Ceiling Fan=Can of Worms...


Old 02-07-12, 10:05 AM
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Ceiling Fan=Can of Worms...

Trying to surprise mom while she's out of town. Her ceiling fan in the kitchen recently broke. The chain pulled all the way out of the fixture. I figured it would be much easier to replace the 30 year-old ugly 4 bladed fan with a nice new one, rather than try to install a new chain.
I was wrong.
This is a 1928 bungalow. I remember dad replacing a lot of the wiring when we moved in about 30 ago. I also remember that getting the ceiling fan was a big deal back then. It had to be special ordered from a specialty shop in Georgetown. Anyway, here's the problem:
The fan is suspended from a hook. Kind of like what you'd hang your hammock on outside. It is srewed into a joist, and the fan itself has a wierd kind of wheel that slips over the hook. That's how it's supported.
About 5 years ago my parents had the ceiling dry-walled (to cover up cracked plaster). When I pulled the fan off the hook, I found a 3 1/2 inch hole in the drywall, and just a sort of punched hole in the plaster. Three wires are coming out of the hole in the plaster. I don't see any sign of a junction box, or any wire nuts for that matter. I tried knocking out some more plaster so I could see better, but I still can't see anything. Of course this is not a room with attic access, there's a bedroom above the kitchen. Don't know where to go fom here, any ideas?[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 02-07-12, 10:22 AM
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OK, so I chipped away some of the plaster and lathe, and it looks like the wires are coming through a hole drilled through the floor joist. Is there any way to install a junction box withour tearing a huge hole in the ceiling?
is there a way to retrofit a modern fan to hang on a hook like the old one?[IMG][/IMG]
Old 02-07-12, 10:50 AM
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Is a junction box necessary? (I think I know the answer to that). What if I chipped away enough plaster to make room for the hanging bracket, and just used really heavy lag screws to hold the bracket to the joist? Then just clip the wires from the old fan, and hook them up to the new one?
Is that a really bad idea?
Old 02-07-12, 11:33 AM
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You'll need to move the fan a few inches to the left or right. You'll need to install a fan-rated box which can be installed from underneath through the hole you cut for the box. The box will have a bar that stretches between the two joists and holds the fan securely. Then you'll just have to patch the existing hole.

As for the wires, they must come from somewhere. I would trace them back to where they come from (a wall switch?) and replace whatever wire that is.

It's more of a project than just clipping up a new fan... but it's the right and safe way to do it.
Old 02-07-12, 12:16 PM
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They make fan rated boxes that slips over a joist. That way you could leave the fan where it is. Example: Buy the Cantex EZ12CF Ceiling Fan Saddle Box - 12 inch at Hardware World Ceiling thickness might be a problem because the boxes are mostly for ceiling less then an inch thick.

Or you could use a fan rated box screwed directly to the joist if the plaster/Sheetrock is thick enough. I'd suggest a fan rated pancake box but I think the ceiling is too thick.

Last edited by ray2047; 02-07-12 at 12:33 PM.
Old 02-07-12, 01:58 PM
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The fan rated box the slips over the joint won't work if the house was made with rough cut lumber. I though I could use one of those in my house but the joists were over 2" wide, maybe close to 2.5".

Could get a metal ceiling box. Shop STEEL CITY Metal Ceiling Electrical Box at Lowes.com Then just screw it into the joist. The wiring may be more of a challenge.

In the bedroom above, is the floor finished or can you access the original floor. My house is a bit older, the floor boards were not nailed down in the location of the lights for the floor below.
Old 02-07-12, 03:23 PM
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There are other steel, fan rated boxes similar to what Drummin posted that have more KO's in the back. Look around and find a box that will work for your app.
Old 02-07-12, 06:16 PM
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The hook reminds me of a Hunter Original fan with a cast iron motor housing. If I am right, it may be an ugly one, but you won't find a better quality fan than the old one. Did the chain pull out of the light kit or the fan? Regardless, there needs to be a box for the wiring even if you reinstall the old fan.

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