is old ceiling box compatible for ceiling fan

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Old 01-17-05, 03:16 PM
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Question is old ceiling box compatible for ceiling fan

I wanted to install a ceiling fan in a bedroom that has no attic access. I am also unsure whether the existing box (which was probably installed when the house was built in the late 1920's) is secure enough to hold a fan. I removed the old fixture and found a round shallow box that had a nipple in the center which the existing fixture was attached to. Except for the brass attachment (which accepts the nipple) screwed to center of the ceiling box, there are no other screw holes or ways attach any sort of strap or hanging device.

My first thoughts were to remove the exisiting box and replace it with a newer box attached to a joist or utilize one of the gadgets that expand and grip the rafters. However, there are no screws visible in the box. It appears that a strap runs thru the top of the box and the strap is secured to either to the lathe or to a joist outside of the box, all of which is hidden by the ceiling. Even the screw holding the wire clamp is inaccessible. This makes it virtually impossible to remove the box with out destroying part of the ceiling to the best of my knowledge.

A fan was installed in another bedroom by an electrician several years ago without damage to the celing. I am almost certain there would have been a similar box in that bedroom. I do not know how he did it.

I was wondering if I could drill a hole or holes in the top of the exisiting ceiling box and hopefully hit a rafter which I could then screw into to secure the box more firmly. My gut tells me this is not the right thing to do although given the lack of outlets in the room (just one) and the position of the switch for the OH light fixture I would be in little danger of drilling through any wires.

Or is there any way to tell if the exisitng box is secure enough to hold a ceiling fan using a strap attached to a nipple.

Or should I leave this job to an electrician? Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
 
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Old 01-18-05, 05:25 AM
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I just installed a fan in my daughters bedroom this weekend that had the same type of box. The straps are nailed to the bottom of the ceiling joist and covered with lath (gypsum & plaster in my case). I cut the strap with a new hacksaw blade so I could remove the box, but I just left the staps in place. I used a $12 Westinghouse Fan Brace/Box kit from Home Depot. I have attic access, but probably could have gotten this done w/out.

I would never install a ceiling fan w/out a box/brackets system rated for a fan.
 
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Old 01-18-05, 06:30 AM
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thks for the suggestion

Thanks for the suggestion. At least my assumptions about the box seem correct. No way I can hacksaw the strap but a dremel tool with a cutting edge might work cutting the strap inside the box. Then working the box out out of the ceiling. Only fear i have is if i work the box too much, the insulation which is already crumbly will fall off the wires. Nothing is ever easy, is it?
 
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