CHOICE membership

Ceiling Fan Installation

Hi

Looking to get 3 ceiling fans installed on existing light fixtures. Whats the best way to go? Buy the fans online and get an electrician? Get an all-in-one service (fans plus install) from Beacon Lighting, Bunnings or Good Guys?

Are my complications going to be an issue:

  • 3.8m ceilings
  • existing light fittings for each
  • ceiling rose in one bedroom

I’ve contacted a number of electricians but they seem to be going cold … perhaps on the complications?

Thanks!

AC

Hi AC

Let me start by saying I am not an electrician, but we have had lots of these ceiling fans installed in our home.

There is no easy answer. Firstly, what ceiling fan/light do you want? How much do you want to spend on each?

If you are a memeber of Choice have a look at Choice ceiling fan review Sept 2019. The review lists eight ceiling fans with integrated lights.

Once you have made a selection, you need to see if they are available on-line, or for ‘over the counter’ purchases. Work out the cost of the fan including delivery or your travel time.

If you organise for an electrician to pick them up, you will have to pay them for their travel time, and generally the electrical suppliers the electricians buy from are more expensive.

Find out what electricians in your area (who are willing to come out) charge hourly. If it’s a straight swap of fan light for light fitting, you have to allow about a hour each (at a guess based on ours) to install to the ceiling and swap the wall switch.

Without seeing it, it is hard to know if the ceiling rose would be a problem. Depends on the fitting that is there at the moment vs the fitting for the fan light. It also depends on whether there is a convenient truss above the rose to hang the ceiling fan on to or not.

The fact that you have 3.8m ceilings a problem, as most electricians aren’t likely to carry A-Frame ladders that go that high. You may need one that does commercial work.

But don’t use those get a quote sites, as they often lead to very expensive outcomes as detailed elsewhere on the forum.

So I think you will need to lots of research and work out for yourselves which is the best in your circumstance.

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@meltam has provided some good advice.

What do you mean by the best way to go?..the most convenient, the likely best outcome or lowest price. Depending on what the meaning of best is for you, there may be different answers.

No, as long as they are aware when quoting.

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A few more points to consider.

Is there good access into the ceiling at each location? The fans will likely require battens or brackets installed for the fans to mount to. Unless you have a very old house with solid veejay timber ceilings or similar.

Fans with speed controls at the light switch will also require extra wiring to power the fan separately to the light. Sometimes pulling in the extra cable can be quite difficult. There are options with some products to have a fan that uses a wireless remote control that saves the extra cable. Note many ceiling light fittings may not have an earth connection (required for fans). This is also an extra length of cable when required, typically from a suitable connection somewhere in the roof space.

One strategy may be to arrange for your preferred local electrician to come and look at the job to provide some advice or recommendations, before you go out to buy the fans you would like. Noted your comments

The more you can tell them about the job reliably the more likely they will respond. Alternately flying blind is a bit of a risk. Offering to pay an electrician a small agreed cost to look at the job, one who is local and preferably one who you get a mates reference from might be the go. Simply ask them to come and inspect the job and advise what is required. They should also be able to subsequently give you a firm quote or maximum estimate for the job. Your call then as to how many other quotes you get, but at least you have a starting point. Also no need for you to crawl around the roof or show off your lack of electrical knowledge.

The electricians we use will inspect and quote or estimate at no cost, but only as they know the house. There is much value in asking those you know locally who they have had great service and fair costs from?

P.S.
The ceiling rose suggests an old house. These, unless it is our 140 year old cottage which has been rewired recently are full of expensive surprises. It would seem a pity to ruin an older style ceiling and rose with a fan light. We use modern produced, older style pedestal, fans in two rooms with 3.3m ceilings. In another larger room pairs of ceiling fans no lights, mounted in diagonally opposite corners work great.

We purchased ceiling fans that have long 1.2m extension shafts available at extra cost. Ceiling fans in short shafts look all wrong to my eye on high ceilings. Installing the fans closer to the middle of the air space seems to work better (more circulation), subjective comparison with other rooms with fans installed close to the ceiling.

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Mark, you have hit a number of nails on their heads. There are some issues an electrician would need to explore as its not going to be a simple job like in a newer house. Mine is 110 years old and does have that style and character. I’m interested in how you have made use of pedestal fans instead as an option as the point about the ceiling rose is well-made. However, one of my motivations is to use fans in three rooms (with winter mode as well) instead of adding a split system airconditioner (as I don’t really feel the need). I need interior design skills.

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Hi @acreed2002 my husband is a builder and when it comes to cost if the owner purchases the ceiling fans themselves it is ALWAYS cheaper for them, as our Electrician only charges to install them.

If you get the Electrician to purchase the fans themselves, they go straight to the Distributor that they have an Account with, purchase the fans and then RE-WRITE you an Account for the fans with their commission on top of the price charged…
so keep that in mind if you are cost conscious and have time to purchase your fans yourself…
Hope this helps you! Cheers Nat :wink:

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Thanks Nat. I had a feeling that might be the case if I make the effort to select and purchase the fans myself. Then the electrician can concentrate on their installation.

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We simply place them out of the way to one side of the room and direct them to either blow towards us in oscillating mode in summer, or fixed mode directing the air to circulate around the sides of the room in a circle in winter. Two of our three small rooms have an open partition.

You used to be able to buy a variety of wall mounted fans and install these as permanent fixtures. When we rewired the older part of the house, we came up under the floor and discretely added power points in all corners of each room.

P.S.
Style. Modern convenience wins. Choose wisely items that have an older look and colours. There is no one right or wrong. In our instance 1880’s vintage electrical appliances, lighting and switches are non existent. Our house never had electricity when it was constructed. It appears to have been first wired in the 1930’s with cotton wrapped insulation on the cables. No earthing! Authenticity would be a fireplace, oil burning lamps and candles. A museum vs a practical living space choice that is easy to make.