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Replacing a ceiling fan might sound intimidating, but it’s actually a pretty easy job for most homeowners, especially if the wiring is already in place thanks to an existing fan or fixture. All you really have to do is remove the old fan and wire the new one up the same way.

If you’re replacing an existing fan, then you likely already have the supporting brace and fan-rated electrical box you need in your ceiling. This makes the job even easier. Just make sure to shut off the power to the circuit at the breaker box before you start working on your fan replacement.

Remove the Old Fan

If your old fan has an extension rod to create space between the fan blades and the ceiling, you should be able to easily reach the metal canopy that covers the fan mounting bracket. Loosen the screws on the sides of the canopy and pull it down to reveal the mounting bracket and the ball-and-socket that attaches the extension rod to the mounting bracket. You should also be able to see the fan’s electrical connections. Use a voltage tester to double-check that the wires are dead.

Unscrew the wire connectors that hold the wiring connections together. You may need to reach into the mounting bracket or electrical box to loosen the connection between the two ground wires and free them from the ground screw in the electrical box. With the wiring disconnected, you can lift the ball out of the socket and take the old fan down.

If you’re removing a flush-mount fan, the process is slightly different, as this type of fan is usually fastened directly to the mounting bracket with screws. You’ll probably have to remove the light assembly to get to those screws.

Wire Up the New Fan

Once you’ve removed and set aside the old fan, you can wire up your new one. You should replace the fan mounting bracket on the ceiling with the one packaged with your new fan, but otherwise, you should already have the fan-rated electrical box and supporting brace, if necessary, in your ceiling. If you’re replacing a light fixture, however, you will need to install a supporting brace to hold the weight of your new fan. If you’re about to install the brace from above, you can use a two-by-four screwed to the joists with decking screws. If you’re installing it from below, you can use an expanding metal brace that ratchets open and digs into the wood of the joists with spikes. Many ceiling fans are attached directly to the ceiling joists instead of to a supporting brace between the joists — that’s fine, too. If you want to move your new fan over slightly so that you can anchor it directly in the joist, you can. Just use a ceiling medallion to hide the old hole, or, failing that, install a drywall patch.

Wire up the new fan the same way the old one was wired — connected black to black and white to white, securing the wiring connections with wire connectors. You may need to trim the wires and strip a little more of the insulation off to reveal unfrayed ends that are easier to work with. Connect the ground wires (green or bare) to each other and to the ground screw in the electrical box.

fan How Do I Replace a Ceiling Fan?

Once the wiring is connected, you can fasten the fan motor assembly to the mounting bracket, using your manufacturer’s instructions for reference. Then you can wire up the light fixture — black on black, white on white, and grounding wires connected to each other.  Make sure to attach the fan blades securely, as you wouldn’t want them falling off or coming loose while the fan is in motion.

The process is the same if you’re replacing a light fixture with a fan — the only difference is that you’ll have to make sure to install the supporting brace your fan needs and switch out the light-rated electrical box with a fan-rated one since light-rated boxes aren’t robust enough to support the weight of a ceiling fan.

Replacing a ceiling fan isn’t too difficult, especially if you already have the support brace and fan-rated electrical box installed. Removing the old fan and wiring up the new one only takes a couple of hours. Afterward, you can go back to enjoying nice, cool breezes indoors.