ceiling fan where no fixture was previously

Old 09-07-02, 08:57 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question ceiling fan where no fixture was previously

In a room with no ceiling fixture, only a switch controlling one outlet, I installed a ceiling fan. I ran 12mn cable from the fan across the attic and connected it (spliced into) the wire coming from the switch, black to black, bare copper to bare copper, and white to white. Problem is the fan wont work. The outlet which is controlled by the switch is now continuously hot. When I turn the switch on, the light plugged into this outlet glows a little brighter. What did I do wrong?
Old 09-07-02, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Brethren, Mi
Posts: 1,648
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I think you have spliced into a switchloop. The white wire coming from that switch is really a hot wire. If you pull the switch out I think you find that the black and white both go to it. You cannot feed the fan from that switch. Also when you splice into the line did you go from a junction box? If not you have to add one to make the splice,,(no open splices) You could find another junction in the ceiling somewhere and run power from it to the ceiling box. You need to go from black and white wires,,,, In the previous case you ran into,, because the romex has only 2 insulated wires they used a white one as a power wire from the recept to the switch and the black one to return it.
Old 09-07-02, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
sberry is absolutely correct. You have spliced into a switch loop. The white wire is a hot wire, not a neutral wire.

Here's my recommendation for correcting it. First, remove fan wire from the splice, and install a junction box to house the splice as sberry said (if you did not already do so.

Instead, run your cable from the fan all the way to the receptacle box. It will be a bit more work, but it's certainly doable.

If you want the switch to control the fan, then connect the cable from the fan directly to the screws on the receptacle (black to brass, white to silver). If you instead want the fan to be independent of the switch, connect the new cable to the power cable. Make sure you correctly figure out which of the two cables this is -- it should be the cable with the white wire connected to the receptacle. Be careful not to alter the existing connections.
Old 09-08-02, 12:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Hold on. I always forget that there is another good option.

If you are willing to make the receptacle always hot, rather than controlled by the switch, then you can get what you want without any new wire, only by rearranging the connections you already have. You can then either make the switch control the fan.

If you are interested in this option, please make the following investigation and post back.

(1) Shut off the breaker.

(2) Open up the switch box. Without disconnecting anything, gently pull the switch out of the box. Confirm that there is exactly one black wire and one white wire connected to the switch, and no other wires in the box (other than the grounding wire).

(3) Open up the receptacle box. Again, without disconnecting anything, gently pull the receptacle out of the box. Confirm that you see: (a) a black wire from one cable connected to a white wire from the other cable -- this may or may not be connected with a pigtail to one of the two brass screws (let us know whether it is or not), (b) the remaining white wire connected to a silver screw on the receptacle, and (c) the remaining black wire connected to a brass screw on the receptacle.

Post back if you are interested. The modification will be quite simple.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: