How to Install an Outdoor Ceiling Fan

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Outdoor ceiling fans are a perfect addition to any patio or porch. They provide some much needed air circulation on a hot day, which will make everyone a little cooler. The air can become stagnant and stuffy without an outdoor ceiling fan. So what do you do if you don’t have an outdoor ceiling fan but you want to install one? Well, you could hire a professional to get the job done but that could cost a lot of money. Especially since there’s electrical work involved. You could also just do it yourself! This sounds intimidating but once it’s broken down, it’s pretty simple. The DIY route might have to be a trial and error process, but in the end I think you’ll be glad you were able to complete the project yourself. Here’s how to install an outdoor ceiling fan. 

How to Install an Outdoor Ceiling Fan


Picking a Location

Pick where you want your fan to go. This is a really important step. The location of your ceiling fan has to be just right. Measure around your location to make sure your fan won’t hit anything while it spins. It should have enough room to spin freely. Make sure it won’t run into beams, walls or anything else. Don’t forget to check the height of the ceiling to make sure that the fan won’t hit anyone’s head. That’s pretty important. 

Picking a Fan

This is probably the most fun part of the whole process. You get to shop around for a fan that fits your specifications. This will take some planning on your part. Choose a fan that fits your design and style but also one that will be functional and will fit. Your fan should also be able to be outside. There is a difference between indoor and outdoor fans so make sure you get an outdoor one. There are so many different styles and looks of fans so have fun looking! Make sure you take note of the length of the blades of the fan so that you’ll know it’ll fit in your designated location. 

Turn off the Electricity

Turn off the electricity going to your porch. Flip the circuit breaker to turn off the electricity and test the wires to see if they’re still live. Do not begin working until you’re sure that there is no electricity going to the area. You can begin working once you’re sure there is no electricity in the area you’ll be working.

Create a Hole for the Fan

Use a circular hole saw to cut a hole for your ceiling fan to go. Cut out a hole that is the appropriate size for the base of your outdoor ceiling fan. Make sure that the hole is not too big otherwise it will show even after you’ve installed your fan. Usually, a four inch hole will accommodate most fans.

Begin Installation

Installing the Wiring

This is the trickiest part of the job and will require a lot of care and attention. There are a couple of different ways to get electricity to your fan. First, try running the electrical wiring directly to your ceiling fan location. This can be done by installing the wiring directly to the circuit box or wiring it to an outlet so that your fan can be plugged in there. Wiring your outdoor ceiling fan to a switch is also an option. This is a great option because it makes turning the fan on and off really simple. You might have to pull some wires through the wall or possibly go to the attic to route the wires. Be aware of that.

Installing the Electrical Box

This step gets even trickier. First, you’ll need to put your ceiling brace into the hole that you’ve drilled. This holds the electrical box for your outdoor ceiling fan. The ceiling brace needs to be mounted to the rafters above your ceiling so that the fan will be secure. You might need to crawl above the ceiling hole to fit the brace through the hole if you cannot get it in from below. Next you’ll need to attach your electrical box to the ceiling brace. There should be instructions on how to do this that come with your ceiling fan. Pull your wires through the brace before you mount the electrical box. Once you’ve gotten this far, the rest is easy. You just need to attach a bracket to mount the electrical box to the ceiling brace.

Put the Fan Together

You’ll need to assemble the ceiling fan before you mount it to the ceiling. This step is not complicated and the instructions are usually straightforward. Put all the ceiling fan blades into place, and any light fixtures that come with it. Make sure that the screws are all nice and snug as you are assembling the outdoor ceiling fan. This will ensure that the blades don’t come loose while it is spinning.

Mount the Fan to the Electrical Box

This step is fairly simple compared to some of the previous ones. Match the wires up as you go. Each wire in the electrical box will have a matching wire on the fan. Use wire connectors to put the two wires together. Make sure that they have a solid connection so that your outdoor ceiling fan will work properly. Attach the fan tightly to the electrical box so that the fan will not shake, swing, or vibrate once it’s turned on. No one wants a shaky fan.

outdoor ceiling fan

Finishing Up

Turn Your Electricity On

Turn your electricity back on once you’re all done with your setup. Turn the fan on to make sure that it works as you expect it to. Watch for any shaking or swinging as the fan spins. Look to make sure that the fan will not hit anything or anyone walking by.

Add Light Bulbs

Screw in lightbulbs to see if the light works on the fan. Try several different light bulbs before you decide that the light isn’t working. You may have just had a bad light bulb. Then take a step back and look at your work. Is there anything you need to fix? Are there any dangerous parts to your fan? Does it look good?

Summing Up

Outdoor ceiling fans add fresh circulated air to any outdoor space. Follow these steps to install your own outdoor ceiling fan properly. You won’t be sorry you did it. You’ll spend a lot more time on your porch relaxing now that it’s cool and tranquil. Say goodbye to stuffy and hot patios and porches. Say hello to a relaxing, cool, and peaceful outdoor space.

Related Article: Best Outdoor Ceiling Fans: The Top 10 Options to Help Cool Your Porch Down

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