The Five Minute Ceiling Fan Project

Not so long ago during the hot – hot summer I was made aware of two different sets of young couples living in Denver that took on the task of installing ceiling fans in their homes. Now that is not all that newsworthy of a thing to find out about and I here confess that I didn’t pay much attention to it. I probably wouldn’t have even recorded the news in my memory except for one little thing; somewhere in the course of the conversation I heard about it in, the news deliverer (in this case my wife) informed me that the couples had each installed a “five minute ceiling fan.” I suppose at the time I just thought that those words sounded like an advertising blurb that was a little bit over the top and let it go at that.

My wife Carolyn wasn’t giving me these news reports just to make conversation though, because as things were then running along we were in need of a way to help out the air conditioner in an upstairs room. Now since it appeared to her that these 5 minute gizmo’s were all the rage she decided she wanted one of those things – just had to have it.

Since I have always been completely accommodating to my wife of over forty-five years I accompanied her on a stroll through our local Lowe’s store in search of one of the things. It only took a few minutes to find them stacked up like cord wood in the lighting department. Lots and lots of them. Sure enough, right there in big bold letters on every box was the proclamation: “Hunter – The 5 Minute Ceiling Fan.”

I figured the five minute business sounded pretty optimistic but I also figured that I’m a pretty handy guy – and I own just about every tool that Lowe’s and Home Depot put together sell. With those thoughts in mind I figured I should be able to at least equal the efforts of the troops in Denver.  So we bought one of those bad boys, raced home with it and set to work installing it. We did accomplish a successful installation and I am happy to report that the fan does a right nice job of helping cool the room we installed it in.

It comes to my mind that others might want to install one of the things, and it is my belief that we all carry with us some responsibility to help out and advise our fellow travelers through life’s experiences from time to time. To that end, and for your edification, please read on.

The 5  Minute Ceiling Fan Chronicles

Station wife with cell phone in (lighted) upstairs bedroom where fan is to be installed and call her while standing by breaker box in garage. 5 Minutes.

Call dropped – recall – review aggravating phone issues. Flip breakers off and back on one by one until advised that light in subject installation room is extinguished. Success realized on the next to last breaker. 5 Minutes.

Gather up hand-full of tools: pliers, two or three screwdrivers, couple of wrenches that “look about right” etc. 5 Minutes.

Open and unpack fan box on kitchen table, remove wrapping and perform cursory inspection of components. 5 Minutes.

Review documentation: warranty card, warning labels, flip through installation instructions. 5 Minutes.

Find good starting place about one-third of the way into the instruction manual. Material prior to one-third point appears to be elementary or not applicable. Begin assembly. 5 Minutes.

Drop screw – reach to pick it up – helpful wife does same. Screw ends up inside the inaccessible motor housing of the fan. Smile with slight grimace, ponder best way to extract. 5 Minutes.

Trip to garage to get pen extension magnet in order to retrieve errant screw. 5 Minutes.

Screw retrieved. Resume assembly. 5 Minutes.

Unrecognized part and procedure called for. Review manual – discover two pages stuck together just prior to the page actually started on. 5 Minutes.

Rehabilitate current assembly with consideration given to problem experienced due to previously unrecognized “part and  procedure” oversight. 5 Minutes.

Trip to garage to retrieve ladder. Take down existing light fixture, take to garage and put in designated “I might need that someday” space. Bring back power screwdriver, screwdriver bit, and screw to drive through existing hole in old (wobbly) ceiling box and on into ceiling joist so as to firmly secure same.      5 Minutes.

Trip to garage, get wire stripping tool due to failure to acquire same on first as well as other garage expeditions previously described. Straighten, clip and strip old wires. 5 Minutes.

Attempt mounting of fan ceiling plate with 3” screws provided – discover (needed) hole in box is occupied by screw previously set in “secure wobbly box” step above. Curse mildly, remove screw blocking hole.    5 Minutes.

Secure green ground wire to completely ungrounded existing box. Token gesture. Mount ceiling plate to ceiling with 3” screws provided. 5 Minutes.

Hang fan sideways on handy ceiling plate hooks and attempt wiring solid #12 house wire to #16 stranded wire with wire nuts provided. 5 Minutes.

Trip to garage to acquire wire nuts of sufficient size to accommodate two #12 wires twisted together with one nearly worthless #16 stranded wire. 5 Minutes.

Install light assembly onto fan assembly – no trouble – wiring modules clicked right together. Insert screws to hold light assembly to fan motor. 5 Minutes.

Wife stands on way too soft bed and attempts to swing fan up into position so as to allow me to insert screws through fan assembly and into ceiling plate – entirely unsuccessful. 5 Minutes.

Change places – wife to occupy ladder, me to stand on bed and reattempt previous step. Even more unsuccessful. 5 Minutes.

Wife travels to kitchen to acquire broom so as to hold fan up into position with broom handle. Nearly successful, broom slips – leaves paint marks on new fan. 5 Minutes.

Instruct wife in the art of holding broom with elbows locked into waist so as to avoid slippage. Wife adopts proper stance / posture – screws installed – success. Slip ceiling trim ring up into place. Trim ring falls down for unknown reason. Try again – turn left and right until it seems like it will hold. 5 Minutes.

Mount “clip on” fan blades onto fan drive arms. Install light globes, insert bulbs, snap pull chain extensions into place. 5 Minutes.

Go to garage, call wife, converse to codify procedure  for discovering  proper combination of pressing and releasing wall switch (rheostat) and  pulling of light and fan chains to test. Flip breaker – ask if any smoke is emanating from machinery. Negative response. Run previously discussed procedure again. Ask if any smoke is showing up – now. Negative response again. Continue procedure until proper combination is hit upon to make blades spin and lights illuminate. Success on all counts – no wobble – ignore blade balance procedure. 5 Minutes.

Clean paint marks off of new fan, wash and bandage hands and fingers, pick up tools. 5 Minutes.

Total time: two hours  and . . . . 5 Minutes.


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