How to Wire Ceiling Fans and Switches

How to Wire Ceiling Fans and Switches

How to Wire Ceiling Fans and Switches

By Dave Rongey — Summary:

Ceiling Fan Wiring Connections

Electrical Question: I am wiring a ceiling fan and it looks like the red wire at the switch was being used to power the lights and the black for the fan, so why not connect the wires together at the ceiling box rather than run two hot wires off the same wall switch?

  • I am relocating an existing ceiling fan from a lower portion of a vaulted ceiling to a higher point on the ceiling. When I removed the old fan I found four wires coming out of the box. I have installed quite a few ceiling fans the past couple of years and all of them even with light kits were set up for three wire boxes.
  • I then inspected the fan wall switch which is a standard on and off switch, no other switches, and dimmers. The main circuit cable to the switch is a 3-wire, black, white, ground.
  • What I found was the hot or feed wire attached to the bottom terminal of the wall switch (normal so far), the hot black wire to the fan was attached to the top terminal (again normal), but then I found a red wire also attached to the same top lug of the switch. It was inserted into the push-in terminal while the black wire was attached to the screw terminal.
  • When the switch was turned on power was sent to both the red and black wires going to the fan. It looks like the red wire was being used to power the lights and the black for the fan. Why just not wire nut them at the ceiling box rather than run two hot wires off the same wall switch? I dont understand the logic behind this.
  • Note that the old fan is about 15 years old and there are no factory installed wire connectors for the light. All the wires had to be connected together. With a new fan I dont think the red wire is required so I should be able to extend the existing 4-wire cable up to the new fan location using a 3-wire cable instead.
  • I probably should remove the red wire that is currently attached to the wall switch. Is my thinking correct on this?

This electrical wiring question came from: Steve, from Sunlakes, Arizona.

Additional Comments: Just discovered the site and have signed up for your Electrical How-To Manual.

Daves Reply:

Thanks for your electrical wiring question Steve.

Wiring Ceiling Fans and Wall Switches

Contents

How to Wire Ceiling Fans and Switches

Application: Wiring a Ceiling Fan and Switches.

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate Best performed by a licensed electrician.

Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a fiberglass or non-aluminum ladder and Voltage Tester.

Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the ceiling fan location.

Wiring Connections for a Ceiling Fan and Switches

Example: Switch Wiring for a Ceiling Fan Light

Wiring Diagrams for Ceiling Fans

How to Install Ceiling Fans

  • Take the mystery out of ceiling fan wiring. Ceiling Fans are a great way to lower your energy bill and brighten up one of your favorite rooms.
  • How to Install Ceiling Fans and Wiring

  • Step-by-step pictures Easy wiring diagrams and installation guide Light and fan switch variations.

    Wiring a Light Switch Diagram 1


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