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I have a Tri-State home with a center beam extending from one gable end of the house to the other at the peak. The beam is completely exposed in the living room. I installed a ceiling fan with light twenty years ago and now the unit has failed. I need to install a new one. I have surface mount wall switch and conduit going up to the beam where the old fan was. I have no electrical box, the wires were enclosed in the canopy of the fan unit. Is this okay to do. I installed this myself twenty years ago and the guy from the building center where I purchased everything said that was okay. I am now having my doubts. What should I do?

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Stop being a cheapskate and get a box, will ya?

What you need is a surface-mounted ceiling fan box, either of the saddle or the pancake types. Wiring a fan without a box is a great way to drop a ceiling fan on the head of an unsuspecting guest, as well as a fire hazard if a splice ever fails! Just make sure the box you get is rated for the fan load you have...

  • No pancake boxes! Those things don't always meet box fill requirements, and may or may not be rated to support the weight of a ceiling fan. The catalog (PDF)(page 8) lists that pancake box at 35 lbs fan weight, and 50 lbs fixture weight. – Tester101 Sep 1 '15 at 1:24
  • @Tester101 yeah, whatever box he gets needs to be rated to handle the weight of the fan. – ThreePhaseEel Sep 1 '15 at 1:34
  • @Tester101 -- also, does wiring space provided by a fixture count towards box fill space? – ThreePhaseEel Sep 1 '15 at 1:35
  • If the volume is marked on the canopy, then it can be used (314.16(A)). However, I doubt you'll find a canopy with a volume marked on it. – Tester101 Sep 1 '15 at 1:48
  • @Tester101 -- that's odd that they don't, I suppose -- penny-pinchers at work? – ThreePhaseEel Sep 1 '15 at 3:33

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