Fan on non-fan rated box

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Old 02-22-09, 03:49 PM
K
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Fan on non-fan rated box

I took down a ceiling fan to inspect how it was installed. What I found is a 4" square box with a fixture mud ring (Similar to a RACO 756). According to what I've found online, a mud ring like that from RACO, for instance, is rated to support 50 pounds of a static load. The fan bracket is simply screwed to the mud ring ears. I'm not sure how the 4" box is attached to the framing. No screws through the back of the box that I can see, so I'm gussing it has a side bracket. Judging by the mud and paint splatters inside the box, it must have been installed during the construction of the house and used to support a light fixture originally. Should I just leave it as is and not even worry about it since it hasn't fallen down yet? I'm not sure how this could even be corrected since it's in a vaulted ceiling and there's really no way to access it from the attic.

 
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Old 02-22-09, 04:43 PM
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It may have been OK way back when, but I don't think I would rely on it now.
 
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Old 02-22-09, 07:12 PM
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It would be best if you could correct it as the 6-32 screws that are most likely holding the fan to the mud ring are not rated for that type of weight nor is there enough thread length built in to the plate to handle something like a fan safely forever. If there is absolutely no access to the attic there are some items that can be used without needing that access. Westinghouse makes a remodel fan bracket/box combo that you slip into the hold and twist it to lock it into the wood structures holding the ceiling up. It works much like the shower rods you buy the twist into place and basically make a friction fit to both sides of the shower. Here is the product... you can either buy it online or pick it up at home depot, not sure if lowe's has it.

Amazon.com: Westinghouse 1100 Saf-T-Brace Ceiling Fan Support Brace with Locking Teeth, Silver: Home Improvement

Let me know if this may work for you.

-Paul
 
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Old 02-22-09, 08:07 PM
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Just an FYI - Mudrings, like the one pictured, are threaded for 8-32 screws. Depending how the box that the mudring is attached to is supported to the framing it may be OK, but you would have to be able to see how it is attached. Just nails on the side is not enough. If it is supported well enough I would trust this set up more than some "fan rated" boxes I have seen in the past. You could even tap out the holes on the ring out to 10-32 which fan boxed use.
 
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Old 02-22-09, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Just an FYI - Mudrings, like the one pictured, are threaded for 8-32 screws. Depending how the box that the mudring is attached to is supported to the framing it may be OK, but you would have to be able to see how it is attached. Just nails on the side is not enough. If it is supported well enough I would trust this set up more than some "fan rated" boxes I have seen in the past. You could even tap out the holes on the ring out to 10-32 which fan boxed use.
If I'm not mistaken, a fan rated box is more than just 10-32 threaeded holes. It also has a longer threaded post.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 08:29 AM
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I've seen fans running for years connected to nothing more than an ordinary blue plastic box. They tend to wobble a lot because the box is just nailed to the side of a joist.

Would I walk under one? Probably (with a lively step). Would I sit under one? No. Would I sleep under one. Absolutely not!

I suppose my answer to your question as to whether you should fix it or leave it alone depends on what the fan is going to hit when it falls.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 10:00 AM
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It's probably also important to consider what kind of fan you have up there. Just a plain small fan weighs a lot less than a big paddle fan with a bunch of brass decorations and light fixtures on it. The 8-32's on the mudring are probably just fine for fan support. I'd be a little worried if the box is only side-mounted though -- that's going to be the weak link in the chain.

I don't know if this would fit into your decor, but they do sell decorative "plaster" rings about 12-14" across that can be installed around the base of a fan which are wide enough to cover up any holes you might need to cut in the sheetrock to mount a proper box. It's an easy-out if you're worried about fixing the sheetrock to an acceptable look.
 
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Old 02-23-09, 10:20 AM
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If you can determine there is in fact a joist next to the box you could drill a couple of holes on an angle into that side of the box then install screws. If fan bracket permits I would screw the mounting screws from the back side of the tab so they project down like studs then secure the fan bracket with lock-nuts not regular nuts. You may need to cut a shallow slot in the end of the machine screw so you can hold the screw with a small flat tip screw driver when tightening the nut.
 
 

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