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How to Disassemble and Remove an Old Ceiling Fan

A Step-by-Step Guide Focused on Safety

© 2013 by Sarah Harris; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

Ceiling fan with light kit; photo © KSmith Media, LLC

Many homeowners tend to prefer doing things themselves. If you’re handy with a toolbox, there are probably all kinds of home improvement problems that you like to solve all on your own.

A new ceiling fan can certainly be one of them. A ceiling fan is a great way to decorate a room, but they don’t last forever.

Sometimes, a rickety old ceiling fan can actually seem like it presents more danger than anything else. When you want to get rid of something like this, it’s actually quite simple to do so on your own.

You don’t need a lot of skill or expertise when it comes to tools or building things, and you don’t need to know a lot about electrical wiring.

Tools for Removing a Ceiling Fan

  • A wooden or fiberglass ladder; not metal
  • Set of screwdrivers (slot and Phillips, variety of sizes)
  • Protective eyewear
  • Pliers
  • Wire nuts
  • Circuit tester or multimeter

The first step is to make sure all power in the room is off. If you are not sure which breaker it is, turn the fan and/or light on and keep flipping them until the power to the unit goes off.

Remove the Lighting Kit (if applicable)

Remove whatever type of light fixture is featured on your ceiling fan; Typically, it is the lowest part of the unit. Many fans will feature individual light globes, with some type of decorative glassware around the bulb itself.

When this is the case, be sure to remove these very, very carefully. The glass that’s typically used to make something like this is very fragile and can easily break, resulting in a nasty cut.

Once you’ve carefully removed any and all light fixtures and set them aside, you’re ready to disassemble what’s known as the lighting kit.

This kit is the part that hangs down just beneath the blades, where the lighting fixtures are located. There is typically an upper section and a lower section of the kit, and you want to make sure that you run the screws out of the top section.

This is the part that connects the lighting kit to your fan’s base. You’ll need to disconnect a wire or two, and be sure that you’re supporting the lighting kit as you unscrew it, so that it doesn’t fall onto your head.

Disconnect the wires one at a time and secure a wire nut onto the exposed end of each wire on the fan side, not the kit side. Yes, the power has been isolated, but this is one of those situations where it pays to err on the side of caution.

Remove the Blades and Base (Motor)

Next, you’re going to remove the blades. These are attached right near the base, typically by two screws at the bottom of the blade. Remove these and you’ll be able to easily take the fan blades off.

Now you need to remove the base unit’s canopy. These screws will be located right near the ceiling, and it’s very important that you support the canopy as you’re unscrewing them to avoid injury.

At some point about now, depending on you model, you will be disconnecting electrical wires connecting the base to the junction box. As above, uncouple them one at a time and install wire nuts.

When the canopy has been removed, you can use your pliers to loosen the bolts and remove the base from your ceiling. This is another step during which you must take care to avoid head injury, and your goggles will come in handy to protect you from falling plaster or debris.

Once this step is complete, you’re all done. If you want to learn more about the process of balancing, removing, or installing a new ceiling fan, you can check the articles in the link section below for more information. Otherwise, following these easy steps will make sure you have no problem when it comes time to disassemble your old ceiling fan.

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