I am planning on installing a ceiling fan with a light kit (about 17-18lbs total), with a 24” down rod and was wondering if the down rod needed to be supported. Thanks Edit 1 It is a new installation and will be installing the proper box, but was concerned about the down rod only...seismic support(?) Thanks again

  • How high is the ceiling where you plan to install the fan? What is the make and model of the fan you are planning to install? – Jim Stewart Jun 18 '19 at 20:51
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    When you ask if the down rod needs to be supported are you meaning laterally supported to stop wobbling? Whatever you mean the 24" rod would not need extra support. It will fit in the end at the ceiling with the shroud and on the fan exactly as the shorter pipes which come with the fan. – Jim Stewart Jun 18 '19 at 21:43
  • Was there a fan in this location before and you are replacing it with a new fan? Or was there only a light fixture at this ceiling box and now you want a fan with light kit under it? – Jim Stewart Jun 19 '19 at 3:46
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    If you live in a seismically active zone, you may be required to have a special cable as a back up to the standard suspension. Some ultra high performance fans come with a safety cable which must be secured to a ceiling joist. In an earthquake the standard support bracket may not be considered sufficient to secure the fan. Check with your local fan store or building inspection. – Jim Stewart Jun 19 '19 at 17:24

IF you already had a previous fan there then you should not need any support as the Outlet Box should of been installed there to support a fan, if this is a new installation or you are just replacing a fan you will need a ceiling fan Outlet Box, just search google. As for the short or long rod it doesnt matter as the weight is the same but you will need to make sure you have a ceiling fan Outlet Box. Usually you can identify those boxes because the have a little hook where you can hang the fan when installing it.


  • Most of the modern basic fans do not attach via a hook inside the ceiling box. Decades ago I hung some heavy Hunter fans which were supported by a heavy hook which screwed into the ceiling joist or into a 2x4 between the joists. In the last few years I installed some lighter duty Hunter fans which did not require this heavy hook. – Jim Stewart Jun 18 '19 at 22:13
  • Point being you need an outlet box that support the weight of a fan. – Da P.A Jun 19 '19 at 2:34
  • Thank you for your input, Paul and Jim! Your time and knowledge is much appreciated. I’ve gain a lot by the answers! – Carol Jun 19 '19 at 14:22
  • 40 years ago I installed three of the heavy, oil bath Hunters in our house. These are supported by a single heavy hook which screws into a ceiling joist or a 2x4 cross member. More recently I installed several of the lighter, ball bearing Hunters in a relative's house and followed the instructions to the letter. The support bracket for latter can secured to the ceiling joists with a pair of long screws provided. More recently still we had two of the new Hunters installed in our house in rooms which had no ceiling fixtures. The electrician used the bar/box rated for fans to bridge joists.. – Jim Stewart Jun 19 '19 at 16:14

Look in the parts for your fan and see what is the longest pipe that comes with the fan. You will probably find two pipes, but even the longer would be much shorter than 24".

Go online or to a "fan store" and get a 24" pipe specifically made for your fan. It will be installed in place of the shorter pipe that comes with the fan and will come painted to match your fan.

How tall is your ceiling? Be prepared to give that measurement to at the fan store and they might advise you to get a different length pipe--either shorter or longer than 24". As a rough guide I would say that a 24" support rod would be about right for a 10' ceiling, depending on how far down your light kit projects and what you preference is.

The wires that come on the fan are much longer than needed for short pipes and are probably long enough for a 24" pipe without having to add extra wire, but you will have to see what the instructions say.


The modern cheaper fans (e.g., Hunter) can be installed at the location of a box which formerly held only a light fixture if there is a ceiling joist next to the ceiling box. The fan installation kit has a bracket with long screws which go into the ceiling joist which a box is nailed to.

But if the joist is not adjacent to the ceiling box, then the box may well be a light duty one which is on a light metal bar which would not support any fan. In that case the existing box and bar would have to be removed through the existing hole and a fan box with bar installed (through the existing hole).


For example see Down rods for Hunter fans


Note that if you need to substitute a fan support bar for the existing one, you need one which is designed for retrofit through the existing hole. There are some fan support bars which will only work if there is no drywall in place. These are much cheaper but they cannot be inserted through an existing 3.5" or 4" hole in ceiling drywall whereas the retrofit ones can be.


In case of failure of the primary fan suspension safety cables will provide a backup. Safety cables may be required in seismic zones, and in certain applications such as schools, daycare facilities, nursing homes, etc. Panasonic info on safety in fan installations

None of the fans I have ever installed, or had installed for me, has a safety cable.

  • Save all the parts they need to be changed over to longer rod.And take notes how they came off. – user101687 Jun 18 '19 at 21:12
  • Untrue. All ceiling fans need fan rated boxes. Especially the cheaper ones because they will be poorly balanced and have high dynamic forces. A plain box installed at a joist is not a ceiling fan rated box. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 19 '19 at 15:08
  • I installed three of the new Hunter Fans. These have hardware which does not use the ceiling box for support and are designed to retrofit to replace a light without changing the box, if there is a ceiling joist adjacent to the box. The suspending bracket for the fan is secured by long, heavy screws which go vertically into the edge of the ceiling joist. The fan is centered on the joist (not on the box) but the shroud is so large that it covers the box. This cannot be used where the location of the fan is between joists. I have other fans which required the fan rated box/bar. – Jim Stewart Jun 19 '19 at 16:00

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