Ceiling fan question

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by micp879, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. micp879

    micp879 New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Martinez, CA
    Hey guys,
    Hopefully I am posting this under an appropriate topic; if not, I appologize. I recently installed a 52 inch hunter ceiling fan in my master bedroom. There was a ceiling fan rated pancake box already installed by the builder. Well, in the process of installing the fan, I stripped the heads of the two 3 inch #10 mounting screws supplied with the fan, for mounting it to the ceiling joists. I went down to the hardware store, and bought some replacement screws. At the time, I couldnt' remember what size screws they were, other than being 3 inch, so I ended up buying #8 screws. Well, now that I have the fan up and and working, I am starting to wonder, will those #8 screws be acceptable to hold up the fan safely, or should I take the whole fan down, and replace them with new #10 screws? I just dont want to wake up to a fan crashing down on me. Thanks for your guys input. Keith
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I am not familiar with a 52-inch Hunter, but all the ceiling fans I have ever put up have machine screws fastening them to the electrical box. So, I do not understand your scenario of 3" screws into ceiling joists. In any case, not all screws are made from the same material, so size does not always make one screw stronger than another.

    Putting a #8 screw in where a #10 has already been could be bad if the #10 had already made a very deep hole of a larger diameter, so I would be inclined to replace the screws you used. But if the #8 screws still went in plenty tight for at least half their length, what you already have might be fine.
  3. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    If you had a fan rated box already installed, why did you choose to lag the fan to the joist?
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fan

    1. Fans should be attached to the "fan rated box".
    2. I have NEVER purchased a fan that had wood screws, of any size, in the mounting kit.
    3. The head of the screw relative to the size of the hole would determine whether they were appropriate or not.
  5. micp879

    micp879 New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Martinez, CA
    Thanks for all the replies. Trust me, it wasnt my choice to drill all the way up into the joists; that is the way hunter wants it installed though. The directions very clearly state in order to support the fan, that you are to support the mounting bracket by drilling the 3 inch screws completly through the fan box and up and into the wood joist above. Im not exactly sure what they expect someone to do though if the fan box isnt directly below a wood joist, such as those that are screwed to the side of a joist, or those that are set up using a fan box adapter bar between two joists.
  6. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Thats strange, because I've been doing this for 15 years, and EVERY fan I ever installed came with long screws for mounting the fan to the structure. :D
  7. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Code wise you have a few legal ways to install a fan, option (a) the fan gets supported to the structure independent of the electrical box. (b) the fan gets supported by a electrical box that is rated to support a fan. Looks like you have it under control though. Let me add this also, if the fan weighs more than 70 lbs, then no matter what, it must be supported by the structure.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  8. micp879

    micp879 New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Martinez, CA
    Chris,

    Since I am supporting the fan to the structure, should I take the fan down, and replace the #8 screws with #10 screws like the ones that were supplied with the fan? Or since the #8 ones were in nice and tight, do you think those will work ok?
  9. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    IMO, I doubt 3" sheetrock screws would fail. :)
  10. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Black sheetrock screws (if that is what you actually used) are pretty tough, but they are usually only sold by the box and I wonder how close the sizes of the heads and the bracket holes are to being the same anyway. I go with HJ here: Larger heads on larger screws would be my preference.
  11. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Bigger is better -- mainly a screw head size, as HJ pointed out. No need to take the fan down, though -- just replace the screws one at a time.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    The # gauge of a screw is the shank diameter, and may have little to do with the size and shape of the head. Using #8 verses #10 means you've decreased both the shank strength and the depth of the threads (more important) holding things up. In the same type of head, a larger # would have a larger head. An example where this isn't true is if say the #8 was a normal flathead, and the #10 was a trim head (which is very small in comparison), the #10 could be smaller.
  13. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    Random comment

    I found that the ceiling fan in my house was being supported by a "clip in" box. It was slowly pulling the sheet rock down.

    I of course replaced the box with the correct type.

    back on topic.

    Using to big of a screw can be worse if it splits out the side of the box.
  14. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    I have installed a couple of hunter fans that were mounted to the joist and not the box. Really makes you think when a customer hands one of them to you!
  15. Wrex

    Wrex New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Geez luckily I only pick lighter fans that only need a reinforced bracer bar.

    Whats next fans secured to the joists with lag bolts :D?
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Take the situation where the thing is whipping along at full speed and you reverse it. THAT'S a huge torque load. You don't want the thing to sheer off or tear out.
  17. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Those big old Hunters weren't lightweights... made in the US of A by blacksmiths, I guess. I was never bashful about using lag bolts through the box into a joist. Don't know about the newer ones, and some of the other brands these days are pretty wimpy -- maybe double-sided tape would be OK.
  18. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Uhhhh....that's what the fan rated boxes are for. The 10/32 machine screws are designed to hold a fan (as opposed to the 8/32's in standard boxes).





    That would be a pretty good trick :cool:




    What about when your friend passes out drunk and you tie him to the fan in an attampt to spin him around the room? You have to be prepared for these things.




    .


    That is one big assed fan.



    Finally.....a voice of reason.
  19. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
  20. micp879

    micp879 New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Martinez, CA
    Hey Guys,

    I just wanted to give you guys an update on the ceiling fan. Well, I got paranoid that the #8 screws wouldnt be sufficient, since the instructions called for #10 screws. So I went to take the thing down, and in the process of trying to losen them, I accidentally had my drill set on "tighten" and promptly snapped the #8 screw right off in the joist. I ended up calling an electrician, who installed it, but it wobbled insanely. (He only ended up charging be 5 dollars because of the problems). So I went down and picked up a new fan rated box with different hole locations, secured it to the joist, and secured the fan to the box. After I did so, the fan still wobbled, so I started messing with the fan blades. Finally after moving the blades around a bit, and resecuring them, plus ALOT of praying, I finally have a wobble free fan. It makes me wish I wouldn't have tried to replace those #8 screws to begin with, and I couldve avoided the added problems. I think I now have less hair, and higher blood pressure lol. Thanks for all your help and insight, it is MUCH appreciated. Keith
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