General Question

andrew's avatar

Is it safe to hang a lightweight ceiling fan from electrical box ears?

Asked by andrew (16346points) July 30th, 2008

Of course, Home Depot instructed me to use a standard junction box when I went to get parts for the guys installing a ceiling fixture. It’s securely mounted across two studs.

I wouldn’t think twice about installing the ceiling fan into the existing box, but on the instructions for the Saf-T-Brace (a ceiling fan-specific junction box and brace) I bought for a different ceiling fan, it specifically says “Install fan or fixture…into the threaded inserts, NOT THE ELECTRICAL BOX EARS”

The fan I have is < 20 lbs. Do I need to replace the whole electrical box with a special “ceiling fan” box?

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8 Answers

Scrumpulator's avatar

That is what I would do, or at least take out the box and bring it to Home Depot and ask them/ get a new one at the same time. You don’t want to risk your safety or the safety of others with 20 pounds over someones head. It can kill if it hits the right spot.

Its an easy swap out if you have a flashlight or have secured the wire ends/cut the power to that box. Good luck.

srtlhill's avatar

Everything that’s been said is true andrew but here’s my take. You test how secure the ceiling box is and possibly secure the box even better with some screws 3” or however deep is needed. In other words make sure the box is fastened tight to a beam or other cross member. If the the box is in good condition and secure give it a go. I’ve used this method on plaster ceilings where the box is inacessable in my home. If it’s a public place don’t take any shortcuts. If the fan seems wobbily or the box can’t be secured properly hire an electrician. My disclaimer : instructions are usually written in someones blood. Use good common sense.

iJimmy's avatar

Just run the fan on high, in reverse and leave it on all the time. It will hover against you celing and support it’s own weight.

… Since you have some real good answers already. I thought I would have some fun. Of course don’t really do this.

andrew's avatar

It’s really not the issue of the box being secure; it’s securing the fan TO the box.

srtlhill's avatar

understood. As long as the screws tighten your good to go.

andrew's avatar

(the box itself is rated for fixtures < 150 lbs (just like the ceiling fan fixture).

I’ll give it a try. I’ll get some good nuts and some loc-tite. For extra measure.

jcs007's avatar

Anytime I have a question regarding heavy objects and electricity, I take as many precautions as possible. So if you have a suspicion that this is unsafe, then you suspicion is probably right.

Knotmyday's avatar

I currently have six ceiling fans, of varying sizes and weights, all mounted to junction boxes. hey, I live in Arizona
Five years, nary a wobble or squeak. The brace people may be attempting a monopolization ploy.

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