photo looking down from attic

looking up to ceiling at box

I live in a house that was built in 1932. I assume the ceiling fixture boxes are original to the house. It looks like the box is secured to the joist, and it has a brace running between two joists. Given how it is secured to the joists, is it safe enough to attach a ceiling fan?

2 Answers 2



  1. The bar isn't meant for this. It is attached to the bottoms of the joists, probably with small, rusty old nails. The box is probably attached to the bar a little loosely. Looks like rivets, not sure. The bar runs flat to the ceiling. It's bendy. The fan will cause everything to shake loose, and then the only thing holding up the fan will be the ceiling material that looks like fiberboard and a thin layer of plaster.
  2. You have access from above! Just replace it with a proper box, they cost about $20.

Implementation hint: Buy a metal fan box. There is no easy way to attach that metal-clad cable to a plastic fan box. (The hard way is to put a metal box next to it, which in this case would be silly.) Also, that cable appears to provide no ground wire. Since, again, you have access and are working up above, see if there is a more recent electrical installation nearby from where you can extend a ground wire. Here is one of many articles on this site about doing that.


Maybe give it a test. Try stick something to one of the 4 holes on the ceiling (maybe a screwdriver) and violently shake it. If you concern about the fan's weight, I think your joist would be able to hold it just fine. But the force from the spinning blades maybe too much (hence, the test).

  • 7
    Static weight might be fine. Dynamic forces on that will not end well for the homeowners underneath it.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented May 19 at 16:10
  • That's pretty much what I said.
    – Jose Mulia
    Commented May 22 at 16:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.