DIY Pergola Ceiling Fan Install: A Step-by-Step Guide

Can you put a ceiling fan in a pergola? What’s the best way to install one without making mistakes – and what are the pros and cons? Here are the answers…

DIY Pergola Ceiling Fan Installation - Can You Put a Ceiling Fan in a Pergola?

The short answer is yes, you can put a ceiling fan in a pergola. However, you want to consider a few factors before you start your fan installation, so you can save time, money and avoid potential costly mistakes..

Pros and Cons of Installing a Ceiling Fan in a Pergola:

Benefits of Pergola Fans:

First of all, outdoor fans can quickly cool down the space, making in enjoyable for you and your guests. In addition, the wind helps keep pesky insects away without you having to get out your fly swatter or apply a bunch of mosquito repellent.

Some ceiling fans conveniently also come with lights. Therefore, you can illuminate your outdoor space, making it more functional at night. Not to mention, the light adds ambiance and makes your pergola feel more like an outdoor living room or dining area.

Disadvantages of Adding a Fan in Your Pergola:

On the other hand, electric fans cost money to install due to the extra wiring involved. Plus, if the structure sits far away from the house, the wiring project can cost even more.

Furthermore, your pergola needs to be sturdy enough to support a ceiling fan. Only attach the fan to a heavy-duty wood or metal structure that is secured to the ground – not a portable pop-up style pergola.

Sturdy Metal Pergola Attached to Side of House Can Support Ceiling Fan

Third, if the pergola has a low ceiling, a rotating fan can be awkward or downright dangerous. Take note of the height of your structure as well as the hanging distance of the fan before you start any installation.

And finally, if you live in an area that gets lots of wind or rain, a ceiling fan may not be the idea accessory. Not to mention, in a windy climate, you probably won’t need a fan.

How to Save Time and Money Installing a Pergola Fan:

1. Install the Ceiling Fan Yourself

Are you handy? You can save you a bunch of money installing a fan yourself yourself rather than hiring a contractor. Purchase a pre-wired ceiling fan kit to make the job even easier. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Attach a ceiling fan mounting bracket to a sturdy joist on the pergola.
  2. Run electrical wiring from your home to the location of the ceiling fan.
  3. Attach the ceiling fan motor to the mounting bracket with the supplied hardware.
  4. Connect the electrical wires from the ceiling fan motor to the wiring from your home.
  5. Attach the fan blades to the motor and the light fixture (is applicable).
  6. Turn on the power.

2. Buy a “Wet-Rated” Fan

Outdoor Wet-Rated Ceiling Fan for Pergola or Gazebo

Not all outdoor fans are designed for lots of moisture and weather exposure that you can get with a pergola. Therefore, you want to opt for a “wet-rated” ceiling fan versus a “damp-rated”.

You’l end up not having to deal with a bunch of functional issues with your fan. Plus, the unit will last a lot longer, thus saving you money in the long run. The Honeywell Belmar fan is inexpensive, wet-rated and very close to being a flush mount installation. However, it doesn’t come with a light.

Outdoor Pergola Ceiling Fan with Protective Cage, Easy to Hang and Move

3. Choose an Outdoor Fan Designed for Pergolas

In addition to being made for the outdoors, these ceiling fans are waterproof and corrosion resistant for high exposure locations, like pergolas. The Norfolk Outdoor Ceiling Fan can provide many years of low-maintenance use, plus it’s easy to install, is wet-rated and comes with a protective cage.

Ceiling Fan Alternatives:

If your pergola ceiling sits too low, or an overhead fan is not ideal for your set up, you have options. For example, you can go with a wall-mounted fan that you attach to a post or in an upper corner.

Wall Mounted Outdoor Fan that Can Attach to a Pergola or Gazebo, Also Can use as a Mister Fan with Misting Kit

Wall-mounted versions take less time to hang, plus they’re easier to move if necessary. You can choose from 3 different sizes to match your space, and the iLiving Weatherproof Fan can also be used as a “misting fan” with the ILG 250 Misting Kit for extra cooling.

In addition, OEMTools makes an Oscillating Wall Fan that includes a bracket that you simply screw into a post or beam. This unit also comes with a 6-foot power cord, so you can just plug it into a nearby electrical outlet.

DIY Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Your Pergola Fan:

1. First, shut off the power supply to your work area before you begin your project. You probably already knew this. Also see wiring methods for outdoor ceiling fans.

2. Second, Install the fan at the correct height. Ideally, the fan should hang at least eight feet above the ground to prevent any accidents or injuries.

3. Finally, make sure you choose a “wet-rated” outdoor fan that that we talked about above. Indoor fans can quickly become damaged or corroded when exposed to moisture or humidity.

In conclusion, installing a ceiling fan in your pergola can be a great way to make your outdoor space more comfortable and inviting. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and consider alternative options before making a decision.