Replacing ceiling lights with ceiling fans

Find out if you can use the same hole for ceiling and ceiling fans

Can I Use the Same Hole for Ceiling Lights and Ceiling Fans?

Yes and No. When preparing to replace an ordinary ceiling light with a ceiling fan, you definitely CANNOT use the same electrical box for both, even though the space needed for the hole may be the same for both fixtures. The main reason for this is that the electrical box for a ceiling light may not be able to support the weight of the ceiling fan. Piedra Semi Flush light
Reinforce the electrical box of your ceiling light fixture to accommodate the weight of your ceiling fan.


Some safety reminders for the replacement of ceiling lights and ceiling fans:

  • Check with your local building authority to determine if you can do the electrical work yourself, or your apartment supervisor or landlord, before starting any work.

  • Always wear safety equipment, like goggles and work gloves.

  • Ask a friend to help you with the installation, as it requires you to check many things at once.

  • Prepare a secure ladder.

  • ALWAYS turn off the electricity in the part of the house you are working on.

Reinforcing the electrical box of your current ceiling light fixture to accommodate the weight of your ceiling fan is easy; just put a piece of wood between two joists to reinforce the current box to hold the weight. Another option is to replace the electrical box of a ceiling light with one designed to support the weight and electrical current of ceiling fans. You can pick up a ceiling fan/heavy fixture installation brace and box from your nearest hardware store for about $10 to ensure that your ceiling fan will mount to the ceiling without fear of falling or electrical shorts.


  • Thread the wires through the chain. Depending on the size of links that you have, loop the wires through every second or third link of the chain. Thread the wire through the hanging loop. Attach the hanging loop to the top link of the chain then crimp the top link closed. Now thread the wire through the canopy.

  • Make adjustments to the double wire to attach it to the house wires. Cut the attached center of the double wire with wire cutter. Make sure that you separate at least 6 inches of wire to be attached to the house wires in the junction box. The slim copper wire is to be used to ground the chandelier.

  • Work with the wires. If you don’t have any experience with electrical wires or if you aren’t confident this is something you can do right on your own, it’s time to call an electrician. If you are confident enough in your knowledge and skill with electrical wires, then proceed to strip half an inch off the wire coating. Twist together the fine wires in each coating. You should end up with three wires at this point. One is the slender copper wire and the other two made of the fine wires twisted together.

  • Thread the three wires through the central threaded mounting tube. Push them up to the junction box, then pull them back towards you to be able to attach them to the house wires.

  • Match the chandelier wires to the house wires. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for this process. The usual practice is that the white wires or the wires with white writing on them are matched together. Twist the matching chandelier and house wires together and secure them with a twist-on connector. As an added measure, secure these wires with electrical tape.

  • Tuck the wires into the junction box. This may look messy at first but they will all be covered by the canopy (and the ceiling medallion, if you’re using one). Ground the chandelier by wrapping the slender, copper wire around the green screw on the mounting bracket. Tighten the screw as far as it will go. Push all remaining wires up into the junction box.

  • Secure the chandelier to the ceiling. Insert the mounting screw into the canopy and thread the hanger loop through the protruding part of the screw. Make sure to rotate the entire chandelier along with the hanger loop so as not to tangle up the wires. You might need someone to help you with this. Tighten the hanger loop as far as it will go to ensure a secure connection.

  • Finally, attach all bulbs, shades, and attachments that were removed. Now turn the power on and enjoy your elegant light fixture.
  • Reminders:

    • Remember to check the maximum weight that a ceiling can bear before attempting to install your chandelier. Call the building inspector or a builder to assess this.
    • Always read the manufacturer’s guide before and while installing the chandelier. When you’re done with the install, triple-check to make sure you didn’t miss a key step.
    • Double check when matching the wires. Always match the same wires. If you’re not sure about which wires to join together, it’s best to leave it to a professional electrician.
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