Ceiling Fan Installation Question

Hello
I am installing a ceiling fan. Their was never a ceiling fan in this room before so I also have to install an outlet box. As luck would have it (not sure if it is good or bad luck) the place where I want to put the outlet box is directly under a ceiling joist. The ceiling joist is 4" high by 1.5" thick. To put in the outlet box I will have to cut a 1.5" high by 4" wide section of the joist out so I can recess the outlet box. My concern is that this will weaken the joist to the point it may not hold the ceiling fan or could effect the ceiling itself? I know nothing about wiring so I also don't know if wires can come in on the sides of outlet boxes or if they have to come in from the middle top which would be centered on the joist and blocked? Alternatively, could I install the outlet box mounted on top of or on the side of the joist and just run a wire from it through a small hole in the ceiling? Would like to know the answeres to the questions above but would also like to get peoples oppinion if I should just leave this up to the electrician since I have to have them come out and run the power line and create a new switch anyway.
Thanks
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Dan Phillips wrote:

Is there 1/2" drywall ceiling under these joists? If so, you don't need to cut anything out, just use a "pancake" box, which is only 1/2" deep, and round. They're mae for just this type of situation, and are usually available at the same stores wherer you buy the other boxes.
You should be able to orient it so that one of the knockout holes (where you'll knock out the plug and use a Romex connector) is useable, while also positioning the box so you can get two good long wood screws up into the joist. To answer one of your other questions, the wire entering from the side or rear is usually a matter of whatever works best for the location and type of mounting. But in this case, there are no holes on the sides, obviously.
Don't be concerned about the shallow depth. Most ceiling fan motor housings have plenty of space in the upper section to hold the wires.
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Well, Tomi Boi, it didn't take long for you to start posting dangerous electrical advice, AGAIN.....telling the guy to use a non-fan rated ceiling box to hang a fan. I suppose that it wouldn't be a danger as long as it doesn't hit someone if it falls? Interesting how HD, Lowes or similar places sell fan-rated ceiling boxes similar to this one, eh? http://www.aifittings.com/whnew56.htm Funny how the box fits on the joist just like the OP wants, huh? I'll bet that if he looks hard enough that he will also find a fan-rated pancake box?
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Now you're thinking! There's no need for an actual box - you just need the wire.
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I would regard the location of the joist as good luck since it provides you with a really solid anchor for the weight of the fan. As for the other questions, it it were me I'd check with my local building and electrical inspector and even then I'd be reluctant to put a significant size notch in a joist over my head. I'd be thinking about the idea of running the wires to a box that was attached to the side of the joist but I'd want to know if that met the code first. I can't recall for sure but I think I once read that all wire splices must be done in boxes that are easily accessible. Finally, maybe I'm naive but if you're going to pay an electrician to put in a power run and switch then I would think you'd hardly notice the extra installation cost for the fan.
Dan Phillips wrote:

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Dan, It is good luck that you have a joist where you want to hang a fan. Articles 314.27(D) and 422.18 of the 2002 National Electrical Code address this issue. You can use a fan rated pancake box and you can also use some long #12 sheet metal screws to attach the fan support bracket directly to the joist. Center the pancake box under the joist. Having a joist where the fan is to be mounted is my favorite type of installation. You do not have to, and should not notch the ceiling joist.
My only concern in your situation would be the fact that the joist is only a 2" x 4". Most ceiling joists are wider than that such as 2" x 8". My guess is that your joists were installed solely for the support of your ceiling and not much else. If you had access to the ceiling joist from above I would suggest that you add a little more stability to it. You could take a short piece of 2" x 4" and span it across 3 or 4 joists above the ceiling fan location. Screw it down to the joists to keep the one joist from moving as a result of fan vibration and to spread the weight of the fan out a little.
There is the possibility that you have a truss structured ceiling. If so, disregard the above paragraph. The trusses will provide adequate support.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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