How to Install a Ceiling Fan in a Vaulted Ceiling With No Attic Access

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STEP 1: Select a ceiling fan that suits the size of the room


When choosing a fan, note the size of your room. The blades need to be at least 18 to 24 inches away from all walls, a minimum of 7 feet from the floor, and 10 inches from the ceiling. Use the following figures as a guide to selecting the right size ceiling fan for your space:

  • 36-inch fan if the room is less than 144 square feet
  • 42-inch fan if the room is between 144 and 225 square feet
  • 52-inch fan if the room is more than 225 square feet

Our researched guide to the best ceiling fans offers terrific fan options at a variety of price points. After selecting the fan, select a ceiling box that’s approved for fans. Boxes for overhead lights are not strong enough to support the weight of a fan; your best bet is to choose a metal box that can support a fan’s weight. If you have access from an attic above or have open ceiling framing, you can add framing between joists to attach the box. If not, use a brace bar. A brace bar can be screwed into the joists, and the ceiling box and fan will hang from the newly added support.



Inspect your electrical options

Inspect the area to see what your electrical optio

Inspect the area to see what your electrical options are. If you can use an existing switch to power your new fan, that would be ideal. However, there are several fans sold today that come with a light. These lights usually require an additional switch. If this isn’t available to you, then you’ll need to install another switch. It’s important to call an experienced electrician if you don’t know how to properly do this yourself.

Installing a bathroom fan without attic access

Those individuals who are installing a bathroom exhaust fan without attic access will want to first measure the hole in the ceiling to make sure your new fan will fit in.

If the hole is too small, then you’ll need to increase the dimensions. How do you do this? You’ll first want to hold your new fan’s housing up to the ceiling hole and with a pencil, trace lightly around it. With a keyhole saw, cut the excess ceiling out. You’ll really want to make sure you have your dimensions correct before you begin to cut the excess ceiling out.

On the other hand, if the hole is too large, you’ll need to patch it up with extra drywall. Again, make sure you measure correctly and when you have cut the right sized piece of drywall for the ceiling hole, attach it to a nice-sized piece of wood and set the two inside the hole. You’ll now want to attach it by driving screws through the ceiling and into the wood. Later down the line, you can use spackling to make the ceiling look better.

Mounting your new bathroom exhaust fan

Another thing you’ll want to do is to make sure you have the ability to mount your new bathroom exhaust fan to a ceiling joist. By chance that there’s a large space between the ceiling hole and the ceiling joist, which may prevent you from mounting your new fan to it, you can take a piece of lumber and attach it to the joist. What you’re trying to do here is build it out, so mounting your new fan is possible.

It’s also smart to attach a piece of 1x lumber on the side of the ceiling hole that’s directly opposite of the joist. Use quality screws and drive them through the ceiling. This will provide you with another side to secure your fan’s housing to.

Attach the duct connector to the duct

Once all this is done, take HVAC tape or a clamp and attach the duct connector directly to the duct located in the ceiling. It’s important to read the instructions for your new fan and fully understand what position the duct should be in to install the housing correctly.

If the duct is not positioned right, the housing will not line up the way it’s suppose to. You’ll also want to make sure you use a screw to fully secure the duct connector to the edge of the ceiling hole. This will also need to line up right with the housing. For more information on this, reference the instructions that came with your new fan.

Connect the electrical wires

The electrical wires will now need to be connected. To do this, you’ll need to remove the wiring cover located on your fan’s housing. Once you remove the cover, equip yourself with a screwdriver and remove the knockout plug. You’ll also want to fasten the cable clamp to the wiring cover and then pull the wires coming from your house through the clamp. Tighten the screws on the clamp with a screwdriver and then using either wire nuts or quick connectors, connect the fan wires to the house wires.

It’s very important to match the wire colors properly. For your reference:

Green wires: These are the ground wires and connect to the other green or bare copper house wires.

White wires: White wires are neutral wires and connect to the other white wires.

