314.27(C) Boxes at Ceiling-Suspended (Paddle) Fan Outlets.

A listed outlet box suitable for the sole support of ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan is one option permitted in NEC 314.27(C).
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A listed outlet box suitable for the sole support of ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan is one option permitted in NEC 314.27(C).

Code Change Summary: Revised code language on the use of fan rated boxes in dwellings.

Section 314.27(C) is all about ceiling fan outlet boxes and ensuring that they are able to properly support a ceiling fan if the box is placed in a location where a fan is likely to be installed.

The previous rules in the second paragraph on 314.27(C) addressed spare, separately switched, ungrounded conductors installed in a box located in a dwelling unit ceiling in a spot where a ceiling fan may be installed. The intent was to ensure that even if a ceiling fan was not present at final inspection, if the ceiling box was there and supplied by two switches, a fan rated box was needed.

Sometimes a homeowner selects a ceiling fan pre-wire package when the house is being built. Often, these packages do not include the actual fans and the homeowner will most likely install the fans themselves after moving in. Requiring a fan rated box, even if a fan is not present, is a safe way to go.

In the 2020 NEC, the words “spare, separately switched” were deleted. Now the rules apply regardless of how the box is wired or switched. Additionally, the rule was modified to apply only in habitable rooms of dwellings. Finally, an option was added to allow a box not listed for fan support if the fan will be supported independently from the box and the box is simply there to terminate the wires rather than support the fan.

Below is a preview of the NEC. See the actual NEC text at NFPA.ORG for the complete code section. Once there, click on their link to free access to the 2020 NEC edition of NFPA 70.

2017 Code Language:

314.27(C) Boxes at Ceiling-Suspended (Paddle) Fan Outlets. Outlet boxes or outlet box systems used as the sole support of a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan shall be listed, shall be marked by their manufacturer as suitable for this purpose, and shall not support ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans that weigh more than 32 kg (70 lb). For outlet boxes or outlet box systems designed to support ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans that weigh more than 16 kg (35 lb), the required marking shall include the maximum weight to be supported.

Where spare, separately switched, ungrounded conductors are provided to a ceiling-mounted outlet box, in a location acceptable for a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan in one-family, two-family, or multifamily dwellings, the outlet box or outlet box system shall be listed for sole support of a ceiling suspended (paddle) fan.

2020 Code Language:

314.27(C) Boxes at Ceiling-Suspended (Paddle) Fan Outlets. Outlet boxes or outlet box systems used as the sole support of a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan shall be listed, shall be marked by their manufacturer as suitable for this purpose, and shall not support ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans that weigh more than 32 kg (70 lb). For outlet boxes or outlet box systems designed to support ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans that weigh more than 16 kg (35 lb), the required marking shall include the maximum weight to be supported.

Outlet boxes mounted in the ceilings of habitable rooms of dwelling occupancies in a location acceptable for the installation of a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan shall comply with one of the following:

(1) Listed for the sole support of ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans

(2) An outlet box complying with the applicable requirements of 314.27 and providing access to structural framing capable of supporting of a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan bracket or equivalent

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314.27(C) Boxes at Ceiling-Suspended (Paddle) Fan Outlets.

Below is a Real Question from our Electrical Continuing Education Courses for Electrical License Renewal:

The two new options provided in Section 314.27(C) pertain to which of the following?

A: Receptacle boxes mounted in the ceilings of habitable rooms.
B: Device boxes mounted in the ceilings of habitable rooms.
C: Outlet boxes mounted in the ceilings of habitable rooms of dwelling occupancies in a location acceptable for the installation of a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan.
D: Switch boxes mounted in the ceilings of habitable rooms.
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