Replace Ceiling Fan Tips from a Ceiling Fan Installer

A few tips on how to replace a ceiling fan, This is one of the best examples of why I LOVE being a handyman, I get to do many small repairs in a single trip, It may be to replace a door knob, then troubleshoot why one light keeps tripping the breaker for the whole room, then replace a ceiling  fan. I thrive with the challenges. I have replaced many, many ceiling fans over the decades. It is best to have a helper when you do this but it can be done by yourself.

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To replace a ceiling fan the first thing you will need is a good sturdy ladder, one that you can trust. As well as a few simple tools, see the side of the replacement fan for the basics, but generally it is a screw driver, a small socket set, and a volt meter.

I prefer using a powered screwdriver/ drill over using a simple screw driver to remove the cover that is sitting right at the ceiling.

Remove this cover by taking the screws out, typically there are three and of course you will need to move the ladder to the other side to be able to reach them. I have tried many times to stay on the ladder and reach around and it is just not safe to do so.

Once you have the cover off, the next step is to make sure that the power is turned off, I do so many of these fans that I just put a heavy piece of tape over the switch. One warning is to double check that the power is actually turned off, over the years the standard for where the power feed comes into the fan has changed, it used to be brought into the ceiling first and then down to the switch, for new construction the power is run into the switch box and then up to the fan or light fixture, so watch out for that. If you come across that then you will need to turn the power off at the breaker box, if you are unsure then just turn power off at the breaker.

After the power is confirmed off with a meter.

Separate out the four wires and take a photo of these wires now, you will need this photo later if you run into trouble. 

There should be 4 wires from the fan, a white, black, blue and green.

The standard is the white wire connects with the white, black ( hot wire ) connects with black, and the green wire connects to the green or bare copper wire. The blue wire is what gives most people trouble, this wire is for the light fixture, if you do not have a separate switch for the lights and the fan then this wire connects with the black wire and the black from the fan. 

After the wires are disconnected take the fan down from the ceiling. Remove the old fan bracket while you are up on the ladder.

Assemble the new fan and install the new bracket to the ceiling electrical box, this must be tight with no movement in the bracket, if it is not tight it will let the fan wobble when it is running.

Replace the ceiling fan

 Hang the fan into the new bracket and follow the manufactures instructions, I prefer to install the fan blades while it is on the floor but some designs are different and you will need to install the blades while on the ladder. This part is not fun, trying to stand on a ladder and hold the blade to motor assembly, and then put a screw on the screw driver ( a magnetic screw driver bit is magical for this task and now some cheap brands are using aluminum screws ) and line it all up at the same time.

Connect the wires and turn the power back on and finish the assembly.If you run into trouble this is where the photo you took when you started comes into play, if everything is working correctly then you can simply delete the photo.

Here is a video on YouTube from Lowes as well.

Some of the other tasks we can help you out with can be found here


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