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Step 7: Ceiling Fan

Running electricity was probably the same as for any greenhouse. I dug a trench 24" deep (deepest frost line in the area is 18" here) and dropped a conduit in with four strands of 6 gauge outdoor rated wire. I won't go into wiring details, since you really need to check your local codes and get a certified electrician to help with this part. There is an outdoor spa-type box/GFCI/emergency shutoff on a post in the greenhouse to which everything connects.

The large gap where the trench turns had a three foot rock in it that had to be removed.

I purchased a wet location ceiling fan, since I had extra vertical space and the shape of the structure seemed ideally suited to it.The first step to mounting it was placing the fan-rated wet seal junction box at the very apex of the structure. I carefully positioned the tabs over the struts and screwed it down with stainless steel screws. Then I attached the hanging frame that came with the ceiling fan.

Electricity was provided by a half inch conduit attached to the ascending struts. I had to pre-bend the conduit for a while so that it wouldn't pull too hard against the brackets when I attached it to the curving structure. It is glued in to junction boxes at the top and bottom to seal it.

I purchased an 18" extension rod for the fan to drop it down from the curving sides. Wiring it all up was pretty much the same as handling any ceiling fan, according to the directions. It hangs from the bracket while all of the wires are connected up and the covers put in place. Then, each of the blades are added and balanced, again according to the instructions that come with it.

The fan has been constantly running essentially since I put it up a couple years ago. In the summer I direct it downward and in the winter I direct it up. Either way, the leaves in the greenhouse show a constant rustling and I'm satisfied that the circulation is adequate. Thermometers placed at various heights and distances from the center have shown an even temperature in both hot and cold weather. Perhaps the greatest advantage to this arrangement has been that I can place strong fans next to the door and keep the internal temperature within 5 degrees F of the outside even in the heat of summer without the top vent that I always assumed would be necessary.

After eight years, I was moving a ladder in the greenhouse and accidentally stuck it into the spinning blades. The weathered blades shattered. $20 got me a set of generic blades of the same size, and the fan was back in operation.