10:07AM | 04/09/08
Member Since: 04/08/08
54 lifetime posts
Oh, I was sittin' around after enjoying a 5-day spree prepping and painting the deck when I thought it might be nice to change out the bedroom overhead lights to ceiling fans. Anybody know what I need? How to do it? This is a mobile home we're talkin' about so there's nooo climbin' up in the attic.


11:21PM | 04/09/08
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
The two most common problems in changing a light over to a ceiling fan:

1. There is usually only 1 pair of wires running from the switch to the ceiling, so you can only control 1 thing from the switch. That was fine for a light, but with a fan there are 2 things to control: the light and the fan motor. So you have 2 choices: Run a second set of wires from the switch to the ceiling (not an easy task in a finished room) or resign yourself to controlling the fan motor via a pull chain. (That's the most common.)

2. The box for the ceiling light only had to support the weight of the socket and a light bulb. But a ceiling fan & motor is much heavier, and it's moving. Often it will require a much sturdier mounting arrangement than a simple light bulb. Which may mean opening up the ceiling to the nearest studs, 16" apart. Again, in a finished ceiling, that may involve quite a bit of work to make it presentable afterwards.

I don't know how a mobile home would affect this -- I don't know anything about how they are constructed.


01:08AM | 04/10/08
Member Since: 04/08/08
54 lifetime posts
I know about the wire situation but what I am curious about are the fan support boxes/support arms that at least used to be carried by Home Depot, et al. Just wanna know if they're recommended or even if they're still carried at the store. It's been a long time since I've seen or heard of them and personally I don't know anyone who's actually used them. I hate to open up the ceiling. I'm not much of a patch man.


10:18AM | 04/10/08
Member Since: 04/08/08
54 lifetime posts
Thanks, Tim, but I think I answered my own question when I called the Home Depot and asked their electrical associate about hardward that expands in an existing ceiling and would support a ceiling fan. They run about $15 but even he wasn't sure what they are called. He did say that the brand name was something like Saf-T-brace. So sometime tonight or tomorrow I'll head over to the DIY store and pick me up materials for the renovation. I'll let you all know how it goes.


10:39AM | 04/13/08
Member Since: 04/08/08
54 lifetime posts
This is for all of you who might encounter the same situation: installing a ceiling fan where there is only a plastic light box and no attic access. The hardware necessary is called Saf-T-Brace by Westinghouse. It required a fair amount of muscle to install(I would recommend using some channel locks to really secure the bugger in place). If you're in a mobile home, you'll notice that the joists are not 3 1/2" high so you may want to install the bar in upside down so the "teeth" grip the wood.

It took me about 15 minutes to install(after extra cutting with the jigsaw to facilitate the larger box) and I now have a 5-blade, 36" fan fully operational and spinning.

Good luck!



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