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Replacing two old lights with two ceiling fans. Can they be on a single switch?

Replacing two old lights with two ceiling fans. Can they be on a single switch?

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Old 04-01-14, 10:24 AM
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Question Replacing two old lights with two ceiling fans. Can they be on a single switch?

Hello,

We are starting to remodel our living room. I'll try to provide as much information as possible, but I apologize if I miss something. I am not electrically inclined beyond replacing fixtures.

Existing today:
In our living room, there is a single beam running the length of the room on the ceiling. On that beam, there is a single ceiling fan which is controlled by a two switch wall receptacle. One for fan, one for light. It is in the middle of the room.

In addition, there are some old, dated directional "can lights" on opposite ends of the beam. They are controlled by a single rotating dimmer switch. They are on opposite ends of the beam.

What we are trying to do:
This is a large room, and one fan doesn't cut it. We are hoping to replace the two "can lights" with ceiling fans, and the existing ceiling fan with a light fixture.

My concerns:
With the existing fan being on a dual switch (fan/light), I want to consolidate this down to one switch (sliding dimmer). What is the best way to accomplish this? Find the wire pair that controls the light, wire that to the new switch, and cap & tape the old wires and secure them safely (with the same action being performed at the site of the fixture)?

Second concern is around the two new fans. With the existing lights being on a dimmer, I would like to replace this with a sliding dimmer to control the fan speed. From what I have read, I need a Solid State / capacitor-stepped wall control. Is this true? Will one switch be able to control both fans? (The new fans won't have a light kit on it...fan motor only).

Thanks in advance for any help, and please let me know if I missed anything. I will do my best to try to get more info if I can.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 11:35 AM
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by a two switch wall receptacle
A receptacle is where you plug things in not a switch.
We are hoping to replace the two "can lights" with ceiling fans, and the existing ceiling fan with a light fixture.
Very doable.
With the existing fan being on a dual switch (fan/light), I want to consolidate this down to one switch (sliding dimmer). What is the best way to accomplish this? Find the wire pair that controls the light, wire that to the new switch, and cap & tape the old wires and secure them safely (with the same action being performed at the site of the fixture)?
It is probably a 3-conductor cable so the unused wire would be capped off with a wire ut as you suggested but tape isn't used.
Second concern is around the two new fans. With the existing lights being on a dimmer, I would like to replace this with a sliding dimmer to control the fan speed. From what I have read, I need a Solid State / capacitor-stepped wall control. Is this true?
You don't use a dimmer. You use a speed control.
Will one switch be able to control both fans?
Maybe but most fan now come with remotes so only a simple switch would be needed.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 12:19 PM
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I apologize about the receptacle / switch snafu...told you I wasn't electrically inclined. Same goes for the dimmer / speed control. But I think you get the jist of what I'm trying to do here.

Do you not recommend taping the wire nut as an added safety measure?

Lastly, I am not going to be using fans with remotes. I've had them before and I hate them. I want to use a speed control switch.

Anyone else willing to look past my lack of knowledge on the subject and lend a hand?
 
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Old 04-01-14, 12:28 PM
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Taping a properly installed wire but is not needed.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 12:32 PM
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Do you not recommend taping the wire nut as an added safety measure?
A real wire nut of the correct size will stay on so tape is not need <opinion>Tape just makes you look like an amateur. One caveat cheap fixtures from BigBox some times contain wire nuts with no spring inside. Those should be thrown in the trash and good quality wire nuts with springs inside used.
Lastly, I am not going to be using fans with remotes. I've had them before and I hate them.
Yes, just something else to go wrong. Motor controller should work on two fans but I'm not sure.

Stick around we will larn you good on this dagnabit lectriciy stuff.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 04-01-14 at 01:20 PM. Reason: lean = larn
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Old 04-01-14, 12:35 PM
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Do you not recommend taping the wire nut as an added safety measure?
No. Tape over a wire nut is a sign of amateurish work. It just has to be peeled off to access the wire in the future, and serves no purpose in the meantime.

I want to use a speed control switch.
Fine. Setting up one remote to control two fans is a bit tricky and expensive anyway.

Will one switch be able to control both fans? (The new fans won't have a light kit on it...fan motor only).
Probably, but I'd read the specs to be sure. Do you have a control in mind?

Anyone else willing to look past my lack of knowledge on the subject and lend a hand?
Ray did. What more are you looking for?
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 04-01-14 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:42 PM
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Thanks Ray. This is good info. I've seen the wire nuts you mentioned.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 01:04 PM
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Nashkat1 - What more do I want? I guess I want more information so I can learn and "DIY" as this forum implies. There were some questions unanswered, but thanks for joining in to help!

I might be misunderstanding what speed control switch is? My understanding was that this was a switch capable of fine control of a fan and its speed. Much like a light dimmer switch. If not, please fill me in as I am here to learn. This was in my original post. If a speed control switch (or as I called it, a capacitor-stepped / solid state wall switch) is not the correct item needed, please let me know. What should I be looking for?

