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I'm replacing an old ceiling fan. The old one wobbled a lot even after tightening the blades and trying to balance it. Right now the electrical box is just a plastic one that appears to be screwed into the ceiling joist. Will replacing the box with a brace like this one help with the wobbling?

Here is a picture of what the old fan was attached to. I haven't taken off the old fan bracket yet.

I'm not sure what happened to the ceiling where the fan touched it. It looks like it melted or they installed the fan when the paint was still wet.

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Edit

So when I took the metal piece off the electrical box fell down. Looks like there is already a brace there.

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  • The last wobbly fan I fixed had loose connections at the fan mounting bracket and at the motor-downrod connection (the set screw wasn't tightened). The box itself wasn't an issue. – isherwood Jun 20 '18 at 18:36
  • If the crossbar is a solid hexagon in shape, you may have that "other bracket" in place already. My skin is itching just from seeing that insulation. Grab onto the crossbar and see if it's coming loose. I still would bet a nickel that you have a blade imbalance creating your wobble. I usually start with the mount to the motor and shift all blades in one direction (all far left or far right) instead of trying to center the mounts between the screws. 1/2 inch off to one side, on one blade can make that much of a difference. – Bee Kay Jun 20 '18 at 23:20
  • The current brace is loose as in I can move it up and down. I can feel it gripping the joist. I was thinking of seeing the junction box from the new brace I bought would fit on the brace that is currently there. – Michael Turnwall Jun 20 '18 at 23:33
  • Retrofit braces are designed to be tightened to the joists (some by rotating the brace), then the box is put on and tightened. It appears to me that a nut is missing from one of the bolts. The absence of this nut would prevent tightening the bolt from below. What is the function of that "L" hook on the flat metal brace? – Jim Stewart Jun 21 '18 at 1:44
  • The "L" hook is there to hang the fan on while you make the wire connections. – Platinum Goose Jun 21 '18 at 13:44
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Assuming that this box isn't tied directly to a joist, then yes, a replacement bracket like you've shown could help. Either way, you should take off the shiny bracket and confirm how this box is mounted, and check if it is sturdy or not.

However, most "wobbles" are caused by blade imbalances, not from the mounting box. The faster they run, the more susceptible they are to wobbling. They do have balancing kits for sale at local places usually. They use peel and stick weights, and a slide-on clip, to help figure out where the peel-and-stick weights go on (on the side towards the ceiling of course.)

The paint "melting" look is from a previous fan being in place, and years of repainting around it got it stuck to the old escutcheon/cover plate....

  • The plastic box is held in place by two screws. It feels sturdy though I am able to wiggle the box a bit with little effort. – Michael Turnwall Jun 20 '18 at 18:45
  • With these plastic ceiling boxes the ceiling fan hanging bracket does not depend on the plastic box for support. Two long wood screws which come with the fan secure the metal fan bracket through holes in the plastic box and into a ceiling joist or a 2x4 or a 2x6 cross member going between two joists. You don't have to remove the box to determine whether you have a suitable wooden support. With a screwdriver or a wire feel around between the outer edge of the box and the sheetrock to see what you have. – Jim Stewart Jun 20 '18 at 20:52
  • @JimStewart If he's opting to use a brace mount, he'll need to know how the existing one is mounted, as there may be a beam in his way and be unable to install the brace.... I've mounted ceiling fans with "pancake" boxes before, and pass thru bolts directly to the wood behind is a good option, as long as the fan isn't wobbling to the point of wrecking the drywall around the bracket. – Bee Kay Jun 20 '18 at 22:00
  • I edited my post. It turns out the plastic junction box is was attached to a brace. When I removed the metal plate the box came out and I could see a brace in the ceiling. – Michael Turnwall Jun 20 '18 at 22:53
  • Also the piece that the box screws onto is loose on the bar. Unfortunately the only way to tighten or remove the brace is to go into the attic. The screws are attached from the top. – Michael Turnwall Jun 20 '18 at 23:15
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The box should not wiggle, loose things just get looser. Confirm it is actually a ceiling fan box. Confirm it's actually mounted to the joist. Make sure the correct fasteners were used to fasten it to the joist. Replace or tighten the fasteners. If there's not a joist there then the bracket you posted is a good option.

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In my experience with Hunter fans the ceiling fan hanging bracket does not depend on the plastic box for support. Two long, special, wood screws come as part of the fan hardware; they are used to secure the fan hanging bracket through HOLES in the plastic box into a ceiling joist or a 2x4 or a 2x6 cross member going between two joists.

I have never seen a bracket with this metal strip. Perhaps, that steel strip is strongly attached to a secure member and you can attach the fan hanging bracket to the steel with suitable bolts. Or that strip may have been part of the hardware of the original fan and not be needed for the new one.

You don't have to remove the box to determine whether you have a suitable wooden support. With a screwdriver or a wire feel around between the outer edge of the box and the sheetrock to see what you have. If the new screws don't tighten hard, then you could insert anchors (but this might require drilling out the holes to fit the anchors).

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