Understanding Ceiling Fan Components and What They Do
Have you ever looked at a ceiling fan manual or the information on the fan’s packaging and realized you don’t understand the instructions? We’ve all been there before. When you don’t know the ceiling fan parts names that the instructions are referencing, it can be difficult to follow the steps properly. The good news is you don’t have to be an engineer to understand the parts of a ceiling fan and their functions! Refer to our list of common fan components and Hunter ceiling fan parts to familiarize yourself with popular industry terms.
What are the parts of a ceiling fan called?
When you learn the internal and external parts of a ceiling fan and how they work, it can make choosing a ceiling fan and the installation and maintenance much easier. Explore our list of standard parts of a ceiling fan and their definitions to get to know more about ceiling fan anatomy.
Ceiling Fan Parts Glossary
The following are definitions of ceiling fan terms you’ll find in your fan manual and throughout the Hunter Fan Company website:
Amps – Used to measure the electric current. On average, Hunter fans without a light kit use 1 AMP and models with a light kit use 2 AMPS.
Balancing Kit – Consists of a plastic clip and weights to use on a fan with a visible wobble. Use this kit of parts to balance the fan blades and eliminate unwanted wobble.
Bearings (Ball Bearings) – The part of the motor that allows the fan to easily rotate. These are self-lubricated cylindrical parts used to support, guide, and reduce friction in the motor. The bearings are sealed to keep the lubrication in and are not replaceable.
Blade (Paddle) – Part on the fan that moves the air.
Blade Assembly Screw – Used to attach the blade to the blade iron.
Blade Carrier (Blade Mounting Ring) – Ring that all blade irons affix to. Only found on certain fan designs.
Blade Iron (Blade Holder, Blade Bracket) – Decorative or functional part that connects the blade to the motor.
Blade Medallion – Decorative piece used to attach the blade to a blade iron.
Bottom Cover (Case Cover) – Decorative ceiling fan base cover on the bottom of the motor which normally has slots or holes. The bottom housing.
Break Away Connector – Connects the fandangle and extensions chain to the chain from the fan switch.
Canopy – Decorative cover that attaches to the hanger bracket and is used to cover the wiring between the ceiling and the fan.
Capacitor (Run Capacitor) – Electrical component used to control the speed of the fan by altering the amount of current that goes to the motor. Part of the switch housing and wiring harness. Changes the speed of the spinning blades.
Capacitor (Start Capacitor) – Electrical component used to start the fan by altering the amount of current that goes to the motor. Causes the motor to start.
Ceiling Plate – Bracket that attaches to the ceiling fan-rated electrical box.
CFM – Cubic feet per minute of air movement; overall measurement of the fan’s air movement. Not the same as RPMs.
DIP Switches – Small switches found inside transmitters and receivers used to adjust the frequency operating the remote system.
Downrod – Pipe used to suspend the fan down from the ceiling – it’s included with non-flush mounted fan models. While select lengths are included in the box, longer downrods can be purchased as an accessory for vaulted or angled ceiling applications.
Fandangle – Decorative piece that attaches to the end of the pull chain and usually includes an extension chain.
Finial Cover (Cap) – Decorative cover used at the bottom of a glass globe used to cover the globe retainer.
Finial Nut – Decorative ceiling fan nut used to hold the glassware and finial cover in place.
Flush Mount Fan (Ceiling Hugger) – Fan that mounts directly to the ceiling without a pipe (downrod).
Grille Filter (Grill Mesh, Vent Cover) – A mesh used to cover holes or slots in the fan’s bottom cover that allows air to move freely into the fan so the motor can run cooler.
Grommets – Rubber cushions that are inserted into the holes in the blades to reduce fan noise. Come in black and white.
Hands-Free Ceiling Plate – Rectangular ceiling plate that includes hooks for hanging the ceiling fan canopy or fan body while wiring.
Hanger Bracket – The bracket that attaches to the ceiling where the fan is installed. It supports the fan for its lifespan and during installation for easy wiring. For Hunter Original fans, this term refers to the bracket that’s threaded onto a downrod for hanging the fan.
Isolation Ring (Flywheel) – Flywheel that all blade irons affix to; commonly found on old Hunter Originals and older Casablanca fans.
Isolators – Rubber spacers used to provide a cushion between either the ceiling plate or hanger bracket and the ceiling to dampen the noise caused by vibrations generated during fan operation.
