Repair & Maintenance

Installing a patio ceiling fan

By George Garza
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Porch fan on nice porch
An outdoor ceiling fan will add comfort and style to your patio or porch
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You may want one for the décor, the old fashioned look, the motion, or just because they looked so romantic in the movies. Whatever your reason, an outdoor ceiling fan is a wonderful addition to your patio or porch.

Outdoor ceiling fans are built to create downward drafts, just like their indoor counterparts. But flying insects find it difficult to fly in this draft. Your outdoor fan does more than allow you to deal with the summer heat: less bugs and a soft breeze are both good reasons to invest in a ceiling fan for your patio or porch.

A fan is a fan…is a fan? No!

A patio ceiling fan is not like an indoor ceiling fan. The weather requirements require that they be sturdier. They must deal with and survive the humidity, the sun, wind, and the heat and cold of the elements. Consider that the metal hangings of an interior ceiling fan can rust and you can see that outdoor ceiling fans must be sturdier.

The Tropical Ceiling Fan

One of the most popular outdoor ceiling fans is the tropical ceiling fan. The wider blades create a larger draft that can be necessary for the open air. These wide blades usually take on the appearance of plants or palm fronds making this fan a favorite of people who live on the beach. You should consider this type of fan if you're looking into kinds of ceiling fans for your patio.

So How to Install a Patio Ceiling Fan

There are few simple steps to installing your new patio fan:
  1. Remove existing light fixture: Items needed: rubber-handled screwdriver, heavy duty electrical box
    • The first thing you need to do is take down the old light fixture. Whenever working with electricity, make sure to shut off the power first. Otherwise, you'll need a power blast to your heart at the hospital. (clear) And to really be on the safe side use a fiberglass or wooden ladder rather than metal.
    • With a rubber-handled screwdriver, loosen any screws that hold the old fixture in place and then removed it.
    • You may also need to remove and replace the existing electrical box that was designed only to support the weight of a light fan. You need a heavy-duty box, to support the heavier weight of the ceiling fan.


  • Install a New Bracket System:

    Items needed: bracket system, electrical box, heavy duty bar, mounting bracket
    • Use a heavy-duty bracket system to be installed up through the existing hole to the inside of the ceiling.
    • The heavy-duty bar should be positioned directly over the hole. And you will be working from below.
    • Attached a bracket up and over the bar, again working from the bottom.
    • After putting the lock nuts onto the installed bracket you mustinstall the new electrical box. It should slipped right up from the below, through the existing hole and attached to the long bolts of the bracket piece.
    • The final step is to attach the fan mounting bracket to the new electrical box. This is the bracket that the fan is finally hung from. After the bracket system and electrical box is completely installed, turn your attention to the fan itself.
  • Fan assembly:

    Items needed: fan motor, top bracket cover, metal extension pipe and connector, rubber boot
    • The fan motor may require some assembly before it can be hung from the bracket. But once hung you should lower the fan down from the ceiling about twelve inches to provide better air circulation.
    • If necessary, run wires through the extension piece and then attached it to the fan motor and secured it with a cotter pin. This will allow it to be secure and also to have the necessary space to push down the air.
    • Because this fan is installed outdoors, you will need to keep moisture from leaking into the motor. You should install a rubber boot to act as a moisture barrier.
    • Add the top bracket cover. It will conceal the bracket and wires. Nice touch.
    • Finally, to the end of the pipe attach a connector; this will allow the fan assembly to hang from the bracket. This connector is held in place with a little set screw and you can slip the ball into the bracket to hang the fan assembly in place.


  • Wiring: Items needed: colored wires, electrical box, canopy
    • Each fan is wired a little bit differently, but the general rule is to connect all wires of the same color together.
    • Cut wires to the necessary length and then stripped off the end of the insulation. Then twist the two wires together and cover them with a wire nut.
    • Once all of the wires are connected and covered, they are tucked back up into the box slid the canopy up into place and tightened with screws.
  • Attach fan blades: Items needed: fan blades, motor assembly
    • The last step s to attach the fan blades to the motor assembly. Each fan blade is attached to the bottom of the motor assembly and held in place by screws.

      RESULTS: Items needed: Your choice: A bottle of wine, or a six pack Sweet Surrender

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