Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ceiling fans can be easy to install

Ceiling fans can be easy to install if you have some mechanical aptitude. Current ceiling fans come with remote-controls to vary speed and adjust lighting. If your room already has a light fixture in the ceiling, your light fixture probably has one hot or feed wire going to it, the neutral white and the bonding green or copper. Essentially this is a three-wire system. Many new construction homes have four wires available, one for the light and one for the fan motor control and the neutral and ground. If you only have one Hot wire feeding the ceiling junction box, the remote-control fans will work with your application. Additionally some remote-controlled fans use wall controller which sends its signal to the fan just like a TV remote. It just looks like a wall control unit. If you only need the power wire for your remote-controlled fan, please cap off the fourth wire which you will not need to use. This should be shown in your directions that came with the fan assembly.

Once you have acquired a fan you like, assemble it according to the instructions given. Some fans are a bit more complex, ask a friend to help if need be. It is best to make sure it is assembled correctly, having a ceiling fan blade thud you on the head can be annoying. Once you have the pre-assembly completed, you can now prepare the ceiling junction box. Of course I know you have already made sure the power to the ceiling box is turned off and no one can energize it accidentally. Once you have done this, you should find three wires in the J-box. A copper or green wire for bonding. A white wire for the neutral and a red or black wire for the power. If your junction box has a fourth wire, this would be set up for a wall controlled fan switch which is great and allows you to use a non-remote wall controller. I should mention that some all fans come with a wall controllers designed as remotes so don't be confused as these all work with the singular feed in your ceiling junction box.

A word about weight, not yours but a word about the size of your fan. If you have a large fan and its weighted near 12 pounds or more, you may need a special junction box that can support the additional weight. I would recommend you ask someone who knows about these heavier fans if that is what you are going to install. Most fans are lighter and can be installed in most junction boxes without modifications.

Now let's get it up there, the fan that is. Many fans come with a Hanger shaped like a U. Install this hanger onto your box, the screws should be 8/32 types. That means a size 8 diameter or gauge screw with 32 threads per inch. Once you have the hanger installed, pick up your fan motor without the blades installed and hang it on the hanger. This allows you the electrician to hook up the wires without struggling to juggle the motor and wire it at the same time. Connect the bonding wire to the chassis as noted in the instructions. Next connect the white neutral wire, and now the black wire. Swing the fan into place using the parts provided. Some have brackets, some use a metal plate while others use preformed mounting bases. Use your instructions and you will have a fan in no time. Smaller fans may require you to pre-assemble your blades before hanging the fan. I always found installing the motor first and then installing the blades last is much easier. It does require however, you to work above your head to get the blades attached.

Once you have the fan hanging, the blades installed and everything tightened you can now step off the ladder, take a deep breath, then install the wall controller as provided. These all vary in design but they all follow similar procedures. Remember, you will have a line and load situation here. This means, the line side is the set of wires the feed into the switch box from the panel while the Load side is going to your fan. This is critical so make sure you understand the difference. Connect the Load side first: Connect your bonding wire first. Then connect your white neutral wire. Then your hot wire. Next do the Line (incoming) side next: Bond or ground should already be made up to the new controller. Next wire your white neutral to the controllers neutral for the Line side. You may have already wired your neutrals together according to your instructions. Now wire your Hot or Power wire to the Line side of your controller. If you have the fourth wire in there, cap it off or use it for the motor control and connect it accordingly to your directions. Red to Red is usually the case here. Once completed, make yourself some Iced Tea and enjoy your new fan.

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