Read This Before Trying to Install Your Own Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan is a handy home appliance that does an important job in summer and winter. But should you attempt to install your own ceiling fan?
There’s a succinct answer to that question: No. While it may look like a simple addition to the home, anything involving your electrical system must be left to a fully qualified and licensed electrician. In fact, it is illegal in all states and territories of Australia for an unlicensed person to carry out any DIY electrical work, including installing ceiling fans.
Ceiling fan installation is one of those projects that is referred to as DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself) by Energy Safe Victoria, because it requires expertise in a residential electrical system.
Let’s take a look at what’s involved in installing a ceiling fan and the reasons why you need to leave it to the professionals.
What’s Involved in Ceiling Fan Installation?
One of the most important requirements of ceiling fan installation is a detailed knowledge of a home’s electrical system. This is something most homeowners and non-professional people don’t have, but that a licensed electrician is trained to know and understand.
Everyone knows how to plug in various devices, use a power board or change a light bulb, but installing a new appliance from scratch is a different challenge.
A licensed electrical contractor or ceiling fan installer will have a detailed knowledge of what the different colours in your electrical wiring actually mean – essential to carrying out a completely safe installation. They will also have the skill and experience in removing any old ceiling fans and light fittings to make way for the new model, something that can be dangerous and should never be attempted by someone inexperienced with electrical systems.
Here’s a general list of what the installer will need:
- Ceiling fan kit
- Expandable bracket
- Wire strippers
- Cordless drill
- Voltage tester
- Electrician’s tape
- Safety glasses
An electrician will typically have and be accustomed to working safely up a ladder. With that experience and training they can ensure a safe and secure installation. Most DIYers will not have that necessary experience, which can put them at risk.
There may also be a light fitting connected to the ceiling fan, making the installation more complex. The ceiling fan (and light) will be operated by a wall switch or a remote control. As this all likely requires electrical wiring work, by law it must be carried out by a licensed electrical contractor.
A licensed electrician will also make sure the electrical power supply is turned off before starting work and will ensure that all connections are up to the professional level of Standards Australia.
Where is it Safe to Install a Ceiling Fan?
A qualified technician will be able to help you choose the best location for your ceiling fan. Some larger spaces may even require more than one ceiling fan.
Clearly, you need to have high ceilings for a ceiling fan, so some smaller homes will not be suited. The fan should be at least 2.5m from the ground and the blades should be 20cm or more below the ceiling.
The technician will also ensure that the blades are at least 45cm away from any walls, doors, cupboards, wardrobes or other light fittings.
Benefits of Ceiling Fans
While DIY ceiling fan installation is against the law in Australia, there are plenty of good reasons to have ceiling fans professionally installed in one or more rooms.
Here are just a few of the benefits of having ceiling fans in your home:
- Steady flow of air – A ceiling fan can keep your rooms cool even without turning on your air conditioning.
- Improves your air conditioning – Ceiling fans can boost the efficiency of your air conditioning by distributing cool air throughout the room (or rooms). Reverse the direction during winter so that warm air is distributed evenly.
- Reduce power bills – Not only will your AC work more efficiently, but there are also times when the ceiling fan will cool you down and you won’t even have to turn your air conditioning on.
- Improved lighting – Ceiling fans with lights bring extra brightness to your rooms. They can really illuminate spaces that need it.
- Easy to use – Most ceiling fans are operated with remote control so they’re simple to use in regard to fan speed and direction.
- Handy for outdoors too – Ceiling fans can be handy for creating a breeze in an outdoor entertainment area as well.
If you’ve researched DIY ceiling fan installation prior to reading this, you’ll likely have found plenty of instructional videos online. It’s worth noting that many of these videos are made overseas where regulations for electrical work are not as strict as they are in Australia.
To reiterate, it is against the law in all states and territories of Australia to carry out electrical work in the home if you are not licensed to do so. That includes ceiling fan installation. Leave this tricky job to a fully qualified electrician and you’ll have cool breezes flowing through your home in no time.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.