I’ve installed probably a dozen ceiling fans in my life. Pretty Handsome Guy was remarking to me last night, “Wait, you mean you’ve never written a tutorial on how to install a ceiling fan on the blog?” It’s true, most of the installs were pre-blogging days. For this reason, I was truly excited when Casablanca contacted me and asked if I wanted one of their new ceiling fans. I knew it was a great opportunity to put together a tutorial for you so you could see that installing a ceiling fan is not a difficult DIY project! Plus, we had Casablanca fans in our previous house and they are well made and will last a long time. Therefore, I have no hesitation recommending Casablanca to you!
Okay, and I also wanted to change your mind about ceiling fans and design aesthetics. I know that some designers break out in hives when a client wants a ceiling fan. And who can blame them when the stereotypical ceiling fan looks like this:
Oh yes, she’s a beauty. And she’s all mine, complete with moldy canopy and boobilicious globe. In all seriousness, that fan was U-G-L-Y. Plus, it was a bit too small for our porch. (You can figure out what size ceiling fan you need for your space in the FAQ section on the Casablanca site.) You can now understand why I was actually delighted to hang out on top of an 8 foot ladder in 95 degree heat to install a new ceiling fan. Yes, I was excited, especially because Casablanca has so many beautiful options for stylish fans. And I know, they have ceiling fans that will surely have the designers changing their tune.
Safety, Prep, and Hints Before You Install a Ceiling Fan:
Before I give you the full tutorial for installing a ceiling fan, we need to talk about prep work and safety. First, do not attempt any electrical projects until you have turned off the power to the fixture you are working on. I like to turn on the fan and light (they are often on two different power lines) and then shut off the power. This gives me the visual assurance that the power is indeed off.
Next, if you are replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, you MUST make sure that the junction box is attached to a support. This means the box is screwed into a ceiling joist, brace, or the junction box is attached to a Ceiling Fan Brace. Do not attach a ceiling fan to a box that is not able to hold the weight of the fan (and all the vibration it will produce over the years.) If you don’t have proper bracing for your fan—have no fear—look into purchasing a Ceiling Fan Brace that can be installed from inside the room (no need to crawl into the attic.)
Finally, you need to have a Sturdy A-Frame Step Ladder tall enough to reach 1-2 feet below the fan during installation. And having an assistant who can hand you the motor when it’s time to hang the fan is definitely a bonus.
One handy tip: You will most likely drop a screw during the installation. If you are working on a porch with slats, lay down a blanket under the ladder to catch them. This also helps aid in a quick clean up from dust and dropped dry wall debris.
Ready to get your cool on by installing a beautiful new ceiling fan? Let’s take a spin shall we:
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
Turn off the power to your light fixture/fan.
Remove the existing fan and/or light fixture:
Check to make sure the fan AND light do not have power to them.
Begin by removing the existing light fixture or fan. All ceiling fans are different, but most require removing the light kit before you can get access to the fan blades and motor. Assess the fixture and look for screws to unscrew.
Remove the light bulbs and save them for another fixture.
Keep removing screws until you can access the wiring. Disconnect the wiring from the light kit to the fan.
Remove the fan blades one at a time. It helps to remove blades opposite of one another to keep the fan semi-balanced.
Disconnected the wiring from the fan to the ceiling. Remove the ceiling fan motor. (Sing a tune if you like.)
And finally, remove the mounting bracket.
Prepare the new fan for installation:
The fan I installed is the Casablanca 56″ Caneel Bay Aged Steel Ceiling Fan. The new fan is not only stylish, but also a full 6″ wider than the previous fan. This means better airflow on our screen porch.
Before hanging the fan, the decorative arms need to be assembled. Screw the arms to the decorative cup:
Attach the arms to the side of the fan motor. Hand tighten the decorative screws.
Insert the downrod through the decorative cup. Thread the wires through the top of the downrod. Loosen the set screw.
Turn the downrod into the top of the fan until it is tight. Tighten the set screw securely using pliers to insure a tight hold.
Slip the canopy over the downrod.
Trim the excess wires a little shorter (I like to leave 8-12″ more than I think I’ll need.) Strip approximately 3/4″ of the insulation off the ends of the wires.
