Need to add 2nd switch for fan

Old 05-03-07, 06:15 PM
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Need to add 2nd switch for fan

Our dining room was wire with a single switch for only a light as most dining rooms don't have ceiling fans.
Well, we want to install a light with a fan, but there is only a single switch on the wall.

I am thinking that I can feed off the first switch and add a 2nd to control the fan.

Would that be the typical implementation or is there a more desirable one?
Old 05-03-07, 06:23 PM
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There may or may not be the required wires run to control the fan and light seperately.

You could buy a fan that has a remote control.

It would take some digging into electrial boxes before we can be sure what is best for you.

If you are not comfotable doing this, then you need to hire the job done.
Old 05-03-07, 08:13 PM
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You have a number of options.

You could add a second switch as you suggest, but you'd need a new cable from the switch box to the ceiling. That's usually not too hard if there is an accessible attic above this room and the switch is not on an external wall.

Or you could buy a fan/light with a hand-held remote control. Depending on which kind you buy, you might still be able to use the wall switch to control the light, or you might have to use the hand-held remote exclusively.

You can buy wall controls that only need two wires to operate. These are typically sold independently of the fan, but you might be able to find a fan that comes with such a control. Just make sure that you get one designed for two wires, not three. The two-wire controls cost more.

Before you do anything, make sure you know what a switch loop is. Shut off the breaker and examine the existing switch. If the switch has a white wire connected to it, you have a switch loop. If so, it is critical to realize that the white wire in the switch box is NOT a neutral, and it is impossible to tap power from this box. Even if this is true, you will still have all the above options, but the wiring will be slightly different.

Pick one of the options above, and then go shopping. Do the analysis I recommended of the switch box and let us know what you find.
Old 05-03-07, 08:21 PM
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There is a more important question that needs adressed before you go fishing wires or figuring out switching and it the box you are mounting your fan to rated for Pfan use? In 15yrs of service I have seen 2 come flying off the lid, and a 3rd that cleft a 3-0 fixture box in haft and hung by one screw. Normal fixture box+Pfan=not cool.
Old 05-04-07, 03:30 AM
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I have a comment, but not electrical in nature. You don't want a ceiling fan in a dining room, IMO. With a fan running, the food you serve will cool down too quickly. Just a penny and a half worth.
Old 05-05-07, 10:23 AM
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I had a nice ceiling fan in the dining room. It was the least-used of the five we have. It did get used mid-summer on the hottest days and was great. But I got tired of the relatively dim, direct light. I kludged a reflecting uplight on top the fan that worked OK but it still could not equal the 4x60W base-down chandelier I have now. And you cannot use any uplighting with the fan running and keep your sanity and your dinner down.

Bottom line, with the fan, it was OK for an evening dinner but it really sucked when I was sitting in there trying to do some paperwork or occasionally reading the paper at night.

If you're dead-set, look at the Lutron Maestro.

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