Installing a Ceiling Fan

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by emjay, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. emjay

    emjay New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    South Jersey
    Hello, maybe someone could give me some help and clarify some things for me.
    I am getting ready to replace one of the overhead lights in my living room. I need to figure out if I need to make any upgrades to the wiring or the ceiling box. The circuit that the fan is to get connected to also powers a number of lights in the hall, dining room and living room. Here is the breakdown by room:

    Hall- 4 bulbs 60w each (240w)
    Dining- 4 bulbs 60w each (240w)
    Living- 2 bulbs 100w, 1 bulb 40w (390w)
    New Fan- 101w for fan + 3 bulbs 60w each (281w)
    Total- 1001w

    The current circuit is 14 AWG wire on a 15A breaker. Can I add the fan on this circuit, or do I have to add a new one?
    Also, the ceiling box is gray plastic (nail on I think). I doubt that it will stand the weight and rotational force of the fan. What should it be changed to?
    Thanks for your input.
  2. thassler

    thassler New Member

    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    Tennessee
    The maximum wattage for a 15amp circuit at 120 volts is 1800 watts. I like staying within 80% of that even for non-continuous loads such as lights. So, you probably do not want to go over 1440 watts especially with a cieling fan on the circuit. To calculate your total watts, you will have to consider the manufacturers rating for each fixture and not just what wattage bulb you happen to have in it at the time, someone else might use a higher wattage bulb. If the fixture is rated for a 100 watt bulb; that is the figure you will have to use for your calculation of adding up all the bulb wattages. The box will need to be changed to one that is rated for hanging a cieling fan. Hope that helps.

    ** I'm not a professional - only a DIYr **
    TreyH
  3. Jeff1

    Jeff1 New Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    So Cal
    Check the install instructions for the ceiling fan before you get the upgrade kit for the box. Some require installation into wood vs the bar some fan hanging kits come with. You definitely will have to get a metal box and make sure it can support the weight and potential movement
  4. emjay

    emjay New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    South Jersey
    Hi, thanks for the responses. The wattage figures I listed were the max listed on each light fixture, and I will probably swap over to mostly CFLs anyway so I think I'm fine on the wiring end. I picked up a ceiling fan specific box (the metal type) to mount in the ceiling, which looks to be a pain to get mounted, but my drywall repair skills are pretty good. :eek:

    Thank you again.
  5. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689

    Adding a ceiling fan to an existing circuit is never an issue.

    As for the box, just pull the old one out and install a fan/pan box right on the joist. You will have a small drywall repair because you will have to relocate the box a bit. You can also install 2x4 backing between joists (if you have access) and use the existing jbox hole..
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,525
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fan

    They make plastic fan mounting boxes, but until you remove your light fixture you have no idea whether the existing box is adequate to support the fan or not.
  7. Ainzo

    Ainzo New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    United States
    What I did when I installed my ceiling fan, I checked the instructions first and see if my wiring meets the requirements. Well I have this thing with electricity, they give me creeps when they are not supposed to function the way they should. So to make sure that I am doing the right thing, I called an electrician and asked him to double check. Ceiling Fans
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
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