New ceiling fan but lost switch & outlets


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Old 12-17-16, 11:41 AM
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New ceiling fan but lost switch & outlets

My wife hired a handyman to replace a ceiling fan in a spare bedroom a while back. The fan works fine but the wall switch that controlled the old fan does not work any longer and neither do some of the outlets. Two outlets work and two do not--all on the same panel switch. I lowered the fan and it appears to be wired correctly (I researched this pretty thoroughly). Is it possible that the new fan installation caused these outlets and switch to fail? I was thinking I would swap out one non-functioning outlet with a new one and test the theory. Worth a try?

Happy to provide more details but after reading threads on similar issues, this is all I can conclude.

Thanks for any learned advice that may help solve the mystery!
 
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Old 12-17-16, 11:47 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Is it possible that the new fan installation caused these outlets and switch to fail?
Not likely if nothing was touched with the switch or outlets. Likely what happened is when the "handyman" was messing with the wires in the ceiling box he/she miswired or accidentally disconnected some wires that go to the switch/outlets. Please tell us, or take a picture, of the wires and cables that are in the ceiling box. Also, if you have a multi meter handy that would be helpful.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 11:52 AM
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The fan works fine but the old wall switch doesn't ,what is controlling the fan? How many conductors are in the box for the fan ,what is the old wall switch suppose to control?
 
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Old 12-17-16, 12:12 PM
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Our recollection is the wall switch only controlled the ceiling fan. It may have controlled an outlet too but we have not used it much in recent years.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 12:29 PM
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I will remove the mounting bracket and take a photo.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 12:35 PM
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I think I attached a photo of the box. To provide a little explanation of what you see, there are two white wires twisted together, two blacks together, and the white and black wires unconnected that were connected to the new fan. I do have a multimeter. Just guide me on the best setting.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 12:44 PM
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To clarify on the wall switch, it has no affect on the fan. We control the fan by pulling on the two chains.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 12:45 PM
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Keep those two wires separated and ID them as LINE or HOT. We do not need to test these wires and will not connect the meter to them right now.

Take the wire nuts off the white and black splice and check for voltage.
My guess is it will be 0v.

If yes.... open the white and black splices.
Separate them into white and black from one cable and white and black from second cable.
Set your meter to ohms. Check each pair of wires.
One pair of wires will show a short when the switch is on and no short when the switch is off.

Confirm this for us.

If my thoughts are correct your three cables are....
1) feed in- hot
2) switch leg
3) feed out to receptacles.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 12:54 PM
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Pjmax,

To clarify, so I don't do something dumb, you want me to remove the wire nut off the white splice and put a probe on each wire to check voltage? Then do the same for the black splice?
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:00 PM
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Take the wire nuts off the white and black splices. Check from white to black.
While you're checking... check from black to the metal box too.
Don't open the splices yet.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:03 PM
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If my thoughts are correct your three cables are....
1) feed in- hot
2) switch leg
3) feed out to receptacles.
He said the switch did not control the fan at all. I would suspect that blacks are spliced together and whites should all be spliced together. Just for fun, what wires are in the switch box?

Follow PJ first though.

Also, bad news. That box is not rated to support a fan.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:11 PM
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He said the switch did not control the fan at all.
That's correct and the reason why I told him to label the two wires he had used as line/hot.
The handyman disconnected the switch line and the receptacles.

Good catch on the box.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:18 PM
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PJ,

I got 0.00 v on Black to White and the same for Black to box.

Tolyn,

I pulled the switch out and I see one White and one Black. Not sure if this is helpful info, but I gave it a whirl.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:20 PM
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Now open the white and black splices.
Separate them into white and black from one cable and white and black from second cable.
Set your meter to ohms. Check each pair of wires.
One pair of wires will show a short when the switch is on and no short when the switch is off.

.
My thoughts are correct your three cables are....
1) feed in- hot
2) switch leg
3) feed out to receptacles.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:23 PM
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So the box is not up to code for a fan? Not sure if that is a project I can handle. Is it just a matter of swapping out the box? I am happy to hire an Electrician if need be. I just like to take a look at things first to see if they are simple fixes.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:42 PM
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It may be a simple replacement job. I see screws inside the box. Is that box screwed to wood ?

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Old 12-17-16, 01:51 PM
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PJ,
I tested the two black/white pairs with meter while changing wall switch. I did not see any difference. I am not sure I have the meter set correctly. There are five ohm settings. Which do I use? Is there a foolproof test to make sure I have it set correctly?

I will check to see if the box is screwed into wood in a bit.

Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 12-17-16, 01:53 PM
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Any ohms scale should work. Rx1 is really what you want. The meter should move when the probes are touched together.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 02:22 PM
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I suspect the handyman may have changed the wiring of a switch loop. OP, please try to ID the wires going to the switch. Measure between the black and white while someone turns the switch on and off.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 02:25 PM
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Here is a visual of the wiring to help you understand what is being asked.

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Note: The tape on the wire nuts wasn't needed. Another reason to question how much of a pro the handy man was.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 02:25 PM
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OK. One Black/White pair gives a reading when the light switch is on. It jumps around so I can't say what that number is.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 03:15 PM
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Ok that's perfect.

Mark that cable. You can mark it by putting black tape on the white wire.
You've already identified power which means the last cable is the receptacles.
Can we assume you want the receptacles always live and the fan switched or the receptacles switched and the fan on always live ?
 
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Old 12-17-16, 04:31 PM
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We want the fan switched and the outlets always live.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 05:54 PM
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Ok... the following diagram will take care of that.

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Black of line/hot to black of receptacle to white of switch. (remark white is good idea)
White of line/hot to white of receptacle to white of fan.
Black of switch to black of fan.
 
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Old 12-17-16, 08:11 PM
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Thanks PJ. I will get back to this project tomorrow afternoon and update the thread with results. I appreciate all of the help offered by the members.
 
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Old 12-18-16, 07:07 AM
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Also see diagram in post 20. Same as Pete's just drawn differently.
 
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Old 12-18-16, 09:32 AM
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I marked the three pairs, tested without the fan and the receptacles worked. Then I mounted the fan (minus the blades) on the bracket hook and wired it in according to the two excellent diagrams. The fan and fan light work, the wall switch works, and the receptacles work. Success!

Here is a virtual beer to toast you all for your expertise and kindness.

My wife and I appreciate your assistance very much. No more "handyman" electrical projects--hire a real pro!
 
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Old 12-18-16, 09:48 AM
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Glad you got. Check here on your next project. You may be able to do it yourself.
 
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Old 12-18-16, 10:55 AM
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Did you change out the box to a fan rated one?
 
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Old 12-20-16, 06:04 PM
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We have eight ceiling fans. All but three were here when we bought the house 13 years ago. I'm going to contact an electrician, who was recommended by a neighbor, and have him look at all the boxes. We will probably replace the oldest fans and boxes at the same time. Then we can focus on the rest. We'll handle it in two phases.

Thanks again for your generous help. You are providing a great service to the DIY'ers.
 
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Old 12-20-16, 10:47 PM
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Thank you, it is nice to be appreciated and know the advice is valued.
 
 

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