How to install a ceiling fan
Are you thinking about buying a ceiling fan but are not sure how to fit the unit to the ceiling? A little knowledge of DIY will help already, the installation of a ceiling fan is not much different from putting up a ceiling light. This guide will show you how it’s done. In case of any uncertainty, get in touch with us or consult a licenced electrician.
Fitting your ceiling fan is easier than you might think
Ceiling fans are supplied in single parts to fit in the smallest boxes as possible. The delivery includes assembly instructions, the fan blades and holders, the motor and housing, as well as the drop rod (except hugger mount ceiling fans) and the ceiling bracket. Depending on the order the package also includes a light kit as well as a remote/wall control or pull cords. Check if all parts are included and undamaged as soon as you receive the package. To do so, place all parts on a blanket or soft mat to prevent scratches. Some of the parts have already been pre-assembled in the factory to make it easier for you.
Clean your ceiling from dust, deposit, etc. at the location you want to hang your fan. The entire unit is not put up just yet, you still have time to paint your ceiling in a new colour if you want to. Ceiling fans with lights come into their own on ceilings with a light, pale colour.
Get a ladder and the required tools ready. The screws for installation, lustre terminals and sometimes a hex-wrench are included. Furthermore, you need a screw driver, drilling machine and pliers. Make room on the floor and cover it with a large blanket or textiles in case smaller pieces fall down. Easier steps during installation, such as the fastening of the blades on the blade holders can be done while sitting at the table. Depending on the fan model, this will take about half an hour.
Finding the right position
Generally speaking, you can apply a ceiling fan at any place that has a power cable. Ideally, the ceiling fan is positioned at the centre of the room where it replaces a previous ceiling light fitting. If you are fond of your exisiting light and would rather fit the fan in a different location, keep in mind that the fan now requires its very own connection to the electric circuit.
The ceiling fan must have a minimum clearance to the walls, furniture and curtains to prevent it from wobbling due to the air resistance. Depending on the model the distance ranges from 10 to 20cm (please check instruction manual). Even a roof joist, sloping ceiling or tall massive furniture such as wardrobes can obstruct the airflow. Due to safety reasons no curtains, drapes or materials with a high fire hazard should be located too close to the motor.
Ideally, the fan is mounted about 2.3m above the ground. Not only does this ensure ideal air circulation, but also prevents any accidents with hair or light textiles. Furthermore, the ceiling must be able to carry the rotating motor. The weight of a rotating fan is higher than a model that is not moving. The installation on sloping ceilings is possible with most fans if they have a ball-and-socket joint. We add a note in our product description letting you know how many degrees of pitch the sloping ceiling can have at most. Super slim hugger-mount fans are mounted directly to the ceiling without any rod in between the ceiling bracket and motor housing. They can only be applied to straight, horizontal ceilings.
The images above show a hugger-mount ceiling fan and a model that can be applied to sloping ceilings.
Assembly and electrical connection
The assembly instructions of the ceiling fan explain how to connect the fan to the power grid and what you need to look out for. Manufacturers try their best to design their products as user-friendly as possible pre-assemble as many parts as possible in the factory. This helps to facilitate the whole installation process in your home. Seeing that the ceiling fan is hooked into the bracket directly above your head, it is best to ask a second person to help. If you are not familiar with anything related to wiring, do not attempt to fit the fan yourself! Consult a licenced electrician.
☝ Before you start working on your old light fitting or other cables, it is imparative that you completely switch off the power supply in the room on the fuse box!
Remove the old light fitting and disconnect the wires. Usually two or three cables are coming from the ceiling. The yellow/green earth conductor, the brown/black phase conductor and the blue/grey neutral conductor. The brown or black phase conducts the current. Do not thin out its copper wires and do not connect it with any other cables! The image shows an example of the Raja ceiling fan. The instruction manual shows the correct wiring. As you can see, the connections are marked and labelled in different colours. This should prevent any mistakes.
Place the ceiling bracket of the fan where you want it to be. If any holes have not been drilled yet, mark the spots with a pencil and drill the holes. Make sure to keep enough distance to the wiring in the ceiling and do not drill too deep. Screw on the bracket of the fan. Connect the wires from your ceiling with the cables from the ceiling mount. Pay attention to the sequence earth, neutral and finally phasephase. Move around the cables until they are fully covered by the fan’s canopy and do not show once the fan is fully installed.
Now get to the drop rod and canopy of the appliance. In case of smaller ceiling fans, the cables are often already pulled through the rod. Usually, cables are included in rods with up to 46cm length. They lead from the motor of the ceiling fan through the rod to the upper opening of the canopy. Fasten the ceiling rod to the fan housing with the included screws. Lead the pre-assembled ceiling fan to the ceiling hanger bracket and hook in the housing. Connect the cables from the drop rod and the ceiling. Now attach the mountings to the bracket.
