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Old 07-07-2009, 09:30 AM   #1
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


Hi, first time poster here and glad I found the site. I'm hoping to install a ceiling fan in my bedroom and have come across a perplexing situation with the outlet box. After removing the light fixture I noticed that the outlet box was slightly loose - not a whole lot of movement, but enough to make me wonder. So after crawling like a crab all over our attic I was able to uncover the outlet box and discovered that the main reinforcement on it seems to be non-electrical wires that run over the top of a 2x4 nailed down across the joists. It seems to be relatively strong and I'm supposing it'll hold the fan. Anybody ever run into this before? The home was built in the early 50's. I've drawn a lame picture of it and posted it below.




Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 07-07-2009, 09:40 AM   #2
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


Never seen it before, but I wouldn't trust a fan on it

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Old 07-07-2009, 11:23 AM   #3
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


You need to put in a properly mounted ceiling fan box. The movement of the fan will cause it to wobble if the box isn't secured properly.

Remove the 2x4 and reattach it so that the 3.5" side is vertical and the 1.5" side is centered over the hole below and between the 2 joists. Use 3" deck screws through the sides of the joist into the ends of the 2x4. Leave the bottom of the 2x4 flush with the drywall below. Get a 1/2" ceiling fan pan and wire clamp. I can't remember if the ceiling fan pan comes with the screws to attach it to the joist and the ground screw, but if not, use 4 of the 3" deck screws to secure it and buy a pack of ground screws.

Last edited by surrogate; 07-07-2009 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


I would agree with the others here that your current setup is NOT ok for a fan mount!

surrogate:
They actually make fan rated ceiling boxes that fit over the side of a 2x4 and give you plenty of room to make up the wire connections, rather than dealing with a pancake box.

Other option is to just buy the fan box kit which is just a bar that extends between the 2 joists and the box attaches to the bar via a clamp. I've used plenty of these in old construction where there was an existing light box and in some cases where there was no light or box at all (but dealing with a sheetrock ceiling already in place).
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Old 07-07-2009, 01:27 PM   #5
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


Here's what I ended up doing...





Not the prettiest work ever but it definitely feels alot more secure...thanks for the input
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


Quote:
Originally Posted by theatretch85 View Post
surrogate:
They actually make fan rated ceiling boxes that fit over the side of a 2x4 and give you plenty of room to make up the wire connections, rather than dealing with a pancake box.
Either one will work, yet I prefer the metal pan for some unknown reason.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:42 PM   #7
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


Yeah for next time get a ceiling fan outlet box. They make them with a a loing bracket the box slides on and it screws into both joists. Also there is one w/ a hook that hooks over the joist.
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:17 PM   #8
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


please correct me on this, I thought the whole purpose of pancake fan box was that the ears were of a stronger grade metal. I have seen ceiling fan where the bracket was screwed directly into the support brace/board, but have also seen where the bracket screws into the ears of the juction box, and heard that a regular box is not heavy gauge enough to support a fan., And I understand they probably make different size fan boxes, just using pancake as an example.
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:05 PM   #9
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


Fan box screws are 10/32 as opposed to 8/32's on standard boxes.

Big whoop.



We always use fan/pans on installations. There is plenty of room in the fan canopy for wiring.

If I feel that an existing standard box is securely mounted to the framing, I don't hesitate to hang a fan on it. It's not going anywhere. If it's a welded box or on a bar hanger, I will change it.

Last edited by 220/221; 07-07-2009 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:27 PM   #10
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


If the box is not the sole support for the fan you don't need a fan rated box. It sounds like you have transfered the load to the wood, as long as the screws are not just into the box.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:45 PM   #11
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


Quote:
If the box is not the sole support for the fan you don't need a fan rated box

Wow Jim really . Anyways looking past that stupid answer you can use any FAN RATED BOX!

Sincerely, dSilanskas
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:01 PM   #12
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


still a little confused on my part, when I referred to the fan box, I thought the box itself is of a heavier gauge metal then a regular box. I was once told that if you hung the fan using a regular box, and used the "ears" to mount the fan bracket, the ears would bend off from the weight. Everything seems simple enough, as long as the fan doesn't fall on someone's head.
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:12 PM   #13
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Ceiling outlet box reinforcing


The thickness of the box is the same....at least visually. I don't own a micrometer/caliper/whatever

The screws are one size larger.

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