I just want to make sure I have this right:

Existing two switch plate, controlling light (on the fan) and the fan motor --> Simple to go down to one switch, with a wire nut (untaped) on the unused wires. (Right inline with my original post, and confirmed by Ray)

Existing single switch controlling the can lights can be replaced (with the appropriate switch) to control two ceiling fans. What that appropriate switch is, is TBD.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 01:08 PM
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If it helps at all, here are the the fans I am looking to put in.

Hampton Bay Farmington 52 in. Natural Iron Ceiling Fan-B552QI-NI at The Home Depot
 
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Old 04-01-14, 02:44 PM
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If it helps at all, here are the the fans I am looking to put in.

Hampton Bay Farmington 52 in. Natural Iron Ceiling Fan-B552QI-NI at The Home Depot
That fan is one of the HD house brand fans. I've never used one on a new install but I've made good money replacing them with quality fans. Did you check the warranty on them?

They're also big. I know you said you have a large room, but just how large is it? In any space that's less than 800 ft.[SUP]2[/SUP] or 8,000 ft.[SUP]3[/SUP], two fans this big would probably be overkill.

Existing single switch controlling the can lights can be replaced (with the appropriate switch) to control two ceiling fans. What that appropriate switch is, is TBD.
This is the one I would use to control more than one fan: Hunter Original® Multiple Fan Speed Wall Control.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-01-14 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Add quote formatting.
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Old 04-01-14, 03:05 PM
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Yeah, I'm kind of torn on those Hampton Bay fans. I've had great luck with them in the past, and I've also had a lemon. I will definitely reevaluate the choice of fans.

The room is large, but not quite 800 sq/ft. We've currently got a 56" (IIRC) in there and you can't even feel it when sitting on the couch (12' down, 4' over). I certainly don't want a wind tunnel in there, but would like better air flow. I'll look to see what 2 x 42" would give me.

Not looking for you to do my research for me, but I know my wife will ask...do they make more aesthetically pleasing speed control switches?

Thanks for all the assistance. It is greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 03:30 PM
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Not looking for you to do my research for me, but I know my wife will ask...do they make more aesthetically pleasing speed control switches?
Lotsa. That's the only one I happen to know of that's stated by its manufacturer to be rated to handle more than one fan. But I've never looked really hard. If you spend some time Googling around, reading fine print and maybe making some phone calls or swapping a few emails, you may be able to find more.

In a building I've been doing some work on, we have five fans on two snap switches in one room and two fans on one FMC in another. When you cut both switches on at the same time for the five fans, you can watch the set of two leave the set of three eating dirt. Once they're up to speed there's no difference between the two sets.

In the other room, the two fans start up very slowly. Again, they're OK once they're up to speed. I'm definitely going to replace that controller at some point. For one thing, it works backward - the setting next to "off" is "low," not "high."

I just wish that Classic Accents would get over themselves and start making FMCs. That's the look of the other controls in the building and I'd like to be able to match that.

We've currently got a 56" (IIRC) in there and you can't even feel it when sitting on the couch (12' down, 4' over).
Twelve feet? No wonder you can't feel it.

Try re-hanging that one with the blades no more than 8' AFF. If you go ahead with your plan to replace it, definitely hang the new ones at that height. Check the installation instructions for any ceiling fan to see what's recommended there.
 
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Old 04-01-14, 07:42 PM
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Yep..12' (+/- a foot). Previous owner of this house has a weird way of doing things...I could write a short story on some of the "rigging" I've come across.

And I've learned a new acronym! AFF...had to look that one up.

Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 04-01-14, 08:27 PM
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Yep..12' (+/- a foot). Previous owner of this house has a weird way of doing things...I could write a short story on some of the "rigging" I've come across.
If you want to make that an anthology, many of us could contribute.

I raised the fan in our bedroom, which has a sloped ceiling, last year. Tho PO had installed it so low that the blades came very close to clipping one of the posts on our four-poster bed. Plus, I was sick and tired of sticking my hand into the blades every once in a while when pulling my shirt on. I took it up maybe 10" - 12" - I don't remember now. That kept the blades within the recommended 7 - 9' height and met all the other requirements, such as the 30" horizontal clearance. It not only looks better and is out of the way of both the bed post and my hand, it does a better job of circulating the air.

I've learned a new acronym! AFF...had to look that one up.
Glad you enjoyed it.

Thinking of AFF relative to your project, an additional thought came to me. If I were dropping down to one ceiling fixture in a large room, I would want to go with a chandelier or some other multi-light pendant fixture. And the AFF part of that is that you could hang that fixture so that the lamps were level with or slightly below the level of the fan blades. Doing that would help keep the whirling shadows off the floor and, possibly, the ceiling as well.
 
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