Bolt down the aerodynamic fan blades on their holders. Sometimes fan blades are supplied pre-mounted in the box. If you attach the complete blades to the fan now, pay attention to correct alignment. Use a ruler to check if the gap between the ceiling and bottom of the fan is the same on all blades. Make sure to measure all blades from the same side. Measure the points of the blades as well as the centre of the blades. Should necessity require it, gently bend the blade holders upwards or downwards.
Some ceiling fans like the Pepeo Turno comes with a total of 4 blades and allows you to fit 2, 3 or all 4 of them. The number of blades influences the airflow of the fan. The decisive factor is the shape of the blades, though. Curved or straight, mounted at an angle or without any pitch. Blades mounted at an angle circulate a bigger air quantity with the surface of the blades. Fans with blades that are mounted straight usually have 5 or more blades to ensure the same airflow rate as pitched blades. That is why it is not possible to generalize, a fan with three blades does not necessarily circulate less air than a fan with five blades. The manufacturers design their products in a way that ensures optimum airflow.
Blades made of natural material e.g. spruce wood vary in density, the blades’ own weight is therefore different. In turn, the difference in weight leads to unwanted wobbling of the fan. High-quality fans include blades that have been weighed and sorted by a machine to ensure that only blades with the same weight range are packed into the same box. However, even if blades have the same weight, they can still vary in density due to the growth of the timber. This causes slight swinging not visible to the naked eye, which is no problem for the fan at all.
The light fitting or add-on light kit are connected to the wires with the same colours on the fan. If required, insert a bulb and mount the glass shade according to the manual. Pull cords are usually already connected to the motor. If the delivery includes a remote control, you will receive a handset and a receiver unit. The receiver is placed between the ceiling mount and the ball head of the drop rod (underneath the canopy). The connector plugs of the receiver are linked with the cables from the ceiling mount on one side and with the cables from the motor on the other side, meaning it acts as an intermediate part. If the receiver does not come with connector plugs, you can use lustre terminals.
When using a special ceiling fan wall controller for fans without any kind of light fitting the old light switch you have been using for your chandelier is replaced with this new fan controller. If the fan does have a light kit, you require a different wall controller with built-in light switch. This controller unit needs two live wires and the neutral wire. This allows you to control the fan and light separately.
Installation of optional remote controls or wall controllers.
Switch the power on again on the fuse box and use the pull cord or the wall control of the fan: Check the light and fan speeds.
After the installation
It is necessary to operate your new ceiling fan for 24 hours non-stop so it can run in properly. You can simply let it rotate on low speed to save energy. During the first hours it is quite normal for the fan to wobble and swing. This should have adjusted after the running-in period of the motor. If the fan still wobbles, shakes or swings after this time span, the blades could be the cause. Unbalanced blades result in a shifting of weight. The ceiling bracket must be fastened evenly and properly to the ceiling, check with a mechanic’s level. Can you rule out any possibilities of an unfavourable position of the fan? Do all blades have the same clearance to the ceiling? Loose screws on the blade holders are another cause to be considered.
Basically, you should keep your fan clean. Dust and other deposit impacts the rotation and lead to overheating. Remove dust from the blades on a regular basis. Chunky dirt can be removed with a mild cleansing agent (damp, not wet. Not on the motor). A continuous imbalance leads to premature wear and noise development. You can counteract this by using little weights that are placed on the blades. Most fans already come with little self-adhesive weights to balance out the ceiling fan. Usually it is not necessary to balance out a fan like this, because the manufacturers sort blades in a way that they have the same or similar weight in one box.
Contemporary ceiling fans operate very quietly, DC motors in particular are virtually soundless. Any frequency noise or buzzing indicates faulty installation and can be solved.
- Check if all parts mentioned in the instruction manual are present
- Are the single parts in good condition?
- Switch off the power in the room on the fuse box
- Check if the power supply is really cut off
- Attach the ceiling bracket with a drilling machine
- Link together the power cables with the connections according to the manual
- If needed, cut off part of the rod with a metal saw, then fasten the rod on the canopy
- Bring up the housing to the ceiling bracket and hook it in
- Connect cables from the fan to the ceiling connections
- Fasten the blades to the holders and attach them to the housing
- Connect remote control or wall controller if applicable
- Fasten canopy to the ceiling mount
- Fit light kit if applicable
- Turn on the power supply
- Check ceiling fan, turn light switch on