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I want to replace a ceiling light fixture with a ceiling fan/light combo. the existing fixture is about 32 inches from a wall. what size fan can I put there?

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I have replaced a couple ceiling light fixtures with ceiling fan/light combos in bedrooms where the light was basically in the center of the room. This was fairly straight forward and for me required replacing the electrical box that the light fixture was using with a heavier duty fan mounting box which you should make sure you use (that way the fan/light combo won't fall on your head later on -- literally). As far as the size of fan you can put there depends on whether the fan mounting electrical box can be mounted in the "exact" position of your original ceiling light fixture. I say this because the new box MUST be anchored to the ceiling joist structure in some way as a ceiling fan (usually) weighs more than a light fixture and tends to vibrate lending to more stress on the electrical box it's mounted to. Have someone who is an electrician or at the very least has a clear understanding of the importance of proper electrical work do the work or at least clearly explain what you need in your specific situation.

It is generally accepted that you should have at least 18" of space between a wall and the tip of your fan blade. In order to do this with the 32" figure you gave, ideally you should have a (32" - 18") x 2 = 28" fan. A fan in the 28" to 30" range is probably about as big as you should go in this area. You could technically place a 60" fan in that location and leave only about 2" of space between the fan blade and the wall, but that's asking for trouble and should NOT be done in my opinion. The smaller the fan, the less air you will be able to move, therefore you need to balance size, air flow requirements, and the restrictions of your particular location with what you can put there.

Do a quick internet search on "what size ceiling fan do I need" for more information on this topic.

Posted on May 26, 2014

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White = Fan and Light neutral or "common"
Black = Fan line voltage or "hot"
Blue = Light line voltage or "hot"
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If you are replacing an existing light fixture - be sure to replace the ceiling box with one designed for use with a fan - as per electrical code. If the existing box had only 2 wires (or 3 counting the ground) that connected to the old light fixture and it was controlled from a wall switch, the wiring would be fixture white to ceiling white, fixture black and fixture blue to ceiling black (or red) and fixture green to ceiling bare ground or connected to the metal box. This would power both the fan and light whenever the wall switch was on and the pull chains for each were also on. This is also the preferred wiring for replacement of a pull chain type light fixture (no wall switch present).

If there are other wires in the box that previously were not connected to the old light fixture, using a meter or tester - determine if there is constant power between the ceiling white wire and any of the these other wires (test with the wall switch on and off to be sure). If you do have constant power available, you might consider using the wall switch to control only the light, and using the pull chain to operate the fan (or vice-versa). Simply connect the black (for fan) or the blue (for light) to the "constant power on" wire and that part of the fixture will work by pull chain only - regardless of the wall switch position. If the fan can be shut off by the wall switch, it is very important that the wall switch remain a toggle (or on / off switch), do NOT replace with a dimmer type switch.

If you'd prefer to operate the fan and light completely independently of each other - you can purchase a 3rd party fan & light remote control device for between $30 - $50.

I hope this helps and good luck! Please rate my reply. Thanks!

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