How to install outdoor fan into hollow aluminum patio ceiling frame.


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Old 07-02-15, 03:27 AM
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How to install outdoor fan into hollow aluminum patio ceiling frame.

Hi everyone,
I'm having trouble deciding how to install my outdoor ceiling fans. My patio ceiling is about 8ft with a slight slope (5 degrees?). There are two 3x3" hollow aluminum support beams that can hold my fans, patio guys even ran my old fan wires through them so they are ready.

My question is: how to I attach my fan/electrical box to the aluminum frame? I was told at local box store to buy a flat junction box and mount it to bottom of frame... but how? I assume self tapping screws will not be sufficient to hold weight of fan.

Thanks for any help and suggestions!

- Richard

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Old 07-02-15, 04:26 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Not knowing the holding ability of the aluminum, only the manufacturer of the tubing can tell if it will hold the fan or not. Use a fan rated pancake box with through bolts into the tubing. Your hole in the tubing should be large enough for you to get the bolt/nut assembly started. This is a bulk pack, but I am sure you can find single packs. Raco 1/2 Deep 4 in. Round Ceiling Fan Rated Pan with 1/2 in. Knockouts (10-Pack)-295-1 - The Home Depot
 
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Old 07-02-15, 05:14 AM
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Hi Chandler, and thanks for the welcome. The installers placed very sturdy beams in place, (held 4 men standing on top). My question is how do I tighten washers/nuts "inside" of the aluminum brace? Do I drill another 1" hole on the side of it so I can stick a wrench in there?

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Old 07-02-15, 08:04 PM
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I've done an installation like that. I took a box like Larry illustrated.... placed it under the aluminum beam, traced the four holes small holes and the knockout hole, drilled the four holes with a 1/4" bit. Drill a 1" hole in the side of the beam and for the knockout . Use four carriage bolts like shown below. Use small needle nose or a magnet on a stick. Let the four bolts come thru the beam and run the nuts up to set the square part in the aluminum.

Be careful.... the nuts may hit the square shank of the bolt before they are fully set. Use a washer or two as a spacer. You need the square shank to set itself into the beam. The bolts will hold themselves from turning while tightening the nuts once set. Take the nuts back off and set the box. Here again the square shank of the bolt may hit the box. You may have to slightly enlarge the holes in the fan box.

The carriage bolts need to be sized so that the threaded end won't interfere with the fan mounting.

The one question I have is what do you plan to do with the cable as you show a block wall at the end of the beam ?

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Old 07-03-15, 03:49 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion PJmax, very much appreciated. Access to the beam is the tough part; now that I think about it moire I can't go into the beam from the side because it would force me to make another hole in the ceiling, unless I make a large hole in the ceiling big enough to fit my hand in there and hope the fan cover will hide it all. I've attached another picture for clarification (wires go to switch inside house).
I drew green lines about where the two aluminum beams are.
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Old 07-03-15, 05:02 PM
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The beams are hidden from view.... above what we can see in the picture ??
That will surely be an interesting mounting job.
 
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Old 07-03-15, 05:39 PM
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yep. I now believe this is NOT a DIY job at all. Time to call in a professional.
Thanks for your time,
- Richard
 
 

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