Jumper Switches (Jumper Blocks) – Small pegs (caps) found inside transmitters and receivers and used to adjust the frequency that the remote system operates on 2 series fans.
Knurled Nut – Decorative nut used to hold the pull chain switch and wire harness in place. It also attaches the switch to the wall of the switch housing.
LCD – Liquid crystal display; a screen commonly found on remote transmitters.
LED – Light-emitting diode. Most new Hunter fans use LED light bulbs because they are more durable and energy-efficient than other light bulb technologies.
Lead Wires – 18-gauge electrical wires that come from the fan's motor and attach to the wires in the ceiling. We suggest leaving 8 inches of wire.
Light Fixture (Light Kit) – The parts used for a fan's light. Can either come integrated into the fan's design or added as an accessory component.
Light Kit Adapter – Used to attach the light kit and help with the overall appearance of the light kit.
Low Profile Fan – Another term for flush mount or hugger ceiling fan.
Low Profile Washer – Metal ring inserted into the canopy so the fan can be mounted flush. Must order the entire hanging system. This system was used on older Hunter fans with model numbers that started with the number 2.
Motor – The heart of the fan consisting of the armature, bearings, windings, rotor, stator, and shaft.
Motor Adapter – Used to attach the downrod to the motor housing at the top of the motor.
Motor Housing (Fan Housing) – Decorative ceiling fan motor cover. Cannot be opened or it will void the warranty.
Motor Size – Measured as the diameter and stack of the motor's stator (i.e. 172 x 12 motor = 172mm diameter x 12mm height).
Neoprene Ceiling Plate Cover (Ceiling Gasket) – Rubber cover for the ceiling plate used on outdoor fans.
Outlet Box (Junction Box) – Ceiling fan-rated electrical box used to make wiring connections and hold the ceiling fan mounting plate. Only mount to the outlet box if it’s the correct ceiling fan-rated type of box. If not, mount to the support structure with approved electrical outlet box. Older homes may not have ceiling fan-approved outlet boxes so an electrician is required to install them. We require the box to be rated for fan support of 70 pounds.
Pipe and Ball Assembly – The type of downrod with a round or triangular-shaped pivot ball attached used for hanging the fan.
Plug Button – Part used to cover the switch housing when the light kit is removed on older fan styles.
Quick Connect Plug Connectors (Upper or Lower Plug Connector) – 8 or 9-pin male or female plug (molex) used to attach all of the wiring from the fan’s motor to the wires inside the fan's switch housing (wire harness).
Receiver – Portion of the remote system within the fan that receives the signal from the remote transmitter.
Reversing Switch – Toggle switch used to control the fan's direction, typically located either on the switch housing or within the light kit under the glass. Some fan designs also have this switch located on top of the motor housing.
RPM – Rotations per minute; the measurement of the number of times the fan blades rotate around in a minute.
Rubber Bushing and Pin – Large rubber cushion with a metal pin through the center used inside the hanger bracket along with the U bracket. Commonly used in the Hunter Original.
Set Screw – Important screw used for locking the fan to the mounting hardware or pipe ensuring the fan does not fall.
Shipping Pads (Shipping Blocks, Shipping Ring) – Plastic part or parts screwed to the motor to prevent motor damage during shipping. These parts must be removed before installation and kept for future use.
Silencer Bands – Neoprene rubber bands on the rim or neck of the glassware used to reduce vibration noise.
Socket – The part that the light bulb screws into. Cannot be sold separately.
Speed Switch – Pull chain used to control the fan speed.
Switch Housing – Cup attached to the bottom of the motor that contains the key electrical systems and controls.
Switch Housing Cover – Decorative bottom cap used on the fan to cover the wiring inside the switch housing when a light kit is not being used.
Transmitter (Remote) – Used to control the fan, light, and sometimes reverse operations.
Trim Ring – Decorative ring that covers the canopy screws.
U Bracket – U-shaped bracket that the rubber bushing and pin rest in. Commonly used in the Hunter Original.
Watts - Units of power describing the amount of power consumed during use.
Wire Nut (Wire Connector) - Connector used to twist the wires together.
Put your ceiling fan knowledge to good use
Now that you’re familiar with the different parts of a ceiling fan, you’ll be more prepared to install a Hunter fan. First, make sure you have your owner’s manual and parts you need (and don’t forget about the fan accessories!). Then, use our ceiling fan installation guide to guide you, and reference this Hunter fan parts guide whenever you come across a fan term you don’t recognize.