Ceiling fan/light wiring question


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Old 04-05-14, 03:50 PM
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Ceiling fan/light wiring question

I have a ceiling fan that was previously installed where the light was operated by a wall switch and the fan was operated by the pull string. I am attempting to change this over so that both fan and light are operated by wall switches. However, it appears that there is no live wire going to the switch box (there is a second wire, but from what I can tell it goes to an outlet right below the switch - it was previously wired so that the black wire coming from the fan was always hot). Is it possible to wire the fan and light to switches when the hot wires are at the ceiling box or do I have to run a hot wire to the switch box?
 
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Old 04-05-14, 04:39 PM
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Is it possible to wire the fan and light to switches when the hot wires are at the ceiling box or do I have to run a hot wire to the switch box?
Yes, if you are on pre2011 NEC code you run xx3 cable (Black, red, white +ground). If you are on 20011 code you run xx-4 cable (Black, red, blue, white + ground). xx=cable wire size which is dependent on breaker size.

With xx-3 you remark the white some color other then white or gray or green on both ends and use it to carry power to the switch. The black and red of the 3-conductor cable carry power back to the fan (usually red for the light and black for the fan motor).

With xx-4 the white of the xx-4 carries the neutral to the switch box and ia capped at the switch box. No specific color code for the other wires but one that most closely follows usual wiring convention is black for power to the switch, red power back to the fan motor, and blue power to the fan light.

Or just use a remote control.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-06-14 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 04-05-14, 10:36 PM
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Is it possible to wire the fan and light to switches when the hot wires are at the ceiling box or do I have to run a hot wire to the switch box?
Yes, but a fan motor should not be controlled by an on/off switch unless the pull chain switch for the fan is left either on the highest speed or off before the wall switch is turned off. The reason is that that motor needs to have full power when it's starting.

You can use a fan motor control in the wall to control the fan, if you want to be able to adjust the speed with the switch. You can use a combination fan motor and light control - usually a dual slide device - to control both the fan and the light without having to have two separate switches in a 2-gang box. Or you can install a remote control and leave the switch as it is, as Ray suggested.

Tell us what you'd like to wind up with and we can advise you on the best way to accomplish that.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 10:29 AM
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With xx-3 you remark the white some color other then white or gray or green on both ends and use it to carry power to the switch. The black and red of the 3-conductor cable carry power back to the fan (usually red for the light and black for the fan motor).
Thanks for your reply.

There is already a xx-3 run from the ceiling box to the switch box, so this would be the route I would have to go. Since there is an outlet that is powered on the line after the switch box, would I just cap the neutral wire that goes to the outlet at the switch box then? Or do I have to have some sort of neutral coming into the switch so that it can be carried on to the outlet?

Here is how the wires are setup:
1. Hot wire goes into the ceiling box.
2. A single xx-3 wire is run from the ceiling box to the switch box.
3. A single standard 3 wire (black, white, ground) is run from the switch box to the outlet.

It was previously wired so that the black and neutral wires of the xx-3 were carried through to the switch box (from the hot coming into the ceiling box), then the red wire was on the switch for the light, but now with two switches I can no longer do that.

I do have access to run wires if I need to, but it's not exactly the easiest access (some weird angles), so would prefer to not have to run wires if I don't need to.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 11:00 AM
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When xx-3 is used as I described above it is not a neutral and in fact code requires it be remarked on both ends some color other then white (or gray or green) to indicate it isn't a neutral.
there is an outlet that is powered on the line after the switch box, would I just cap the neutral wire that goes to the outlet at the switch box then?
No, the receptacle then wouldn't work. You would need to find a new source of power for the receptacle. Often receptacles are there to satisfy code requirements for the location/spacing of receptacles so just killing it would be non code compliant.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 02:44 PM
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So to stay code compliant, looks like I'll have to run a hot wire to the switch box, since I don't see any (or have easy access to at least) any other hot wires to tie the outlet into.

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 03:26 PM
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to stay code compliant, looks like I'll have to run a hot wire to the switch box, since I don't see any (or have easy access to at least) any other hot wires to tie the outlet into>
No, not at all. Ray suggested earlier that you could use a remote control, I said earlier that there are 2-wire wall controls that can control both the fan speed and the light level.

Here's one example of both:

Hunter Original® Fan/Light Wall Control

This wall control uses a remote receiver to turn the fan off and on, turn the light off and on, change the fan speed, change the light level, and reverse the fan.

AFAIK, this control will work as expected with a 3-wire switch loop such as you have. If not, there are others available.
 
 

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