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How To Hang A Chandelier or Ceiling Fan

A guide to hanging a ceiling fan or chandelier using an approved hanger.

Installing chandeliers or ceiling fan/light units are common home improvements made by the home handy person. These are straightforward upgrades, but there are certain National Electrical Code (NEC) rules that one must follow for a safe upgrade. The bottom line is that a chandelier or ceiling fan cannot be installed on just any ceiling outlet box. The box must be rated for chandelier or ceiling fan support and the box must be installed in an approved manner. Chandeliers are heavy. Ceiling fans are heavy, and they vibrate. If the box is not rated to support the weight or if the box is not mounted properly, the chandelier or fan may rip free, fall and injure or kill someone. Doing it the right way is not difficult. Here, is the way to do it.

Tools that you will need.

3/8-inch drill/driver

General Tool adjustable 5-inch circle cutter

Electronic stud finder

Tape measure

Adjustable wrench


Westinghouse chandelier-ceiling fan brace.

The Westinghouse chandelier-ceiling fan brace.

The Westinghouse chandelier-ceiling fan brace with outlet box is designed to support chandeliers weighing up to 150 pounds and ceiling fans weighing up to 75 pounds. The 75 pound fan weight limit is because of the stress generated by the fans vibration. The Westinghouse chandelier-ceiling fan brace is designed to be installed between ceiling joist mounted 16 to 24 inches on center. The ceiling outlet box has a wiring volume of 15 and ½ cubic inches. The Westinghouse chandelier-ceiling fan brace can be installed without attic or attic crawlspace access.

Let us begin.

  1. Turn on the electronic stud finder and slide it slowly across the ceiling. Locate the inside edges of two adjacent ceiling joist. Measure the distance between them and mark the halfway point.
  2. Set the General Tool adjustable 5-inch circle cutter to cut a 4-inch opening for the ceiling outlet box. Place the circle cutter in the 3/8-inch drill/driver. Place the drill tip on the mark you made and begin the drilling/cutting operation. Using the drill/drivers variable speed trigger, keep the RPMs to approximately 500 RPM.
  3. Insert the Westinghouse chandelier-ceiling fan brace through the hole and set its feet on the Sheetrock. Expand the brace until the prongs start to bite into the joists. Finish seating the prongs in the joists by using an adjustable wrench.
  4. Insert the cable into the ceiling outlet box and install the outlet box on the brace. Adjust the height of the hanging box until it front lip is flush with the finished ceiling.
  5. Follow the instructions that came with your chandelier or ceiling fan for connecting the circuit wires and for mounting it on the box.

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Comments (1)

This is so HARD!!! My dad always messed up with the ceiling fans.. my former husband did too.. now when we put new ceiling fans this year we had a relative do it and he did it so easily. Great article.