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I'd like to replace a ceiling light with a ceiling fan. I've replaced existing ceiling lights before but I'm worried about the additional weight of the fan. How do I determine whether the existing fixture can support the fan? The house is over 100 yrs old so it certainly doesn't meet any modern codes and there is no access to the ceiling except from below.

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If you have a house that old and there is a light fixture in the said location you must assume that it would not hold a ceiling fan.

You will probably have to do some light drywall repair or try an old work ceiling fan box to get a fan working.

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You'll have to look at the inside of the box where the light is mounted. It should have printing inside it - although at the age of the house, it may not. Boxes that can support ceiling fans will be known as "acceptable for fan support":

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If you don't see something like that, you're going to need to take out some of the ceiling and replace to box with a fan box or run the risk of the fan being too heavy and falling down at the worst possible time.

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    Just because the box is acceptable for fan support does not mean it was mounted in the ceiling in a fashion that makes it acceptable for fan support. Apr 11, 2015 at 21:40

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