How To Replace A Light Fixture With A Ceiling Fan

Hi there! Have you been looking for ideas for your home improvement? Well, here is something to consider, take out that old ceiling light and install a ceiling fan. Good idea, right?

Okay, so, come along let us show you how you can replace a light fixture with a ceiling fan in a few steps.

How To Replace A Light Fixture With A Ceiling Fan
Photo by fran hogan on Unsplash

Will I Need An Electrician To Replace My Light Fitting With A Ceiling Fan?

No, not really. Most home improvement hacks are activities you can do by yourself, and this is not any different.

If you think you are comfortable working with electrical stuff and can follow simple steps, then this won’t be such a big deal for you.

The steps we have provided in this article are easy to follow and will give you the guidance you need on this little journey towards your home improvement.

However, if you don’t do too well with electrical wires and such, please, just get an electrician. If you get anxious about this type of stuff, then you could easily get lost in the wiring and screws.

Stuff You May Need

A Ceiling Fan Junction Box

You will be finding out later in this article that the electrical box which the existing light fixture is attached to is not ideal to use install a ceiling fan. This is why you will need a new electrical box for the ceiling fan which will be mounted up against the ceiling joist.

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Safety Glasses

You may have to make a hole in the ceiling (to install the junction box), so, you may want to keep your eyes protected, hence, the safety glasses.

Circuit Tester Or Voltage Tester

You will need this one to test each wire in the wall and the ceiling to see if they are live before connecting them or even making contact.


Of course, with ceiling fans, you know you will be dealing with a lot of screws, so, this tool right here is inevitable.

Wire Nuts Or Wire Connectors

You will need any of this to help secure the ends of each of the wire connections you will be making. This may already have been used with the existing light fixture. Anyway, just get new ones to be on the safe side.

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You may need to bend, cut, or twist a wire or two, so, a pair of pliers could really come in handy.

Step Ladder

You will need a step ladder long enough to elevate you such that you can comfortably reach the ceiling joist without stretching too much. Of course, if you do not have a stepladder around, a stable step stool or table which is high enough could do a pretty good job as well.

An Extra Pair Of Hands

Taking down a lighting fixture and installing a ceiling fan is no small business. You might be able to manage on your own, but it will surely be easier and a lot more convenient to have someone there with you. There is a lot they could help with, even if it is just reading out the steps from this article to you *winks*.

How You Can Replace A Light Fitting With A Ceiling Fan

If you carefully follow the steps we have provided below, you will know how you can easily remove the existing light fixture you have and install a ceiling fan in its place without much hassle. Let’s get right into it.

1. Turn Off Power

This will always be the first thing to do when dealing with electrical installations. Make sure that electricity for the room you are working on has been turned off at the electrical panel.

Locate the fuse box and turn off the circuit breaker for the room. It is also advisable to place a note over the switch in the electrical panel indicating that it was turned off because you are currently doing some work in that room.

This is so that someone does not turn it back on while you are working with the wires. That, of course, would be very disastrous. Perhaps even fatal, and we sure do not want that.

Now, even after you have turned off power at the electrical panel, take an extra safety step by testing the wires with a circuit tester before you actually start work. If the wires are live, do not touch. We repeat DO NOT TOUCH! That could be fatal. 

In this case, you could perhaps just cut off power to the entire apartment till you’re done installing your ceiling fan. It is much safer that way.

2. Remove The Light Bulbs

Now, you can climb to the ceiling (hello step ladder) and begin to dismantle and disassemble the existing fixture. The first step will be to first take out the light bulbs. 

This will make the fixture a little less bulky and, therefore, easier to put away. 

3. Disconnect Wires & Remove The Existing Fixture From The Ceiling

The bulbs are out of the way now, so you can move to the wires. Your job will be to focus on the electrical box and carefully disconnect each of the fixture wires from the ceiling wires.

After that, unscrew and remove all screws and nuts that are holding up the fixture. Once these have been done, you can now take out the light fixture and set it down.

4. Install New Support Brace

Now, you are getting into installing the fan itself, and sincerely, at this point, you could really use some help. A ceiling fan is one bulky and really intricate electrical appliance.

So, you may require an extra pair of hands to help with lifting, fixing, attaching, mounting, and all of that. Also, you know how frustrating it can be when screws get missing, an assistance may help you avoid that occurrence.

Now, if there isn’t already an existing outlet box installed, you would have to cut open the ceiling to fit a new box in and then install a brace above it against the ceiling joists.

If you will have to do this, then you may really require those safety glasses we talked about earlier. Because you will be looking up, and as such, can hardly avoid those particles that will be falling towards your face. Those safety glasses will really be of great use.

