DIwYatt: Ceiling Fan Fixup

By | January 22, 2013

When we were first coming up with our “Master Plan,” one of the things that we definitely wanted to do in our living room and master bedroom was to update the ceiling fans to a more modern style. Yes, ceiling fans may not be the most “stylish” option, according to Melissa, but they are so functional, and we find they really extend the season between heat and air conditioning so they save us a bunch of money in the long run.

The fan in the living room had brass tones with medium wood grain blades;

and the master bedroom had gold tones with really shiny black blades.

Both were fine and in working condition. We just didn’t really like them. And they seemed to date the house a little bit as shiny brass isn’t really all that modern of a look. Plus, we are just more into the brushed nickel look, so after a couple bunch of trips to a few home improvement stores, we found 2 that we really liked at Home Depot.

They ended up being pretty middle of the line models (some fans are super fancy and expensive, others are cheap and not very good quality). They were less than $100 each, and we had a 10% off coupon from Lowe’s (Home Depot matches competitor coupons, FYI!) so they ended up being a good deal for what we wanted.

1. The first and most important thing to do when replacing your fan is to TURN OFF THE BREAKER THAT POWERS THAT FAN! (It can be annoying to work in the dark for a project like this, so I’d recommend daytime. I’d also recommend not taking down the light and then waiting a few days before installing the new one. Otherwise, when you try to work on something else while the power is out, you’ll end up running an extension cord from the garage into the living room and using a shop light…clipped onto the lamp that you can’t use since the power’s out. Oh the joys of doing multiple projects at once!

2. After a little instruction from Melissa’s dad, I started by removing the fan blades and glass light covers from the body.  This made the fan body easier to handle.

I found it easiest to take the canopy (the cap where the rod meets the ceiling) off of the old fan and unscrew the wire nuts that are connecting the fan to the power wires.  At the end of my fan rod, there was a ball that sat in a bracket with a yolk that had a slot in one side so you can slip the rod out without taking down the bracket.  So holding onto the rod, I slipped the ball out of the yolk and disconnected the wires while the fan body sat on the top of the ladder.

3. Next I replaced the old mounting bracket with bracket that came with the new ceiling fan.

On a side note, most fan blades are reversible, and the blades for the new living room fan were black on one side and dark brown on the other. In this case, we liked the black sides best. The only problem was that the edges of the blades were actually brown, which showed a little bit when you looked up at the fan. It’s not all that noticeable, but it bothered Melissa, so she actually took a permanent marker and colored the side edges of the fan blades black. Who says Sharpies aren’t a girl’s best friend?

4. Next, if you are working with a vaulted ceiling like we were, you’ll need to use the right length of downrod. More than likely, you’ll have to buy this piece separately because the ones that come with the kit will only be a few inched long. Since we were just replacing a fan instead of adding it for the first time, we could just measure the length of the old downrod and buy one to match. If you don’t have one to measure or want to double check, you want to shoot for 8 feet above the floor for maximum air movement.  A quick rule of thumb is to to take your ceiling height in feet minus 9 feet (to account for the length of the fan itself). The result will give you the length of downrod you need.

So if your ceiling height is 10 feet, you need a 1 foot downrod in order to properly position the fan 8 feet from the floor.

5. I assembled the fan body and downrod according to the instructions. A quick quide is to connect like wires to like wires. But if you’re a beginning like I was, it never hurts to ask for help or read the instructions.  I trimmed the wires connected to the fan at this point to have enough to wire to the ceiling.  Don’t forget to put the canopy on the down rod before starting to wire.  Then , with Melissa holding up the the fan body, I wired up the new fan.

6. Next, it’s time to hang the new fan body and down rod with the same ball and yolk setup as the old fan used. Again, there will be directions in the box, so if you’re unsure, just follow along. Melissa made sure we were right since this was our first time by reading the directions aloud. I paid attention heard enough to make sure we were on track and just kept plugging away.

7. At this point, all that’s left to do is to put the canopy in place, attach the blades and light covers, and turn on the breaker. Here is the final look:

We did this same process with the fan in the bedroom. The process was a bit messy, but worth it.

Here is the before and after of the bedroom fan:

Have you ever replaced a light fixture? Ever forgotten to turn off the electricity before digging in to the project? (Not that it happened here…just making conversation!)

And hey, want to see more posts about our ceiling? Check out how we scraped down all the popcorn!

3 thoughts on “DIwYatt: Ceiling Fan Fixup

  1. Donita

    Another great post from DIwYatt. I love hearing about your projects. I miss you!

    1. Wyatt Post author

      Thanks! Melissa said I could get a sweet home brewing set up if I posted more.


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