Installation Basics Place fans as close as possible to the middle of the room. Blade tips should be a minimum of 18 inches from any wall or cabinet. Standard installation packages, designed for the typical 8-foot ceiling, position the fan 7 feet from the floor, where it can deliver maximum circulating performance. For low-slung spaces less than 8 feet in height, flush, or hugger, mounts provide an 8-inch clearance from the ceiling. Downrod, or pole, mounts make optimal installation possible in rooms with ceilings that are higher than 8 feet or that have a slope of up to 45 degrees. Available in lengths up to 72 inches, downrods bring the fan closer to the optimal function level. The higher the fan is hung, the less air circulates near the floor where it's better appreciated. If there is a ceiling fixture where you plan to put your fan, you can often use the existing wiring (see "Weekend Project: Fan Appreciation"). Otherwise, you'll have to run a new power line. Remember that fans weigh 25 lbs. or more and that they vibrate while in use, putting extra stress on the overhead connection. Plastic electrical boxes cannot stand up to that stress. Make sure that you're working with a UL-listed metal box approved for ceiling fan installation. How the box is mounted is also vital to keeping the fan on the ceiling. If possible, it should be anchored directly to a ceiling joist, but that doesn't always center the fan in the room. For details of two safe alternative methods — one using blocking that requires access from above or below, and one that requires hardware that can be mounted without tearing up the ceiling — see "Keeping a Fan Secure." However you mount the box, disconnect the power before screwing in the hanger bracket box. The fan typically attaches to the bracket in one of two ways: with J-hooks or a swiveling ball-and-socket. An advantage of the ball-and-socket design is that it helps keep the fan level. Run the downrod through the canopy, and thread the wires through it. Then attach the downrod to the motor assembly and secure it. Lift and hang the fan in position. Next, carefully fasten the blades into their holders and affix to the fan body. Hook up the wires according to manufacturer's instructions (or consult an electrician) and reconnect the power source. The final step: Turn down the air conditioner!
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