Now, because ceiling fans generally weigh a lot more than light fixtures, it is not advisable for you to install a ceiling fan using the junction box of a light fitting.

Apart from the obvious fact that the average ceiling fan weighs a lot more than the average ceiling light, the vibration that occurs while the fan blades are rotating could put a lot of pressure on a small junction box. That, in turn, could cause the fan to come loose, and maybe even fall. 

So, as you can see, it is really very risky to do that. Instead, just get a new ceiling fan junction box.

(We already suggested one for you to check on Amazon out earlier in the article.)

So, if there is an existing electrical box there, remove it and switch it for a bigger junction box for the new fan you are about to install.

The first step will be to install your new support brace — which should be contained in a ceiling fan mounting kit — against the ceiling joist.

After the brace has been installed firmly, then you can attach the box to the support brace and then screw on tightly.

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5. Install Mounting Bracket

If you bought a new ceiling fan, then chances are that it came with a mounting bracket, and along with that, instructions on how to attach it to the ceiling box. Carefully follow those instructions and install the mounting bracket.

It is advisable to use an extension rod when installing a fan because ceiling fans resting directly against the ceiling really does restrict proper air circulation.

So, pass the fan’s wiring through and down the rod and then pull the rod down to the fan motor.

6. Mount The Fan Motor

Next, connect the wires of the fan motor to those of the ceiling accordingly. By accordingly, we mean that you need to connect black wire to black, white to white, and then ground wire to ground wire.

If the fan comes with any additional wire, then connect them strictly following the instructions that must have been provided by the manufacturer as regards wiring.

When you have successfully connected the fan wires to their corresponding ceiling wires, you must then make sure to attach wire nuts (or wire connectors) at the end of each of these wire connections to ensure that they are secure.

Of course, you may use the wire nuts that were used for the light fixture. But if they are no longer in good shape and do not hold well, remove them and use new ones.

Remember that pretty much every wire should be in the electrical box when you are done.

Once you are done with the wiring, push up the the fan motor until it is mounted firmly against the ceiling bracket. 

Remember to insert the swivel ball carefully into the ceiling bracket to ensure that your fan motor is properly mounted.

7. Fix The Fan Blades

Now that the fan motor is in place, what’s left to do is to fix the blades around the motor, and you are pretty much done with your fan installation.

But first, you will need to make sure that you have installed the canopy. Then go on to fix a blade mounting bracket on all three fan blades. 

These mounting brackets then go against each of the rotating bezels which you will find just underneath the fan motor.

Make sure that you tighten all the mounting screws properly, because if the blades are loosely fixed, they will most likely wobble while they rotate, which is definitely not good, and may cause a lot of inconveniences.

If the ceiling fan you got is one which comes with lighting (fan light), then this will be the time to mount that fixture, too. 

Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer as regards wiring, then go ahead to fix bulbs accordingly.

You could also decide to attach the blades and the light (if any) before mounting the ceiling fan against the ceiling. You might find that it is more convenient this way.

How To Replace A Light Fixture With A Ceiling Fan
Photo by Steven Ungermann on Unsplash

8. Install Control Regulator (Wall Switch)

The final step will be to install the fan’s control regulator (or switch) against the wall. And of course, you know what that wall switch is for; to turn on, as well as regulate the speed of rotation of the fan.

And it goes without saying, this switch comes with the ceiling fan as you purchase.

Before you install the fan’s regulator, of course, you will have to first remove the light switch for the old fixture.

Now, regardless of the fact that power has been turned off, now that you are exposed to wires again, test them with your circuit tester to ensure that they are all dead. Then you can go on and connect them to those from the regulator.

Just follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and you will be able to get this done in no time. 

After this has been done, you can then go back and turn on power at the electrical panel and test your newly installed ceiling fan to see how well you did.

If it isn’t working, then you probably got it wrong with the wiring somewhere, maybe at the wall or the ceiling. Or perhaps something went wrong in the electrical box department while you were lifting and pulling.

Either way, you will have to remove the fixture (if it’s a fan light) and gently disassemble the fan to check where you got it wrong. 

If it seems like a really long shot, then perhaps this is the point where you involve an electrician to check out the fan for you. Or you may decide to just finish up the amazing job you started yourself.

But typically, if everything was done right, your new fan installation should be working fine. 

So, yeah, this is basically how you can replace a light fitting with a ceiling fan without the help of an electrician.

So, perhaps you want to do the reverse of what we have discussed in this article. That is, you have an already installed ceiling fan but would like to replace it with a ceiling light.

Well, in that case, this article here is for you. Check it out to find out how you can do that in very easy steps! 

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