Old House, New paddle fans

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Old 07-19-13, 08:38 AM
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Old House, New paddle fans

Hello all! I am new to this site. What a great resource for the DIY'er!

I purchased a house built in 1941. I want to replace the ceiling light in my bedroom with a paddle fan and light. I took off the light fixture and found this box, with a large threaded pipe in the center. Is this strong enough to hang a paddle fan on? I have no access to the box in the attic, due to duct work built over the top of the box. It sure looks sturdy, but I don't want to sleep under it without knowing if it is a good idea or not!

Here is a photo, showing the threaded pipe. Any thoughts and/or advice is appreciated!

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Old 07-19-13, 09:47 AM
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A fan rated box is needed if the box is the sole support for the fan. Your box pre-dates fan rated boxes.

There are fan rated boxes and brackets available that do not need access from above to install.
 
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Old 07-19-13, 10:27 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

That box is not strong enough to support a fan. If that was a gas pipe in the center of the box, that might work, but it doesn't appear to be, both because of the plug inside it and its location under a duct. Besides, I don't know how you would mount a ceiling fan to a standard hickey and I've never heard of a hickey made for a ceiling fan. So.

You should not need to go into the attic to make this work. Ceiling electrical work can always be done from below - if not, it couldn't be done in multi-story structures.

With the power off, straighten out the wires and gently chip or cut away enough plaster to expose the edge of the box all around. See if you can tell, as you do this, where the ceiling joists are. Poat another picture when you have the box cleaned up and exposed and we can go from there.
 
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Old 07-19-13, 10:57 AM
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Thanks!

I will give it a try. I am sure the plaster and paint are loaded with things that I should not breath so I want to buy a mask. Are there any special considerations for the old fabric covered wires? It should be fun to unwind something that was wound over 70 years ago!
 
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Old 07-19-13, 11:51 AM
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Are there any special considerations for the old fabric covered wires?
Work gently with them. The rubber under the fabric may have become brittle from age and, especially, heat. Let us know how the insulation feels to you.

If the fixture you removed was a pendant or semi-flush fixture, and those are the only types of fixtures that have ever been installed there, then the insulation may still be almost as good as new - it's the heat from overlamped incandescent bulbs in flush fixtures, usually, that damages the rubber. The fabric doesn't looked scorched or frayed, and that's a hopeful sign.

We may advise you to use some liquid tape or heat shrink, or both, as you proceed. No need to worry about that yet. I just mentioned them to let you know that repair methods are available when they're needed.

Seeing only two wire nuts, on a red and a white wire, makes me curious. I'm wondering where the black wire is.
 
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Old 07-19-13, 01:31 PM
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Thanks for the advice. The red wire is actually black, the flash just made it look red. It was a standard incandescent fixture, nothing fancy at all, but I would say the fixture probably dates to the 70's or 80's. What strikes me as odd is that there are three white wires wire-nutted together, yet only one black. Maybe when I pull everything out I will see more black wires tucked in there.
 
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Old 07-19-13, 03:54 PM
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The red wire is actually black, the flash just made it look red.
Uh, OK.

It was a standard incandescent fixture, nothing fancy at all, but I would say the fixture probably dates to the 70's or 80's.
Was the "standard incandescent fixture" a pendant, semi-flush or flush mount?

What strikes me as odd is that there are three white wires wire-nutted together, yet only one black.
Yep, that's odd. This outlet was/is controlled by a switch, right? If so, tell us, and/or show us, how the switch is wired.

Maybe when I pull everything out I will see more black wires tucked in there.
Yeah, they pretty much come in pairs. What you're describing now doesn't really work, even as a switch loop.
 
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