How to Install a Three Way Switch in a Ceiling Fan

A three-way switch.
  • 2-3 hours
  • Advanced
  • 0-75
What You'll Need
Voltage tester
Electrical tape
Wire cutter
Wire stripper
Grounding wrist strap
Three way switch
Wire connectors

A ceiling fan is a great solution to correct air distribution throughout the entire home which can lower energy costs. A three-way switch can help to better control the ceiling fan. It gives you a flexible way to control your ceiling fan. You could control the fan from more than one location; adjust the strength of the light or speed of the fan. A three way switch is more complicated to install than a single switch but can be made easier with simple instructions. The article that follows will provide you with instructions on how to easily install a three-way switch for a ceiling fan.

Step 1 - Get Ready

Make sure that you have all of your tools out and ready for you to use. If you are replacing a ceiling fan, then make sure that you have all of the pieces of the fan. You will have to work safely. Before you start, turn off the power. There is more to it than just turning off the switch where you are working. You have a main circuit breaker in your home where you will have to turn the power off until you are finished with installing the three-way switch.

Step 2 - Identify the Wires

You'll need to remove the current fixture. It could either be a light or another ceiling fan (if you are going to be replacing it). Once the casing is removed, you will see a grouping of wires. Before you begin to touch them or remove them you need to make sure that the power is off. Use the voltage tester to make sure there is no power.

Despite installing a three-way switch you will notice that there are still neutral and hot wires. Pay close attention to the current wiring of the fixture as this will determine how you install the three-way switch. In some cases, a white wire may actually be the one carrying the voltage. If this is the case then mark it with a piece of black electrical tape. If installing a new fan then assemble it now and attach it to a ceiling fan rated box.

Step 3 - Wire the Ceiling Fan

The ceiling fan has to be connected to the proper wires in the ceiling. Identify the neutral wire in the ceiling and connect it to the white wire on the fan. If the fan has lights then it will have a blue wire. Connect both the blue and black wires from the fan to the voltage carrying wire in the ceiling. Attach the ground wire from the fan to the ground wire in the ceiling. Tape the wires together with electrical tape and place them in the ceiling box and finish installing the fan. Remove the old switch. Install the three-way switch by mimicking the wire attachments of the old switch and that of the ceiling fan.