Saturday, May 30, 2015

One Room Down and Eight to Go: Replacing Ugly, Dated Ceiling Fans

Harbor Breeze Springfield 52-inch Fan

Realtors tell homeowners that painting the walls white makes it easier for a potential buyer to visualize his or her stuff in place, and therefore more likely to sell. Maybe that’s why the previous owners of our house turned everything white: the walls and ceilings, the floor tile, the kitchen appliances, the molding, bathroom fixtures.... and ceiling fans. There were nine ceiling fans in the house, all totally white or white trimmed in bright brass. "Yuck!" We replaced them all, one after another. 

The first fan out the door was the noisy, wobbly critter in the upstairs room. It was also butt-ugly and not big enough for the space. The neighborhood Lowe's sold us a Harbor Breeze Springfield 52-Inch model. It didn’t have a bit of white: it was black. The next day, the old fan came off and the new one took its place in a fairly typical DIY fashion (I estimate that I’ve installed almost enough ceiling fans to be considered a “pro”)


This Harbor Breeze ceiling fan comes ready to be mounted either flush or on a 12-inch down rod. They supply enough wire to use an aftermarket downrod at least six feet long six-foot down rod. Given enough clearance, it can be mounted on a ceilings with a slope of up to 45 degrees. Its 5 blades can be reversed between black and walnut and, when assembled, makes the fan 52” in diameter. It has a reversible three-speed motor and an inlcuded light kit with four candelabra-base bulbs and clear shades. The lights have a federally-mandated built-in 190-watt limiter; it's nominally rated for 40-watt bulbs maximum.

The Springfield; available in black, white, bronze and brushed nickel finishes; doesn’t have a remote control although the manufacturer says conversion kits are available. 


This wasn’t my first rodeo... in all, removing the old fan and installing the new one, with its light kit, took maybe two hours. At least some of that was hunting for the screws I dropped. All necessary parts are included except the screws for fastening the mounting bracket to an outlet box. While the first ceiling  fans I installed required that I balance the fan housing and motor – about fifteen pounds all told – on my head while I wired it up, the Springfield has a hook where you can temporarily hang the fan while wiring it. This fan's blades have screwless mounting for even faster installation. The light kit comes with plastic quick-connects on the wiring harness, though it's still tricky to install because there's no hanger, the screws are tiny, and the screw holes are invariably a little misaligned. This particular fan was as easy to install as any I've worked with in the past couple of decades.

The printed instructions are generally clear, although a couple of steps are somewhat ambiguous and are less than illuminated by the marginally helpful line drawings included.


A Harbor Breeze Springfield is a classic design with no frills; the light kit is a simple design. For the most part it’s easy to install, and can be mounted on a down rod or flush to the ceiling. We turned it on the day right after it was was installed, and it was still running when we moved out six years later. It moves air around very well, and runs quietly and smoothly. It was well balanced from the day of install.

Overall, we found our fan quite satisfactory – enough so that we replaced several other all-white fans with variations on the Harbor Breeze Springfield design.


PLUS: easy to install for the most part, quiet, durable, classic design
Cons: light kit could do better aligning the screw holes
What They're Saying: We liked our Harbor Breeze Springfield enough that we replaced two other fans with the same model.

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