How to Install a Ceiling Fan Where No Fixture Exists


How to Install a Ceiling Fan Where No Fixture Exists

Whether you’re installing a ceiling fan to cool you down in the summer or help circulate heat in the winter, there are countless benefits to adding one to your home. Increase comfortability and save money on your energy bills by installing a ceiling fan.

However, what happens if you want to install one in a room that does not have an already existing fixture? Although the project is much simpler with the existence of a fixture, it can still be done without the necessary wiring in place.

Simply put, new wiring will need to be installed in the area where your ceiling fan will go. Although we recommend hiring a licensed electrician for a project like this, we’ll outline all the necessary steps if you feel you can manage installing your ceiling fan, where no fixture exists, by yourself.

Determine the Ceiling Fan’s Location

For this project, you should begin by deciding where your new ceiling fan will go. The center of the ceiling may be an obvious answer however, there is more to consider. Take this step seriously as a ceiling fan that is improperly attached to the ceiling can become a major safety concern.

The average ceiling fan typically weighs between 15 and 50 pounds so your new fan will need to have the proper support joists. Choose a location that is in between two joists for the ample amount of support. If you have attic access, you’ll be able to easily check if the hole you’ll be creating is in the necessary area.

Keep in mind that the bracing on a ceiling fan is what sets it apart from your conventional light fixture. To support the vibration and weight of the fan, the ceiling fan boxes need to have bracing attached to the support joists.

Once you’ve considered all of this and found the appropriate location, mark it and cut a hole in the ceiling using a hand or hole saw.

Turn Off the Electricity to the Circuit

For safety purposes, this is probably the most important step in the process and should not be skipped. Head to your circuit breaker and locate the circuit for the room you’ll be working in.

Make sure that this circuit is the one that is also powering the ceiling fan. Turn it off or consider cutting the power completely if you’re not sure which is the correct circuit.

This will avoid electrocution and help make wiring the fan to the switch a much easier process.

Running Electrical Wiring to Your New Ceiling Fan

Before proceeding, it’s important to highlight the dangers involved when working with your home’s electrical wiring. Obviously, you should have made sure that the electricity is turned off. However, if at any point you feel uncertain about what you’re doing, please stop and call a licensed electrician.

With that said, once the breaker has been turned off, before touching any wires always test them for electrical current using a voltage tester. With the power off and the electricity tested you’ll need to find the wall switch that you want to control your new fan.

Next, pay close attention to where the switch is located so that when you begin fishing wires in your ceiling you drop them into the correct stud cavity. After you’ve found the correct spot in your attic, drill a hole that is 1” in diameter to place your new wiring into. You also need to drill a hole in the electrical box of the wall switch to effectively fish the wires through.

Fishing the Electrical Wires

We recommend using fish tape in order to avoid having to drill any unnecessary holes. Beginning at the switch box, use your fish tape to poke around until you locate the 1” hole you previously made in the attic above.

Now that the fish tape has been run, you need to determine the correct wires to pull through. The wires you’ll need to start pulling will match the gauge of the wiring that already exists in the switch box.

Using electrical tape, attach your new wires to the fish tape and begin fishing the wires through the switch box and into your ceiling. Staple the wires every few feet and affix them to the joists in your attic.

Connecting the Wires

In your wall’s switch box you need to attach your new wires to the corresponding neutral, hot and ground wires. You’ll also need to attach your neutral, ground and hot wires inside your fan box to the fan’s wiring.

The exact method for wiring will vary depending on how you want the switch to control the fan and light.

Installing the Ceiling Fan Electrical Box

Once you’ve selected the location of your ceiling fan, turned off the electricity, and fished the new wires, you can begin installing the electrical box. This involves putting the box and bracing into the hole that you made in the ceiling and fastening them to the ceiling joists.

  • Insert the brace into the hole, turn it sideways and center it so that the ends catch on the joists.
  • Bury the prongs on the end of the brace into the joists by turning the brace.
  • Take your bracket and attach two screws into the “ears.”
  • Position the bracket on the brace, center it and turn it so the screws are facing outwards.
  • Feed the wire through the box and line up the two screws that you put into the bracket with the keyholes in the back of the box.
  • Rotate the box into position, tighten the screws and screw in the last two.
  • With all 4 screws in place, put the insider connector onto the cable. Slide it up the cable and snap it into the knockout.

Mount the New Ceiling Fan

Once the wiring and electrical box have been installed, you can now mount the ceiling fan. These steps will vary based on your particular fan. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly install and mount your ceiling fan.

Once your new fan has been mounted, turn the power to the circuit back on and check proper functionality. You should also test the strength of the mount and box by pulling on it gently to make sure it doesn’t shift easily.

Relevant Questions

How much does it cost to install a ceiling fan where no fixture exists?

Assuming that the existing nearby circuit can handle the addition of a fan, it’s relatively inexpensive to install a ceiling fan without an existing fixture. This install will run you about $75-$100. However, the costs go up if you hire an electrician and if the circuit cannot handle the fan.

Can I put a ceiling fan where a light was?

Yes, and this is a very simple task since there is already electrical wiring in the area where you’ll be installing the ceiling fan. However, you cannot hang the fan from the existing electrical box as it will not provide enough support for the weight and vibration of your new fan.

Do ceiling fans use a lot of electricity?

Using a ceiling fan in place of an air conditioner will use less electricity and save you money on your energy bills. Ceiling fans take a lot less electricity to run at 15-90 watts of energy.

Wrapping It Up

Although installing a ceiling fan is always easier with a pre-existing fixture, it can still be achieved without it. After you’ve established the proper location, fished the new electrical wiring and installed the electrical box you can mount your new fan to the ceiling.

However, like any electrical project, always consult a certified electrician if you ever feel uncomfortable with the work you’ll be doing.

Check out “Is Your Ceiling Fan Chain Stuck?” for how to fix one of the most common ceiling fan issues.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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