Outlet boxes are used to support and mount ceiling fans on the ceiling; the box is used to support the entire fan weight; therefore, the box has to be sturdy and can bear the load. Unfortunately, not all ceiling fan outlet boxes can support ceiling fans, and some types will not be able to support the load.
Therefore, before installing a ceiling fan to the outlet box, you should ensure that it’s rated for ceiling fans and can bear the load and weight of the ceiling fan that will be mounted. To tell if the box will support the ceiling fan, you have two follow certain instructions.
How Can I Tell If a Ceiling Box Will Support a Ceiling Fan?
You can tell if a ceiling box supports a ceiling fan through two procedures; the first is to check the outlet box’s description to know the model of the outlet box and if it supports the weight of the fan. The second is to look for the right parts with the outlet box.
Checking The Outlet Box Description
The outlet box will have a specific description of whether the outlet box can support a ceiling fan or not. If you can’t find the instructions for the ceiling fan or the marks, the outlet box probably doesn’t support or is not rated for ceiling fans. This method is best used when you have recently bought the box.
Because the chances are high that you still have access to the box’s original packaging, this can also be done when the outlet box is new. Again, you will be able to find the instructions and the description label on the box by the manufacturer.
Checking The Outlet Box Online
If you bought the box a while ago and can’t find the original packaging of the box, you can use an online search to find its specific description. To do this, you will need to search the outlet box model online, looking for its description in any online store.
If you can not find the box online in any stores, you can directly ask the manufacturer through their website for the description of the box and whether it supports a ceiling fan or not. The weight of the ceiling fan mustn’t exceed the limit of the outlet box.
Inspect The Outlet Box For The Right Parts
If you can’t reach or contact the outlet box manufacturer and have lost access to the outlet box’s original packaging, you can use this method to determine whether the outlet box supports the fan. You will need to inspect the box from above for the right parts.
To do this step, you will need to use a ladder to be able to check the parts of the outlet box if you have an attic on the top of the room where the ceiling fan will be installed. If you don’t have an attic above the room, you need to view it from the bottom.
The first parts to check are the attachment points of the outlet box; there could be a woodblock where the box is attached to two side screws. Another attachment point is at the top of the outlet box, where the ceiling fan is mounted. You need to contact an electrician if you cannot locate the attachment points.
What Is a Ceiling Fan Rated Outlet Box?
A rated outlet box is a box that can support heavy weights like ceiling fans, the main job of an outlet box is to support the wires leading to different electrical fixtures like ceiling fans. Outlet boxes can accommodate different levels of electrical connections.
Ceiling fans with a weight above thirty-five pounds have to be installed in a rated outlet box that can support the weight of the ceiling fan. The ceiling fan joist is installed to the rated outlet box; however, it depends on the type of the ceiling fan, where it can be installed on a woodblock.
Rated outlet boxes come with all the needed parts and pieces for proper installation and adjusting braces. Unfortunately, there is no specific ceiling-rated outlet box for each type of ceiling fan, although ceiling-rated outlet boxes in the market are compatible with most ceiling fans.
What To Look For When Buying a Rated Outlet Box?
The only thing important to keep in mind when buying a rated outlet box for a ceiling fan is the weight of the ceiling fan. The ceiling fan outlet box should be compatible with the fan, so you won’t face any difficulties through the installation process.
In old houses, you can find that the ceiling fan outlet boxes are different from the types found in the market these days. These old boxes should be mounted on blocks on the ceiling fan joist. To securely mount the box on the block, you can use screws on the block’s bottom.
If you find that the screws are not fixed in place or not fastened on both sides, then you will need to replace the outlet box with another newer model for your safety.
How To Install A Ceiling Fan Box?
Before installing the new ceiling fan box, you will need to remove the old ceiling fan or electrical outlet and remove the box using a knife by removing the plaster or the drywall surrounding the box. Next, the box will be attached using two nails driven horizontally or a joist that has screws.
Next, use a flat pry bar to pry between the joist and the box from each other; you will need to be careful when using the pry bar, making sure not to do any damage in the plaster. Before pulling out the nails of the box, you will need to pry the box.
The last step is to remove the box’s cable; if there’s a clamp for the cable, you will need to remove the locknut, but if there is no clamp, you will need to get the tab pried and remove the cable.
1) Install the Brace
The brace is the first thing to install in the box; to do this, you will need to slide the brace into the hole. Then, rotate the brace’s shaft in a clockwise direction until either of the brace sides touches the joist. Now, the legs of the brace rest on top of the plaster or the drywall.
To screw the brace, you will need to use a groove joint pliers or a wrench, connect the brace to the U-bolt, move the box up, and screw tightly the nuts.
2) Install the Ceiling Fan Box
If you have access to the attic or the room above the box, you can disconnect it from there and mount a braced ceiling fan box. To eliminate the probability of getting a new box, you can screw the mounting bracket of the fan to any nearby joist. You must keep in mind that the plate is going to be off-center; therefore, you will need to put a covering over the hole.
If the ceiling fan outlet box is not suitable for the load of the ceiling fan you are installing, you are exposing yourself and your household members to danger and different hazards. On the other hand, if the outlet box can support the needs of the fixture installed, you can experience short circuit cases.
Outlet boxes not rated for ceiling fans should not be used to support ceiling fans because this will increase the chances of the ceiling fan falling or hurting someone. Instead, when installing a ceiling fan, you should replace the not rated outlet box with a rated one.
You can contact an electrician to help install a proper and compatible outlet box. If you are using an old model, you will need to check on its parts and ensure it can support the ceiling fan.
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