How to install a ceiling fan without attic access

You’ve decided you either want to replace your old ceiling fan, or perhaps put one in a room that hasn’t got one yet. Finding and purchasing a new ceiling fan is the fun bit, but when it comes down to getting it installed you want to make sure everything goes to plan.

Flush mount ceiling fan in bedroom

Admittedly, installing a ceiling fan with access to an attic will be slightly easier thanks to being able to have more space to maneuver and see what you’re doing, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.

We’ll give you a step-by-step process so that you’ll know exactly what you need to do to get that new ceiling fan up and running without attic access!

To use the steps we have outlined today you’re going to need to do a little wiring.
If you aren’t comfortable with this, you should definitely consider getting a little assistance from a professional. That said, if you are a confident DIY type then just be sure to turn off the circuit breaker before we proceed so that we keep things safe!

Once we’ve done that then we are ready to get started!

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How to install a ceiling fan without attic access

Step 1 – Remove the old ceiling fan

Obviously, this only applies if you are replacing an existing fan!

If you are installing a new fan where no fixture exists to the room, you’ll need to work out what position to place the fan before you move onto the next steps.

If you are replacing an old fan, the first thing that we need to do is to get that old fixture out and properly unhooked.

Take the old fixture down and go ahead and unhook the wiring. We’ll have to replace the wire nuts inside your electrical box and once we’ve removed the fixture then we need to set it aside.

Typically, you’ll need a screwdriver in order to access the swing tabs that will let you remove the box, though some tab assemblies will simply let you adjust them in order to get the box out.

Step 2 – Find your ceiling joists / studs

If you are replacing an existing ceiling fan, this may not apply to you, as you should be able to use the same mounting location as the old fan.

However, if you’re putting a completely new ceiling fan in you will need to determine if there is a joist / stud in the correct position for you to mount the fan to.

If not, you’ll have to install a brace to be able to mount in-between the joists. To do this, you must first work out the direction in which your ceiling joists are aligned. You can do this one of two ways; if you have one, use a stud finder, or get your stepladder so that you can reach inside the ceiling cavity and feel around for the ceiling joists.

Once you’ve found them, then use a pencil to make marks on the side of the hole to indication the location and alignment of the joists.

View our article for more in-depth instructions on how to hang a ceiling fan without a stud.

Step 3 – Install a brace if not mounting directly onto a stud

You’re going to need a brace mount which you can get from your local hardware store or Amazon if it did not come with your new fan kit.

Braces will mount in different ways but the easiest ones allow you to wedge the brace against the ceiling joists so that it goes in quickly and firmly.

Check out the directions for your specific brace and then get it mounted in your ceiling joists and we are ready for the next step.

Step 4 – Attach the electrical box to the new brace

At this point we will want to reattach the old or new electrical box so that we’ll have power for your new fan. Before you do this, you’ll want to check the box for tabs that are there for threading your wiring. Push out the tabs that you find so that you can thread your existing wiring into your electric box in preparation for the new fan.

Once we’ve got the wiring threaded through, then the electric box needs to be pushed up into the ceiling hole so that we can mount it on the brace. Be sure that you screw it in tightly so that the electrical box is flush and secure.

It should not wiggle or move at all when you apply pressure, and this is especially important with a moving fixture such as a ceiling fan, so make sure it is flush and secure before we proceed.

Step 5 – Time to hang your new fan

Depending on the make and model of your new fan, the actual mounting and installation steps may vary. Take a look at the documentation which comes with your new fan and follow the mounting instructions which the manufacturer has provided.

Typically, the mounting process will be pretty basic, but your fan may have some additional steps to ensure stability to stop it from wobbling and safe operation, so be sure to check the manual so that the fan will be mounted properly and we are ready to finalize the wiring.

Step 6 – Finalize the wiring

Blue wire on a ceiling fan

Now that we’ve got everything in place then we are ready to complete the wiring.

The fan wires are color coded in most cases, so we can attach them to the wires from your wiring box with confidence. Simply connect the white wires from your fan to the white wires in your electrical box, and do that same with the black wires from your fan as well. If your fan doesn’t have a light, it’s unlikely to have a blue wire.

Again, if you are not confident working with electric, please enlist the help of a professional.

Once the wires are connected then you can push them neatly into the electrical box and we are now ready to complete the aesthetics for the newly wired fan. This is just going to require pushing the trim ring up to tighten it in place so that it is flush against the ceiling and now your brand-new fan should look fully installed.

All we need to do now is to confirm that we have wired it correctly and then we’re done!  

Step 7 – Check the installation to ensure that it works

Now that everything is in place and looking good, we need to test that the installation was 100% successful. So, go ahead and go to the breaker box so that you can turn the power back on to that circuit and we can test your new fan.

If the lights are working and the fan is spinning smoothly on it’s new, firm mount, then we are done!

White Ceiling Fan


Congratulations – Your new fan is installed

As you can see, installing a new fan isn’t all that difficult, you just need to remove and replace the mounting and pay attention to the model-specific information in the owner’s manual for your new fan.

Now you know how to install a ceiling fan without attic access, so if summer is coming and you don’t like your old fan, then why not get an upgrade? Get yourself a new one and stay cool!