Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch Box

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How do I add a Second Switch for a Ceiling Fan and Light? How to Wire a Switch for a Combo Ceiling Fan and Light.

Wiring Switches for a Ceiling Fan

Electrical Question: How do I add a second switch for a new ceiling fan and light?

  • The wiring for a ceiling fan light combo was added with a 14-3 cable.
  • The 14-3 cable goes to an existing single pole switch in a two-gang box that already housed three 14-2 cables.
  • One 14-3 cable that was connected to a GFCI outlet in the bathroom.
  • How do I add a second single pole switch for the new ceiling fan and light?
  • Is a 2-gang box to small?

This electrical wiring question came from: Cleo, a Homeowner from Phoenix, Arizona.

Additional Comments: Great!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Cleo.

How to Wire a Switch for a Ceiling Fan and Light

Application: Wiring a Ceiling Fan and Wall Switch.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools and electrical wiring.
Precaution: Identify the ceiling fan power source or circuit at the panel, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the switch wiring.
Materials: Make sure the switches are fully compatible with the ceiling fan you have and the size of the lamps that will be installed in the fixture.

Guide to Wiring Switches for a Ceiling Fan with a Light

  • The Circuit  Power
    The ceiling fan requires a power source consisting of a hot, neutral and ground wire.
  • Identify the Power Source Cable
    The power source cable in the 2 gang box must first be identified for the proper connections to the new switches for the ceiling fan as explained below.
  • The Black Wire of the Power Source
    Because the existing power source will also be used for the ceiling fan the black wire of the power source is spliced, then an additional wire is added to the splice which is attached to one screw terminal of the switch.
  • The Black Wire of the Ceiling Fan Cable
    The black wire of the ceiling fan cable is attached to the remaining screw terminal of the switch.
  • The White Neutral Wires
    The white neutral wire leading to the ceiling fan and light combo are connected to the white neutral wire of the circuit power.
  • The Ground Wires
    Ground wires in the switch box are all spliced together and bonded to the box.
  • Switch Box Size Considerations
    Because the existing switch box already contains two switches, a stack switch or tandem switch may be used in place of a single. If a stack or tandem switch is not used then there is the option of removing the existing switch box and replacing it with a 3-gang switch box. Further examinations of the internal wall space will need to be explored to make sure there is room for the larger 3-gang switch box.
  • More Wiring Diagrams and Resources
    The resources below provide wiring diagrams which will explain the wiring in detail and provide photos of ceiling fan installations to assist you.

More about Wiring a Switch for a Ceiling Fan

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

One Response to “Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch Box”
  1. chuck albrecht says:

    It is important to understand that neutral wires should not be connected to switches because this would create a direct short.
    Dave has reworded this comment which originally described a concern about the wiring of the neutral wire of the circuit to the neutral wire for the ceiling fan. The original article has been updated for further clarification.


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