ceiling fan- four way switch


Old 09-24-00, 09:02 PM
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I have a ceiling light with one 12/2 wire coming into the box which is switched by a 4-way switch. I would like to install a ceiling fan with light. I would like to switch the light from the 4-way switch and the fan from the pull chain. Any suggestions?
Old 09-25-00, 08:05 AM
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Not sure what you mean by a 4-way switch, but regardless I don't think you can do what you want (without running more wire through the wall -- anything is possible with more wire).

Suppose you replace this 4-way switch (4-position switch?) with a simple switch. There is no power to the fixture unless the switch is on. So you'd only be able to run the fan if the light was on -- probably not what you'd want.

I suggest you consider running both the fan and light off pull chains, or buying a fan with a remote control. Either of these would require you to leave the switch in the on position at all times.
Old 09-25-00, 09:36 AM
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You don't have a 4-way switch. It is probably a 4 position switch, low med high and off. Replace this switch with a regular 2 pole switch (on/off). At the ceiling box, white from source should already be connected to the white from fan. Black from switch should be going to black from fan. To make the change, black from switch will go to black from fan (as should already be), AND also blue from fan (or black w/ white stripe from fan in place of blue). This will supply power to both the light and fan. When you turn on the switch, both the fan and light will come on, then you can control the fan by the pull switch. If you were looking to control the fan and light independently of one another, you can't do it the way it's wired. You would have to run 12/3 cable down to the switch to do this. Also, if you're going to run 12/3 cable down to the switch, then you could have two switches there, one for the light and one for the fan. From the switch box, white would go directly to white at fan. Black would go to switch for light and then to fan black. Red would go to switch for fan and then to fan blue or black w/ stripe.

[This message has been edited by Handyone (edited September 25, 2000).]
Old 09-25-00, 06:56 PM
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Install 12/3 between the switch location and fan. Make sure the box is a ceiling fan box that is designed to support the weight of the fan you plan to install.
Install two swithes on the wall to control the fan and light seperatly. You may want to install a good dimmer switch for the light portion of the fan.
Leaving the wiring as is and buing a fan with remote cotrol will also accoplish the same thing, however I would prefer the hard-wired option with dimmer switch.

Respond with any other questions about what to do!

Old 09-25-00, 07:22 PM
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I really don't have a problem with the four way switch system for your light. This is normal. You could have as much as an 8 way or more switch system controlling a light fixture.

Green Jacket seems to have a pretty good idea. You could run a new power source to the switch box where the switch leg goes to from the fixture box, installing a three way switch at the end of your 4 way switch system to control the light of the fan. Then installing a single pole switch to control the fan, even using a speed control in place of the single pole switch. As Green Jacket said you would have to replace the switch leg going to this fixture with the 12/3 Romex. You must install a box approved as a fan box, also.
You would then have a fan / light hanging from the fan box with a double gang switch box where the 12/3 Romex is going to from the fan, with your 4 way switch system controlling the light of the fan and the speed control or single pole switch controlling the fan.

Another choice is going electronic. There is what they call a smart switch that can control both the fan and the light separately using the same exact 4 way switch system without changing any wiring. A smart switch sends radio frequency on the existing wiring to a receiver switch installed in the fan box behind the cone style cover of the paddle fan.

If you install the smart switch, when you first turn the 4 way switch system on the fan and light would work. If you turned the 4 way switch system off and on a second time quickly then the relay in the fan would change to the light only on position. If you turned the 4 way switch system on and off quickly a third time the relay in the fan would change to the fan only on position.

You can then control the fan or light from any of the three places that the four way switch system is located.

If you decide on a smart switch talk to your electrical wholesale supply house and tell them you want to control a fan and light with a smart switch relay installed in the cone of the fan in the fan box.

Good Luck

Old 09-25-00, 08:03 PM
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Thank to all who replied! One more question.
I also have an AC powered smoke detector, which is nearby the ceiling box, in the attic. Since the smoke detector is not switched I am wondering if I could run a 12/2 from the smoke detector to the ceiling box for the fan power and leave the existing switched 12/2 for the light. The smoke detector circuit and light circuit are on different breakers. Something tells me that this might violate code requirements ( two hot wires on different circuits in the same box and shared neutrals). If this shouldn't be done I will probably go with the remote control option. Again thank you for the replies!


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