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Wiring new fan/light independently on 3-way switches


Rocc619's Avatar
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11-13-17, 03:53 PM   #1 (permalink)  
Wiring new fan/light independently on 3-way switches

Hi,

Our 'new to us' condo (built in the early 70's) does not currently have a light in the master bedroom (nor did any of the bedrooms). We finally decided we'd install a fan/light combo (Hunter Antero 54").
There is a rocker switch in the room which has a 12/3 w/Grd just capped off - it controls nothing, not even an outlet.

I'm thinking that the best option would be to install Two 3-way switches in the current switch location (will need to replace single gang box with double box). Run two 12/3 w/grd romex cables up to the fan box. Then run another two 12/3 w/grd romex cables from the fan box down to the location of the new switch box. This new switch box will hold a 3-way dimmer switch for the light function, and a 3-way switch to control the on/off function of the fan.

Does this sound correct?

If yes, how should I connect the wiring at the fan junction box? My understanding is the fan/light unit will have a white, black and blue wire.

Will the wiring diagram below work? Except in my case, it'll be times 2?

 
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11-13-17, 04:49 PM   #2 (permalink)  
Welcome to the forums.

First off.... match the gauge of the existing wiring. Don't use #12 if the circuit is wired in #14. The #12 takes up valuable space in the boxes. Very rarely is #12 used in lighting circuits.

There is a 12-3 (? #12) in the switch box with the red, black and white capped off. Nothing connected to the switch ? Start by checking that for power.

Yes.... the diagram you posted will work but you need to remember that electrical boxes have limitations how many wires you can stuff in them. I try to run a three wire cable between the switches to eliminate the confusion at the ceiling box.


~ Pete ~

 
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11-14-17, 10:34 AM   #3 (permalink)  
Thank you for your response and welcome

Yes, the current home wiring is odd. It is a three bedroom condo, all 3 bedrooms had a switch that controlled nothing. All 3 of those switch boxes have a 12/3 cable coming into the box, not connected to the switch. Though If I remember correctly, they were actually spliced to another 12/3 cable which then left the switch box. I disconnected the cables that were spliced together and couldn't find that it affected anything in the entire house. (side note, same scenario in the living room but there it did turn off power to the ceiling light in the dining room.) However, it is possible that it sends power to an outlet or something so my plan is to leave those wires as they are and simply add cables to those splices in order to wire my switches. Thereby not cutting off power to wherever the current spliced cables go.

Regarding the 12/3 gauge. I am assuming it is 12/3 but being that the condo is old, it could very well be 14 gauge. It's actually copper clad aluminum wiring. I am aware of the fire danger so I did purchase special connectors for splicing that type of wiring to modern copper wire.

I have purchased the largest 2-gang boxes available at my local HD for the very reason of space.

My other question is how do I wire up in the ceiling fan/light junction? I'm aware that there are 3 wires coming from the unit; a black, white, and blue wire. I'm thinking that utilizing the diagram I posted previously, for the circuit controlling the light, i'll connect the white cable to the white cable at the unit, and the black cable from the diagram to the blue cable of the unit. For the circuit controlling the fan, i'll connect the white cable to the white cable at the unit, and the black wire to the black wire of the unit, as shown in the diagram.
Does this sounds correct?

 
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11-14-17, 09:28 PM   #4 (permalink)  
Since you are duplicating the switch circuit..... you only need to use one of the white neutral wires. The other one can be capped off.

If you're sure that is copper covered aluminum.... that would explain the use of #12 wiring as aluminum requires one size larger than copper.


~ Pete ~

 
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11-15-17, 08:53 AM   #5 (permalink)  
Pete, thank you very much for your input.

I feel confident I understand how to wire the fan circuit - which is a simple 3-way circuit, "on/off" at both ends.

However, I am still stumped on how to wire the light circuit - which is a 3-way circuit with a dimmer at the entrance to the room (where the source current is), and an on/off switch at the opposite end of the 3-way. The dimmer has 4 cables, 1 white, 1 black, 1 red, 1 red/white stripped. At this point, i'd be fine with changing my wiring layout if it makes things easier. What I mean is run a wire from the dimmer directly to the opposite end on/off switch, then a wire from there to the light. Please help explain what wires I should connect to what wires.

 
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11-15-17, 09:13 AM   #6 (permalink)  
I think I found my answer: Would you agree this is the correct wiring diagram for my situation?

 
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11-15-17, 10:08 AM   #7 (permalink)  
You said the dimmer has a white wire? Where is this in your diagram? Did you mean green?

Either of your proposed configurations would work. As was mentioned, the second would be more straightforward/less confusing for another person to figure out down the road. Although it shouldn't really be too confusing IMO.

There is another option--a dead end three way. Switch and feed from one switch, and a single 14/3 at the other switch. Black and white are your travelers. In order of preference, I would go with either a dead-end 3-way or your second option. A fourth option would be too run your feed into your ceiling box, then one 3-way cable down to each switch, but I'm assuming your feed is already in one of your switch boxes and extending it would be more trouble than it's worth. Although I'm not sure if this would be the safest (or even legal) thing to do. You'd want to wrap the white wires from the 3-wires with black tape to denote they are not neutrals.


Last edited by mossman; 11-15-17 at 10:30 AM.
 
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11-15-17, 10:16 AM   #8 (permalink)  
Whether you use a three way switch or a three way dimmer...... the wiring is the same.


~ Pete ~

 
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11-15-17, 03:38 PM   #9 (permalink)  
Mossman, you're correct. There is no white wire from the dimmer switch. Rather it's a red and white stripped lead.

1 red
1 red and white stripped
1 black
1 green

 
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