I want to replace a small hanging chandelier with a ceiling fan and am trying to figure out if the existing box can support a fan. I don't see labeling on the box itself but noticed this large rod sticking out in the center of it. Any idea what that is? Is that perhaps an indicator that it's attached to a horizontal beam that mounts into the joists?

Update: So I managed to get my scope camera up there and took a picture (see below). It looks like there is a beam that goes across and connects to the joists with 1 screw on each side and 2 staples. Do you think that is strong enough?

Ceiling light box

enter image description here

  • Can you read any writing stamped into the inside of the box itself? Fan rated boxes are required to be marked as such... Jul 19, 2016 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


The threaded rod you see in the middle is a stud. It is used to attach mounting bars or hickey (a connecting device). Studs are attached to the box, not to framing members. It is no indicator of the strength of the box itself, or the attachment mechanism.

Fan boxes are characterized by their screw system that ensures a redundant attachment between the fan and the box. They also must be solidly mounted to framing members.

There are no heavy screws showing in the interior of the box, and the screw in the clamp holding the NM wiring going straight up suggests that there is not a framing member directly above the box.

It is both against code, and more importantly, dangerous to mount a fan in an unapproved box. The weight an dynamic load of a fan makes failure a high risk.

You need to replace the box with an approved box and ensure that the box is firmly attached to framing members. It may require some drywall surgery, but it is worth it.

  • ah. I attached a new picture above with how it mounts into the joists. Am I to assume that is still too weak?
    – John
    Jul 19, 2016 at 0:14
  • Yes. That flimsy frame cannot handle the torque and vibration of a fan.
    – bib
    Jul 19, 2016 at 1:04
  • any suggestion as to how I can get this old one out?
    – John
    Jul 19, 2016 at 2:54
  • 1
    If you have access to the space above, you can remove the old brace and box, and add framing members to firmly attach the box to. If not, you may have to open some drywall sufficient to get a framing member in and firmly attached. Then you can mount the fan box to the frame.
    – bib
    Jul 19, 2016 at 16:37

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