I just installed a ceiling fan at my mother's house, and in hindsight, I think I might need to go back and re-do the wiring.

The ceiling fan came with a bracket that screws into the outlet box in the ceiling, then the instructions say to attach the fan motor itself to that bracket -- BEFORE doing the wiring. So, I did that, then attempted to do the wiring, attaching the white to white, blue to black, and ground to ground using the supplied wire nuts, however I ran into challenges getting what I felt was a good connection, since one wire was solid (and VERY stiff) and the other was stranded. The instructions then state to "gently" (ha) stuff the connected wires up into the outlet box.

The opening in the bracket that the wires are to pass through is no bigger than a quarter, and with the wiring already coming through that hole, inserting the wiring up into the ceiling was literally, impossible. So I left the wiring as close to the ceiling as possible but it's currently inside the fan housing, instead of in the ceiling outlet box.

So here are my two concerns:

1) I now realize, after researching, that code usually requires that the spliced wiring be inside the outlet box

2) I should have used more bare stranded wire than was stripped by the factory. I simply trusted the out of the box stripping of the wire, but there was less length of stranded wire exposed than there was solid supply wire.

The fan works fine, no dimming of the lights, or arcing sounds, or anything. But, to add to my concern about this, my mom's house uses fuses... to say nothing about AFCI or anything like that.

Should I just go back and re-do it? Or stop messing with it?

  • 4
    For peace of mind, go redo it. I know the nagging feeling of thinking you didn't quite do a DIY project up to your own standards. I will ask one other question though (hopefully not get you TOO worried) but...was the box in the ceiling an actual fan box? A ceiling fan box has a cross bar that is connected to the two ceiling joists to so that the weight of the fan is properly supported. A standard light fixture box is likely not secured to meet the needs of a moving ceiling fan.
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 21:57
  • 2
    Also, one 'trick': The better ceiling fans come with a stranded cable that you can 'hang' from the box while you wire it all up. That way something is supporting the fan while you have room to wire with both hands. If your fan didn't come with that, you could possibly rig that up yourself.
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 21:58
  • Mine had a hook in the ceiling mounting plate rather than a cable, buy yes, something to hang it from makes life much, much less stressful.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 22:34
  • 1
    Not to make you too paranoid but I never trust 'the box that was there'. My parents house had 3 ceiling fans. When we went to replace them all we realized that they were all being held up only by sheetrock. The boxes weren't even nailed into the trussed.
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 22:54
  • 1
    @trpt4him Check the box - I thought my boxes were fan rated when I was replacing my broken my livingroom ceiling fan (that had been up since before I bought the house), found out that the box wasn't fan rated, then ended up taking down the bedroom ceiling fans too because they didn't have fan boxes either -- on one of them, the box was cracked and barely supporting the weight of the fan, I nearly broke the box entirely while taking down the fan, glad it didn't break and fall down on the bed. You can get retrofit fan support boxes if your boxes aren't fan boxes.
    – Johnny
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


To answer your concerns:

The reason the National Electric Code requires wires to be contained in an approved enclosure/box is to protect them from being damaged, but also for any arcing that might occur (the resulting spark and heat are restricted inside the box. From experience having installed more than 15 ceiling fans: wires should be no shorter than 4 inches exiting a box, wire them in this order grounds, whites and hot last; this is also how they should be placed back into a box. If the box is full with other wires unrelated to the fan I will try to at least push the wire nuts into the enclosure and tuck the leftovers out of the way.

Also, for your own peace of mind, try this: after tightening a wire nut give the wire a gentle tug. If it doesn't pull free it most likely will remain so. For even more peace of mind (and because its mama's) wrap the wire nuts with a few turns of vinyl electricians tape in the same direction that the wire nut was tightened. I would double check your work since you expressed concern (and because it's your mom). As long as you have sound wire connections and the box is rated to support the fan you will be fine.

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