A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

Installation of a Ceiling Fan in Your Condo

June 12th, 2011 Posted in home improvement

Have you ever thought of installing a ceiling fan in your bedroom? It can keep your AC costs in the summer time down and make your bedroom more comfortable. Especially if your mate doesn’t like the same temperatures as you do. I am from Boston and she is from Colombia. At 60 degrees, I’m wearing shorts and a T-Shirt and she is searching for her Parka. The opposite goes for the hot, humid, DC summers.

Here is a little guide that may help you to install a ceiling fan in your bedroom. My situation was made easier by a concrete ceiling with a pre-drilled, sturdy electrical box. First of all, it is critical to have a tall and sturdy ladder. I tried at first with a 3-foot stepladder, but it would have been superhuman to lift the 40lb motor and tighten very small, very intricate screws standing on my tip-toes. Get a good ladder!

See what your mounting hardware looks like

Remove your existing light fixture to see what you will mount your ceiling fan to. Here in the Floridian, our ceilings are concrete and the builder installed some very solid electrical boxes. You shouldn’t feel scared to secure a spinning 40 pound contraption to the ceiling.

The boxes in our ceilings are made of sturdy plastic. It is hard to see in the picture, but it is well encased in concrete. The box has kind of a mushroom shape with the wider part at the top and encased in concrete, so it is unlikely to slip out. I used machine screws (not the provided wood screws) to secure the fan to the ceiling box.

You have to remove all of the existing light fixtures and hardware and stretch out the wires. In our building, you may see two “live ends”, where you can connect two separate fixtures, each controlled by a separate wall switch. See the picture below. This was a nice addition by the developer.

Two live ends.

Each with a separate wall switch.

Putting the heavy bits together

Do exactly as the manual says! The Hunter Fan that I bought had ~100 pieces and it wasn’t easy putting it together. But whenever I diverged from the instructions and did something of my own, it was bad… real bad. At one point I had to disassemble the whole body while it was hanging from the ceiling. I’d wired everything together and turned the switch and nothing happened. As it turns out, I didn’t push a “reset” button after changing the remote control frequency. 2 hour detour.

Building the heavy bits

Hanging and taking shape!

From Installing a Ceiling Fan

The final product!

The fan looks beautiful in our bedroom, matching the wood texture of the ceiling. I slept in comfort last night. It could have been the fan or the wine, but it was a lovely sleep nonetheless. The fan is a Hunter fan from LightingDirect.com and cost ~$320. Be sure to get a coupon from the internet. I used a 12″ downrod to lower it down from the ceiling. Lighting Direct recommends an 18″ downrod for 10-foot ceilings like mine, but I opted for a shorter one and like this look better. The fan ships with a ~4 inch downrod that is totally insufficient.


Give it a try, and leave a comment if you found this useful. It is very easy to install this in the Floridian condos in NW DC – no drilling, cutting, or excessive wiring needed.

  1. 3 Responses to “Installation of a Ceiling Fan in Your Condo”

  2. By Rani on Jun 16, 2011

    Great job! It really does look nice and putting it together yourself makes it even more worthwhile. I think ceiling fans give off a nice breeze and a sense of calmness. I do have to say, you certainly did get lucky with the pre-drilled box on concrete.

    I think 60 degrees is worthy of a parka!

  3. By rajat on Jun 22, 2011

    Thanks Rani! This project was fun. How do you survive in NYC at that temperature ? :)

  4. By Rani on Jun 24, 2011

    At this moment I prefer the fan since it is below 70 degrees right now. I always end up carrying a sweater around in the summer here as the trains, offices, stores, and every other place cranks up the AC way to high for me.

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