Do you have a dropped ceiling in your space and are you wondering if you could mount a ceiling fan on
It’s generally not recommended to mount a ceiling fan on a suspended ceiling since many ceilings can’t hold the weight and the ceiling fan would hang too low to be safe. On a dropped ceiling with metal grid as support, it’s sometimes possible to use a fan brace and extra support.
Let’s dive into why suspended ceilings are not good for mounting ceiling fans and how you can make it work.
Can You Hang a Ceiling Fan From a Suspended Ceiling?
A suspended ceiling is a ‘false’ ceiling that hangs below the real ceiling of a space. You often see this in offices but is also done in some houses in order to have space for recessed lighting, wiring, etc. It’s not a good idea to mount a ceiling fan on a suspended ceiling for a few reasons.
The biggest reason is that most suspended ceilings are not constructed in a way to be able to support a ceiling fan. Junction boxes that can hold a fan have to be secured tightly in concrete or wood. Most suspended ceilings are made from drywall or tiles.
Attaching a ceiling fan to a weak suspended ceiling would likely cause the ceiling to sag or be damaged otherwise. If the fan is unbalanced, the mounting will likely fail pretty quickly and leave a nice ugly hole not to mention the damage a falling fan can do.
Low-Hanging Ceiling Fans Aren’t Safe
One of the other reasons why mounting a fan on dropped ceiling is not recommended is the height of suspended ceilings. Ceiling fans require their blades to be at least 7’ (2.1 m) from the ground. But 8′ (2.4 m) is much better. At 8′ the fan will be more effective and at a safer height but 7′ will do.
Suspended ceilings are obviously lower than the ‘real’ ceiling. It depends on how high the ceiling is that you start with but often suspended ceilings will be too low to properly mount a ceiling fan.
Abiding by safety standards is important since getting hit by a fan blade is unpleasant at the very least. The blades of ceiling fans must be installed at least 8’ (2.4 meters) above the ground, and the 7’ (2.1 m) blade restriction is a minimum requirement. Even at this height, people are still at risk for serious head injuries.
Huggers are devices that minimize the space between the ceiling and ceiling fan, but they do not eliminate safety risks. They are often used to make fans move closer to the ceiling, but this does not help unless the room is taller than 7′ (2.1 m).
Safety standards require that all fan blades are at least 7’ (2.1 m) above the ground. In a room with a 7′ (2.1 m) ceiling, it is impossible to install a ceiling fan without breaking safety standards. By going against these standards, everyone who enters that room becomes endangered.
Is It Possible To Install a Ceiling Fan in a Room With a Suspended Ceiling?
It is possible to install a ceiling fan in a room with a suspended ceiling by using a light weight flush mount or shallow fan. However, if the ceiling fan blades will be below the 7’ (2.1 m) minimum, find a different solution.
Dropped ceilings made from drywall definitely can’t support ceiling fans. Sometimes suspended ceilings that consist of a metal grid and tiles can be used to mount ceiling fans. Officially these ceilings aren’t made to hang anything from either but it’s generally considered to be OK to hang about 15 lbs. on these grids. Just so you know, that’s still significantly less than most ceiling fans weigh.
There are some ways you can make this work however.
There are braces to mount a ceiling fan in a grid ceiling. This involves attaching the brace directly to the metal grid and not to the tiles. This can work but the grid still has to support the weight. Suspended ceiling grids are supported by wires, hanging from the actual ceiling. If you want to hang a ceiling fan in a certain spot, it’s a good idea to put extra supporting wires on the corners of that grid square.
It’s also a good idea to balance the fan properly (click here for a how to) and to use lighter fans. Smaller diameter fans tend to be lighter but blade material also has a big impact on weight.
Without extra support wires, it’s not a good idea to install a ceiling fan on a grid ceiling even if you can mount the brace.
The following are key signs that a ceiling cannot bear the weight of a ceiling fan:
- It is already sagging or showing signs of age.
- It is too low.
- The structure is old.
- There have been problems in the past.
Suspended ceilings often have pipework and wiring above them, which can make it difficult to perform construction on this area even if desired. When in doubt, consult with a contractor for the safest installation.