Electrical Safety Foundation International reports that nearly 20,000 people are injured from falling ceiling fans every year. Surprisingly, the injuries suffered are almost always blunt force trauma rather than cuts and decapitation.
So, before you install that new fan above your bed or the dinner table, it is a good idea to understand how heavy a ceiling fan is, how that weight differs between sizes, and, most importantly, how to figure out if you have the correct ceiling box to support a fan.
How Much Does a Ceiling Fan Weigh?
Most residential ceiling fans weigh between 12 and 50 pounds, with the vast majority weighing less than 25 pounds.
However, you should keep in mind that the total weight of a ceiling fan depends on its size and what it is made of.
The motor housing, which sits at the center of the fan, is typically made of metal. Cheap fans feature lightweight metals like aluminum, while more expensive models use heavy steel. If the fan includes lighting, you can expect some additional weight compared to a model without lights.
The blades of ceiling fans are typically made of fiberboard, wood composite, plastic, or hardwood, with the former being much lighter than the latter. The more fan blades there are, the heavier the product.
While you might expect the weight of a fan to go up exponentially as the blades get longer, that typically isn’t the case. That’s because the longer the blades, the more likely they are to be made out of a lighter-weight material.
Here is a general guide to how heavy ceiling fans are based on their width:
- Weight of 28-inch fan – 12 to 15 pounds
- Weight of 42-inch fan – 13 to 20 pounds
- Weight of 52-inch fan – 15 to 25 pounds
- Weight of 62-inch fan – 20 to 32 pounds
How Do You Determine If a Ceiling Box Can Support a Fan?
When you are putting up a new fan using an existing ceiling box, you should assess if it can support the fan. You can generally tell this by checking the box’s label.
According to the National Electrical code, if the manufacturer’s label says it’s rated for ceiling or paddle fans, it should hold up to 35 pounds. If it can hold more, the maximum rating will be listed on the label.
If no label is present, then the box is not rated for ceiling fans. These boxes must, by code, be able to hold fixtures up to 50 pounds.
However, boxes not rated for ceiling fans are installed using smaller #8 screws versus ceiling fan boxes that use #10 screws. These larger screws are necessary to hold the box in place against the movement of a ceiling fan.
So, while a standard ceiling box can hold the weight of the average residential fan, they are not rated to deal with the movement and should not be used for ceiling fan installation.
If your current fan is noisy when in operation, a non-fan approved ceiling box might be to blame. Or it could be one of these other common ceiling fan problems.
Ready for Install?
To sum up, the average residential ceiling fan weighs less than 25 pounds, but some large, expensive fans can weigh as much as 50 pounds. You can tell if your ceiling box is rated to hold a fan by looking for a manufacturer label that specifies it is a fan-rated box. If no label is present, it is likely a standard fixture box that will need to be replaced before a fan can be safely installed.
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