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Question – Ceiling Fan Light Kit Wiring

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Can a dimmer switch be installed on a ceiling fan light?

I want to install a ceiling fan at a location where the light was controlled with a dimmer switch. In the switch box there is a black wire, white, red and a bare (ground) wire. The dimmer switch is connected black from switch to black in box, red to white, and green to ground. In the ceiling box, there are two black wires and two white wires. The white wires are tied together. What is the correct wire configuration for wiring the ceiling fan with a light kit.

Please read all of this.
From the information you sent it sounds like you have a junction box somewhere between the switch box and the ceiling fixture box. Without a voltage tester or continuity tester, we can only guess at two possible wiring configurations.
#1 IF there was ever a ceiling fan attached to this ceiling fan box, THEN here is what it seems to be:
At the Switch Box:
The Black is the 110 Volt Hot coming in.
The Red and White are Switch Legs leading up to the fixture box through a junction box.
At the Ceiling Fixture Box:
The Whites should be the Neutral, only if you know that they were attached to the original fixture.
If that is the case, then the other two Black wires would be the Switch Legs at the switch box.
#2 IF there was NEVER a Ceiling Fan attached to this Ceiling Box before THEN here is what it seems to be:
At the Switch Box:
As the dimmer was wired before, Black to one terminal of a Switch and the White to the other terminal of a Switch.
At the Ceiling Fixture Box:
The two Black wires: one would be Hot and one would be Neutral
Again – the exact identification of your wiring can only be verified with a test instrument as stated above.
As for your Ceiling Fan:
A normal dimmer cannot be used to control both the fan and the lights because it will harm the fan motor. I would suggest you use a standard single pole switch and use the pull chains on the ceiling fan to operate the lights and the fan motor speeds.
You will need to make sure the ceiling fixture box is approved for a ceiling fan. Many older fixture boxes are not approved for this due to a lack of support capabilities. You may need to go to the hardware store and purchase the correct box depending on the wood framing structure support with the ceiling joists that you have in your ceiling, and you may need to install a wood support block in the ceiling if there is access to the area.
I will be adding a few pages to the web site specifically about ceiling fans soon.
Given this information, my advice is to be sure to test the wires. If the dimmer is “on” and the two black wires produce 110 volts, then the #2 example is possibly the wiring configuration.
Test to be sure. If you are not sure about any of this please call a qualified licensed electrician.

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