DIY, Home Improvement

How to Install a Ceiling Fan


I live in the south. It’s hot here and I just sat here for a minute or so trying to think of one person I know locally who does not have a ceiling fan in each bedroom of their home. I got nothing. It’s just how it is down here. I know it might be more popular design-wise to have a beautiful chandelier hanging over your bed (believe me, I love that look) but if I ever tried that, my husband for sure would be bunking with the kids in their blissfully breezy rooms. When it’s mid summer and setting your AC below 76 means going broke, you better believe that ceiling beast is set on high. So hang on to your sheets, this is how to install a ceiling fan.

Now this fan is being installed in the office of the Central Florida Children’s Home; a home the currently fosters 15 children and runs 100% on donations and volunteers. Last week I corralled a small group of incredibly generous local DIY bloggers for 2 days to redo their office space in desperate need of repairs, maintenance, and style. Thanks to a donation from and, we were able to provide new lighting and fans for the entire space. Awesome!

Here’s what we started with. While functional, it certainly wasn’t helping in the style department.


  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket Wrench
  • Everything else you need will come with the new fan

Step 1
Turn off the power. Since we had an existing fan in place, we turned both the fan and light on. Then, we switched off the breaker (in your breaker box) until the light and fan went off. If there is no existing fixture in place, you can use a simple voltage meter to test the wires and see if they are live. (Some are as low as $3)
Step 2
Remove the old fan. It’s easiest to remove the light shade(s) and blades first. Since our fan was missing the shade, we went right for the blades. This way they’re out of your way and the fan is less bulky. Our’s had hex screws holding them on, your’s might just have regular screws.

Remove the fan canopy. That’s the cover over the fan motor. The screws will probably be near the top on the sides. Don’t worry, your fan is still attached to the ceiling at this point. The canopy is just for decoration, it’s not holding the fan up.

Remove the fan motor and bracket from the ceiling. This is what is holding the fan to the ceiling. There will be probably be 2 nuts to remove. In order for this to come all the way off the ceiling, you will have to disconnect the wires from the ceiling to the fan by unscrewing the wire nuts. They are plastic and can be unscrewed by hand.

Since our old fan had a light, there were 4 wires to disconnect.

  • 1 ground (green wire from the fan, connected to copper wires in the ceiling)
  • 1 power for fan motor (in our case black wire from the fan connecting to black wire in the ceiling)
  • 1 power for light (in our case blue from the fan connecting to black in the ceiling)
  • 1 neutral to complete the circuit (white wire from the fan connecting to white wires in the ceiling)

To make sure the new fan’s light and fan motion worked on the same two switches the office was used to, my husband flagged the black power wires coming out of the ceiling with tape to make sure they got reconnected to the same colors they were connected to in the old fan. Not a huge deal, but if you mixed them up when connecting the new fan, your wall switches would be opposite of what they were before.

Step 3  After opening your fan and getting familiar with the directions and parts…

screw the fan blades to the brackets. Christine (First Home Love Life) helped us out with this task. Usually fan blades have two different finishes, one on each side. Make sure all your blades are facing the same direction.
Step 4

Attach the new mounting bracket to the existing bracket in the ceiling with two screws. The directions will show you what side the wires should run on.

Step 5

Assemble most of the body of the fan according to the directions (minus the blades and light… I find it to be too bulky to hoist into the air if those are attached too early) and hang from the bracket attached to the ceiling. Since our fan had a down rod, that ball on the end of it slips into the bracket easily. This holds your fan up.


Step 6 Attach the wires.

-Both whites in the ceiling attach to the white in the fan (all 3 twisted together with a wire nut)

-The green ground attaches to both grounds coming out of the ceiling

-Black fan motor power was attached to black fan power wire in the ceiling (we knew which one because we labeled them when taking the old fan down)

-Blue light power was attached to black light power wire in the ceiling

The fan will probably come with way more wire than you need. Use a wire cutter to snip away the extra but leave enough so there is some slack. Then strip about an inch of wire coating off of the ends of each wire so the bare wires are exposed to twist together. Cover each connection with a wire nut.

You can see the white wires connected in this picture with a yellow wire nut. When they are all connected, slide the housing cover (canopy) up an secure with screws on the side.

Step 7
Attach the light assembly according to the directions. The wires for this should just plug in and require no wire nuts. Secure the cover with screws.

Step 8

Screw in the fan blades and add the light bulbs and shade.



Step 9
Turn the power back on and enjoy that southern breeze!
This is probably the 5th ceiling fan my husband and I have installed over the years. With the proper safety precautions (turn off the power!), it’s an easy DIY project that can be completed in an afternoon. The children’s home was thrilled and relieved that their office space was fixed, spruced up, and functional again and that they could now focus 100% of their energy on fostering, not fixing.

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