Wiring light fixture in lieu of ceiling fan

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Old 06-15-17, 08:37 AM
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Wiring light fixture in lieu of ceiling fan

Hello,

First time posting here. I've wired a number of ceiling fans and light fixtures with standard wiring, but I recently purchased a new construction home and the ceiling fan prewire is done in a way I haven't experienced. I've included pictures of the ceiling box and the switch box but I'll also describe the wire setup here:

Ceiling box - 1 14/3 wire coming out (1 black, 1 white marked with black tape, 1 red, and 1 ground)

Switch box - 2 switches. 2 14/3 wires and 1 14/2 wire. All white wires bundled together. 1 red wire going to the bottom screw of the left switch (this switch also controls the top 1/2 of a plug in the room). 1 black wire goes to the bottom screw of the right switch (the red wire from this cable goes nowhere, it's standalone). All the black wires are bundled together and 2 jumper wires go from the black bundle to the remaining two screws of the two switches. And we also have the ground wires bundled and going to the respective ground screws of the switches.

Now for my questions.
1) Was this wired correctly? I'm assuming yes but I haven't encountered this so I just want to make sure the builder wired it correctly.

2) If it was done correctly, can someone explain why it was wired this way? Why is the white wire from the ceiling marked hot? Why is there a standalone red wire in the switch box going nowhere?

3) Although I prewired for a ceiling fan, I am going to put up a regular light fixture for now. From what I see, the way the wiring is currently done, I can only wire the light fixture to be operated by the right switch, correct? At the ceiling box, I'd wire the white wire marked as hot to the black wire and the black wire to the white wire (and cap the red wire)? If I wire it this way, the light fixture works (I just want to confirm that this is the proper way to wire it). I don't think the left switch, as presently wired, can control the ceiling light, correct?

4) If I later decided to wire a ceiling light and fan so that one switch operates the ceiling light and the other switch operates the ceiling fan, what would I need to do? In this scenario, I'd probably want one switch to control both the ceiling light and the top 1/2 of the one plug.

Sorry for the long post! Tried to get as much detailed information in here in order to receive a good answer. Thank you in advance!

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Last edited by ray2047; 06-15-17 at 12:12 PM. Reason: Crop and resize one image. Separate images.
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  #2  
Old 06-15-17, 12:15 PM
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1 black, 1 white marked with black tape
But is it really remarked or did they damage the insulation and tape it? You need to check for voltage using a multimeter. First with switch off then on.

One way to wire for a ceiling fan is to use a 3-conductor cable. Black for fan motor, red for light kit. This way you can control motor and light with two different switches. If just a regular light is used only one switch is used and the red is capped on both ends and only black is used.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-15-17 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 06-15-17, 01:13 PM
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I can remove the tape tonight to check if the wire is damaged (I don't have a multimeter, but I could probably borrow my dad's this weekend). I should add though that, although it probably wasn't the safest thing to do, I did test the light fixture. I connected the white marked wire from the ceiling to the hot fixture wire and the black ceiling wire to the neutral fixture wire and the switch worked (this is how I'd probably wire it now but I just want confirmation that this is the proper way to wire the light/switch).

When I tried connecting the ceiling red wire to the neutral fixture wire, neither switch worked. So does this mean that the unconnected red wire in the switch box is the one from the ceiling? And the red wire connected to the right switch is from the plug?

I understand the whole black to black, red to red, and white to white for a standard ceiling fan w/light with two switches. As you mentioned, if I want just a regular light fixture, I'd cap the red wire and use the white and black for one switch to work. But shouldn't I also be able to use the red and white wires and cap the black for the 2nd switch to work by itself? Or am I misunderstanding something?
 
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Old 06-15-17, 02:43 PM
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What you just replied indicates everything is correct. Use the taped white for neutral and black to black.
I should add though that, although it probably wasn't the safest thing to do, I did test the light fixture.
Not unsafe really. That would have been my recommendation if you replied you didn't have a multimeter.
does this mean that the unconnected red wire in the switch box is the one from the ceiling?
Yes.
But shouldn't I also be able to use the red and white wires and cap the black for the 2nd switch to work by itself? Or am I misunderstanding something?
Or just move the black wire to the other switch. You could even make the receptacle always hot now since it was only switched because there was no light.

The probable reason the second 3-conductor cable was in the switch box was to carry both switched power and unswitched power to the first receptacle. The black being the unswitched hot that went to the rest of the receptacles.
 
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Old 06-16-17, 11:48 AM
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So yesterday I went ahead and bought a pen tester since I'll probably need one for future projects. I tested the wires from the ceiling and the white is indeed the neutral wire. So that explains the confusion caused by the mystery black tape.

Regarding the last part, when you say "just move the black wire to the other switch," you're talking about the black wire from the 3-conductor cable going to the receptacle, right? To make the receptacle always hot, would I disconnect the red wire from the left switch, cap it, move the black wire coming from the receptacle from the bundled black wires and connect it to the bottom screw of the left switch, and disconnect and cap the red wire from the receptacle? I will likely leave the receptacle switched just in case the wife wants to put a lamp there or something but I just want to learn and understand this for the future.

One last question, Ray. If I wanted to connect a ceiling fan with light so that the left switch (which currently controls a receptacle) would control the ceiling light AND the receptacle and the right switch (which currently controls the ceiling light) to control just the ceiling fan, how would I do that (in this scenario, I plan to switch the switches after rewiring so that the light switch is the right switch)? Is it as simple as connecting the disconnected red wire at the switch box to the bottom of the left switch?
 
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Old 06-16-17, 12:23 PM
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I went ahead and bought a pen tester
If you mean a non contact tester it is useless for any real testing. A cheap $8-$15 analog, not digital, multimeter is a good choice.

connect a ceiling fan with light so that the left switch (which currently controls a receptacle) would control the ceiling light AND the receptacle and the right switch (which currently controls the ceiling light) to control just the ceiling fan,
Power in to two pigtails and black to receptacles. One pigtail to each switch and red wire from ceiling fan to the other side of the first switch and ceiling fan black wire to the other side of the second switch.

Note if first switch is only half switched it may need to be replaced if you want all receptacles hot all the time.
 
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Old 06-16-17, 01:38 PM
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Just to dumb it down for myself and make sure I understand you 100%, I created a little diagram. Let me know if this is correct. (This is intended to keep the receptacle half switched.)
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Old 06-16-17, 01:44 PM
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And would this diagram be correct if I wanted to keep the receptacle hot at all times? I understand that I'd have to replace the plug if the middle tab is broken.

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Old 06-16-17, 02:51 PM
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Yes, they look correct. On your first diagram the brass tab on the receptacle would be removed. On the second it would be in place.
 
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Old 06-16-17, 03:32 PM
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Great, thanks Ray! Have a great weekend
 
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Old 06-16-17, 04:40 PM
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I'll be here for the weekend. Post back if you have more questions.
 
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Old 06-16-17, 07:43 PM
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It sounds like the fixture even tho working is wired incorrectly. The hot from the switch needs to go to the fixture black.
 
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