Electrical Wiring in the Home ;Installing new ceiling fan wo existing ceiling light, summer rush,

Electrical Wiring in the Home /;Installing new ceiling fan w/o existing ceiling light

Question

We have a new ceiling fan for our bedroom & there is no existing light fixture at the desired installation location. There is a switch on the wall near the door that controls the outlets around the room. We plan to tap into this circuit in the attic above & drop a new power source line down to a new switch just above the said existing switch & run the outlet cable up into the attic & over to the fan. Is this OK? Any suggestions? Thanks. Mac

Answer

Hi Mac,

Sorry for any delay — we are straight out here against the wall with the summer rush for electrical work. phones are ringing non-stop. (that’s a good thing — but it severely limits my spare time here. )

Based on your description. you may or may not be able to tap into the existing switch. depending on how it was previously wired to control the existing switched receptacle outlets.

IF they brought power to the switch box. and then had a run out to the controlled outlets. then you can tap power there (you would see a run of 12/2 bringing in power. and a run of either 12/2 or 12/3 going out to the outlets). But if they just brought a switch leg to the existing switch (and only a single run of either 12/2 or 12/3). then you will not be able to tap power for your new ceiling fan from that box. depends on how the existing switch was wired.

However. where you have access to the attic above. you may be able to find a constant power run of 12/2 to tap into with a junction box and have the power run for your new switch come from it down the wall to the new switch location (with the breaker off). If you go this route. you can leave the old switch where it is to still control receptacle outlets (in less you wish to do away with that. ) and the new switch can go in an «old work» box above the old switch (you’ll need to clear the old switch box by a minimum of 3 inches to avoid breaking the sheetrock between the 2 boxes and to leave room for the cover plates to fit) Or — as an alternative. you can remove the old single gang box the existing switch was in. and cut out the same area for a new double gang «old work» box to go where the single old box was. now having both switches in the same area. (NOTE: for more information on cutting in «old work» boxes, see:

Note that the steps and illustrations there are for a single gang (1 switch) box, the procedure is the same for a double gang (2 switches) box. just the box is twice as wide.

Also. you need to make sure the box you use for the new ceiling fan is fan rated. and approved (it will say on the box) and rated for the weight of the ceiling fan you install. If you install an optional «lighting kit» to the ceiling fan. you may want to install 2 new switches. and have a run of 12/3 [having a black, red, white and ground] go to the ceiling fan box so you can have individual control of the fan and lights ( and not have to use the factory pull-chains. Also — some newer fans come with remote control. eliminating the need for switches at all — they just need hot power at the fan box to run).

How you’ll need to proceed will depend on what you find (as above) when you open the switch box. Always make sure all breakers are off controlling the power to that bedroom before beginning ANY work.

Hope this helps Mac. if you have new questions concerning this fan installation. please follow-up here or at the email below if you find me «maxed out».

Best Wishes and enjoy your new fan,

Bob Osgood

Master Electrician / Owner


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