Locate the hanging bracket and secure it to the stud that holds the junction box, or secure it to the junction box if it is bolted to a ceiling fan brace. Pull on the hanging bracket to make sure there is no movement and it feels secure.
Bribe your assistant to hand you the ceiling fan motor. Gently slip the top of the downrod into the hanging bracket. Be careful not to pinch any of the wires.
Now you can let your assistant go. The hanging bracket will hold the fan while you make your wiring connections.
Wiring a Ceiling Fan for Wall Switch Control (with 2 power wires – one for the fan and one for the light):
Most of the ceiling fans installed in the past used two switches if it had a light. This means there are two separate power wires that are in the junction box. Plus, one neutral wire and one ground. This is the standard installation for a ceiling fan that doesn’t have a remote and a receiver.
Always attach your ground wires first (copper, bare or green wires). You will want to attach the wires together with a wire nut and then wrap part of the bare wire around the ground screw attached to the mounting bracket. Or in the case of the Casablanca fan, attach the green and yellow striped wire (from the hanging bracket) to the green wire from the fan and the ground wire from your ceiling box.
Next, attach the white neutral wire from the ceiling box to the white wire from the fan.
Attach the black wire from the ceiling box to the black wire on your fan. And finally, attach the additional power wire (usually red, but can be black or striped) to the blue wire (this color may vary) from the fan.
Gently tuck the wires into the ceiling junction box. It is good practice to put the white neutral wires on the opposite side of the box as the red and black power wires.
Cover the wires and mounting bracket with the canopy and screw it into place.
Wiring a Ceiling Fan for Remote Control Operation (using one power wire):
The Casablanca fan I installed has a remote control for the lights and fan speeds. The remote communicates to a receiver which independently controls the fan and lights. This gadget effectively eliminates the need for two separate power wires.
Wiring with the receiver is a little more work because you are creating more connections, but it’s just as easy to do. First, cap off your extra power wire (if you have one) and tuck it into the ceiling box. (For added safety, wrap electrical tape over the wire nut and wire.) Next, attach the ground wires together (copper, bare or green wires). Use a wire nut to attach the wires together, then wrap part of the bare wire around the ground screw attached to the mounting bracket. Or in the case of the Casablanca fan, attach the green and yellow striped wire (from the hanging bracket) to the green wire from the receiver and the ground wire from your ceiling box.
Next, attach the white neutral wire from the ceiling box to the white wire from the receiver.
Attach the black wire from the ceiling box to the black wire on your receiver.
Now make the connections from the receiver to the fan. Attach the white wires first, then the black and finally attach the two blue wires together with a wire nut.
Carefully tuck the wires into the ceiling box. Then gently slide the receiver inbetween the hanging bracket and the ceiling box. You might need to play with the wires a little to get everything to fit neatly.
Raise the canopy over the hanging bracket and secure it with the screws provided.
Installing the Fan Blades and Light Kit:
Installing the fan blades on the Caneel Bay are a little tricky, but once you get one blade assembly screw and nut attached it moves quickly. Try to attach blades across from one another to keep the fan relatively balanced.
Lift the upper switch housing up onto the fan motor. Thread the wires through the center hole. Use the provided screws to attach the housing.
Connect the wires from the fan motor to the wires on the switch housing (light kit). Connecting them is super easy, just line up the colors and snap the wiring harness together and make sure it is secured.
Screw the light kit (switch housing) into the fan.
Add the provided halogen light bulbs. (Avoid touching halogen bulbs with your fingers because the salt and oils in your skin could cause the bulbs to wear out faster.)
Attach the globe to the fan, making sure all the “hammers” on the globe ring are secured in the notches on the fan.
Turn the power on and make sure the light and fan works appropriately. If it fails to work, one of your wire connections may have come loose. Turn off the power and check your connections.
It’s time to appreciate the beauty of a new ceiling fan. And enjoy the efficiency of the wider blade span as it moves the air and cools you off. Excuse me now while I drink some ice cold lemonade and chill out.
Do you love the look of the Caneel Bay fan as much as I do? Or do you think you’d like a more modern look? I’ll be back next week to show you a few more changes I made on our screen porch.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Casablanca Fan Company. I was sent a complimentary fan and compensated for my time. All images, ideas and words are my own. I will always let you know the relationship I have with a brand via a disclosure. Also know that I am very particular about the brands I work with.