How to Wire a Ceiling Fan

How do I wire a Ceiling Fan?

You want a ceiling fan? That’s a great idea and there are a variety of styles out there that can be just perfect for your home. Ceiling fans do not lower a rooms temperature or take humidity from the air. However you can save a lot more energy and money long term when you can turn off the air conditioning or raise the thermostat a bit higher and leave the rest to the ceiling fan. You can save approximately 3 to 5 percent on AC costs for each degree you raise the thermostat and when you turn on the ceiling fan it can make you feel 4 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. Better yet, you save more as ceiling fans work to cool you instead of the room so you can turn it off when you leave.
Now that you went out and bought your ceiling fan, let´s wire it!


First and foremost, TURN OFF power to the existing light fixture at your circuit box and make sure there is no current using a circuit tester. Also put the wall switches on the off position.
If the location where you are going to install the ceiling fan has separate switch controls for the fan and light, label the wires so you will know which wire goes with each function.

KEEP IN MIND: If there is a control for your fan on a wall switch, confirm that you have the right switch as a few fans only function with preset multi-speed switches. Do not use the fan with any solid-state speed control device, dimmer switch or speed change unless it is actually made to be used with a ceiling fan. Electric motors are not comparable with the same dimmer switches as light bulbs are. Also if the electrical box has wiring for separate fan and light switches and you don’t plan on installing light with your fan, trim off the bare portions of the wires for the light and wrap it with electrical tape and twist into a cap to secure the ends.

ELECTRICAL BOX: Check if the box in the ceiling is compatible with ceiling fans. You may see a fan weight rating and the box must be attached to the building structure to support the ceiling fan, be grounded or have a ground wire in the ceiling. When in doubt, just buy and install a new one to make sure it is adaptable for the ceiling fan and it´s weight. Or if you’re more in doubt, don’t hesitate to call an electrician.
For a fan with a downrod, pass the wires through the canopy trim ring, canopy and downrod. Run the wires on one side of the pin in the dowrod ball. For a flush-mount fan, pass the wires from the fan motor through the top housing, trim ring and canopy.
Downrod installation: insert the downrod into the collar yoke on the fan motor and secure it to the motor assembly following manufacturer´s instructions. Flush-mount: attach the top housing, trim ring and canopy to the fan motor assembly.
Cut and strip the fan wires if necessary according to manufacturer´s instructions.
Use a circuit tester to make sure the power is off.
Use the wire connectors to join the wires according to the manufacturer´s instructions. It can vary depending if you are wiring for two switches to have the fan and light separate or to have a single switch. No bare wire or wire filaments should be exposed after connecting the wires, except the bare or green ground wire. It is always good to secure the wire connectors with electrical tape to prevent vibration during operation.
Insert the wires into the electrical box, maintaining the green and white wires separate from the black wire. If your fan includes a light kit or a separate light switch, you will have additional wiring. You can move it on to the same side of the black wire. Once everything is attached you can start mounting the rest of the ceiling fan according to the manufacturer´s instructions.
Is it right for you?

When choosing a ceiling fan, it´s environmentally friendly to choose one that has an Energy Star label as it moves air about 20% more efficiently than your standard models. As there is not much you can do to make an electric motor more efficient than another modern motor, the main technology used to make ceiling fan motors more efficient is using brushless motors. Energy Star fans included with light kits are also about 60% more efficient and you can save more on your utility bills yearly.

It is best to install a ceiling fan in the center of the room, at minimal 7 feet above or 8-9 feet for efficient airflow. Blade tips should not be closer than 24 inches from the wall and from drapes. Each fan has specific manufacturer´s instructions so your fan will work to its optimal potential.

If you want a ceiling fan in a bathroom or outside on your ceiling closed-in patio, it would be wise to get fans that meet requirements for wet/damp ratings. Fans that are made for constant moisture or salt air are sealed with moisture-resistant motors, rust-resistant housing, stainless steel hardware and all-weather blades.

Keep it Clean

Your fans should at least be cleaned at least once a season. When it’s dirty you are losing its efficiency of air flow. A ceiling fan that is covered with dust or pollen can easily cause health risks especially when you have one in the kitchen while cooking.

No doubt adding a ceiling fan to any room just adds more comfort to your home and most of all you save a lot from your pocket.

Hire A Pro

If you live local to southern maryland or charles county and need some help, call Southern Maryland Electrician Pros and we’ll be out in a jiffy.