Black wires: The wires are a hot wire and connect top other black wires.

Don’t fret if you’ve never used quick connectors or wire nuts. They’re extremely easy. To properly use quick connectors, take the connector and push the bare wire into it. It’s that easy. To use wire nuts, take the two ends of the wires, hold them together, and twist the nut onto the wires using a clockwise motion.

You’ll now want to lightly push all the wires inside of your fan’s housing. Once all the wires are in, use a screw driver to screw shut the wiring cover and insert the fan into the hole of the ceiling. It’s important to make sure that you properly line up the exhaust with the duct connector and then secure the fan to the wood supports or at least one joist. Make sure you drive the screws securely through the mounting flange.

How To Install a Bathroom Fan Without Attic Access

I will detail how you can install a bathroom fan without attic access, assuming that your exhaust system and routing are alright. Let’s go:

Step 1: Turn Off The Power

This is the first and foremost thing to do before starting any electrical chore. Turn off the fan first, then turn off the main power line. This ensures extra safety. Check the powerline with a tester to see if electricity is present.

Many people do not know how to use an electric tester which leads to accidents. Put one finger on the bottom end of the tester handle when testing. This will complete the circuit, and the bulb will light up if there’s electricity present.

Step 2: Remove The Fan Grill

The fan housing is protected by a grill. It isn’t tightly secured with screws or bolts, so it should be easy to remove. Usually, a few clips hold the grill in its place. You can remove those with some extra force.

Step 3: Measure The Fan And The Housing Size

The housing on your ceiling and the fan size must match to fit correctly. If you replace an old fan, get a new fan of the exact size. However, if you install a fan for the first time, measure the housing, then get a new fan that matches the size.

If there is any mismatch, you can cut the housing a few inches to make it wide. If you are not sure what you are doing, call a technician.

Step 4: Connect The Duct Connector To The Duct

The duct connector is a part that connects the duct of your house to the bathroom fan. It helps the fan push the air outside and prevents air from coming back in. You can connect the duct connector to the duct using tape, then secure it with the joist of the ceiling.

Check the instruction manual to install the duct properly. This is important because the fan won’t line up when you try to set it in the ceiling if you do not install the duct correctly. As you will have to secure the duct with the ceiling using screws, removing it later will be difficult.

Step 5: Connect The Wirings

Now you have to connect your house wiring with the fan. First, remove the wiring cover on the fan. You may or may not use a wire clamp to connect the wire more conveniently. That’s your preference. Connect your house wire to the fan using a quick connector. Push the wire into the connector, and that’s it.

If your fan doesn’t come with wire connectors, you may need to twist the bare wires with wire nuts. Finally, place the wire in the housing of the fan and secure it with the cover.

Step 6: Place The Fan Housing Properly

Carefully place the fan in the hole in the ceiling. Ensure the fan’s exhaust lines up with the duct connector you have already installed before. Then secure the fan with the joists. If there is any gap, use caulking to fill it.

Step 7: Place The Fan Grill

Finally, place the fan grill in its place. Use the same clips that you removed before to secure it. Do not permanently fix the grill because you may have to open it later for repairing purposes.

To Wrap It All Up

Whether you want to install a ceiling fan somewher

Whether you want to install a ceiling fan somewhere without existing wiring or upgrade your current fixture, knowing how to do this can be tricky. It’s best to have an electrician install a ceiling fan somewhere without pre-established wiring because this can pose a safety hazard if you aren’t experienced with this type of project.

It’s also worth noting that hiring an electrician to install and wire a ceiling fan can cost anywhere from $350-$2,000, so you might want to request a quote from a few different companies before making any decisions.

Regardless, make sure to find a ceiling fan that fits your space, and don’t forget to check if your new fan’s location is accessible from the ceiling.

Before you go, be sure to check out these helpful related HVAC posts down below!

How To Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction

Are Ceiling Fan Downrods Interchangeable?

How To Install A Ceiling Fan On A Sloped Ceiling


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