, making it easy to install a new ceiling fan.

The Tools & Materials to Install a New Fan

A man standing on a ladder installing a ceiling fan

Once you’ve selected the fan kit that meets your needs, you’re ready to install the new fan. It’s important to gather your tools and set aside some time to work on the project. Clear the room so you have plenty of space to work. To install a ceiling fan, you’ll need the following:

Before you begin the project, it's critical that you make sure there is no power running to the existing fixture. Turn off the power switch in your breaker box or fuse box to ensure the electricity is off. Use a voltage tester as an extra precaution. If you aren't comfortable working on electric projects, you may need a professional to assist with the installation.

How to Install a Ceiling Fan in 7 Steps


Step 1. Prep: Remove the Existing Fixture

A man removing a ceiling fan

Carefully remove the existing light fixture or fan from the ceiling. Typically, you will need to unscrew the existing fan from the wall mount and disconnect the fixture from the electrical box in the ceiling by disconnecting electrical wires. Once this is complete, unbox the new fan kit and measure the mount and fan housing against the existing ceiling box. You may need to widen the hole in the ceiling if the mount size is different.

Step 2. Install the Fan Bracket

A man installing a ceiling fan bracket

The next step is to attach the new fan mounting bracket to the electrical box. Ensure the mount is securely fastened, following the instructions within the new fan kit. Most kits will include mounting screws to make your DIY ceiling fan installation easy. 

Step 3: Review the Fan Components

Ceiling fan parts sitting on a table

Depending on the fan model you’ve selected, you may need to assemble the various parts of the fan, attach the blades to the motor housing, or add light bulbs to the light fixture. Typically, the assembly is completed after you mount the fan motor to the mounting bracket in the ceiling, but carefully review the instructions. Inventory the fan components to make sure each piece is included in the kit. 

Step 4: Wire the Fan to the Electrical Box

A man wiring a ceiling fan

Now it's time to connect the new fan to your house wiring. Take a moment to check that the electricity is still completely powered off at the breaker box. In most cases, the wiring process means connecting wires of like colors: black should be connected to black, blue wire to blue, white wire to white, and green wire to green or bare copper (the ground wire). Use wire nuts to secure each connection and electrical tape to insulate them as needed. 

Step 5: Attach the Fan to the Mounting Bracket

A person attaching a light to a ceiling fan light

Once the wires are attached, you can hang the fan onto the bracket. Some fan kits may include a hook to help support the fan during the wiring process. Follow the instructions to mount the fan to the ceiling. Use a screwdriver to attach the fan to the mount securely. 

Step 7. Test the Fan and Enjoy

A ceiling fan hanging in a kitchen

Restore the power to the circuit by turning the switch on the breaker box. Test the fan and light to make sure that they operate correctly. You may need to balance the fan if it wobbles. Many fan kits include a balancing kit to help you get it hung at a level balance. A balanced fan will operate quietly and safely, so it's essential to get it right. Once you've double-checked the connections and made the final adjustments for optimal performance, you're ready to sit back and enjoy the fresh air from your new ceiling fan!

Important Safety Notes

Two workers installing a ceiling fan

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Each ceiling fan model may have specific requirements and special guidelines for installation.

For rooms with a high ceiling, enlist the help of a friend, especially if you're using a tall ladder. It's always a good idea to do DIY projects with a buddy. 

Installing a ceiling fan is an electrical project. If you aren’t comfortable with electrical work, consider hiring a professional to do the installation. Take all safety precautions, including making sure that the power is completely off during the installation process. 

It’s important to make sure that the electrical junction box in your ceiling is rated to support the fan's weight. Most modern electrical boxes in newer homes will include a sticker or inscription with ratings, letting you know the maximum capacity for a light fixture—typically 50 pounds. If you aren’t sure, you may need to check with a professional licensed electrician to confirm that your electrical box is braced against a ceiling joist that can support a ceiling fan. 

Install a New Ceiling Fan with Do It Best

A man standing on a ladder installing a ceiling fan

For most homeowners, replacing or installing a new ceiling fan is a satisfying DIY project. It may take a few hours of work, but having a new fan is well worth the effort. A properly working fan will help you save money on cooling bills, and a new ceiling fan's quiet operation and aesthetics can give the whole room a makeover. 

If you hope to improve air quality and circulation in your home, a ceiling fan is a great option. You'll find everything you need to install or replace a fan at Do It Best. Each fan kit will include specific instructions, but the step-by-step guide above will help you get an overview of this DIY project. 

Today's ceiling fans come in a variety of styles and finishes to complement any décor. Select a fan with a remote control or one that integrates with your Smart home technology for even more convenience. Many fans feature lighting options that can brighten a room, too.

As with any DIY project, carefully follow all safety guidelines, including ensuring the power is completely off at the circuit breaker before starting the electrical project. 

Don’t let a stuffy room get you down. Install a new ceiling fan with Do It Best and get better air quality in your home today!


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