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Ceiling Fan Wiring and Connections


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Where do the red and black wires connect on a ceiling fan? The Wires of a Ceiling Fan and How to Connect Them, Wiring at the Ceiling Electrical Box, Wiring of the Ceiling Fan.

Wiring a Ceiling Fan with a Light

Electrical Question: Where do the red and black wires connect on a ceiling fan?

I am installing a ceiling fan that has a light fixture. Where does the red wire connect to if there are no red wires coming from the fan assembly.

This electrical question came from: Bobby, a Homeowner from Leesburg, Georgia.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Bobby.

How to Connect the Wires for a Ceiling Fan and Light

Application: Wiring a Ceiling Fan.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the switched outlet wiring and the proposed location for the ceiling fan.
Precaution: Identify the switched outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring for a ceiling fan should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

The Most Common Wiring for a Ceiling Fan and How to Connect Them

To directly answer this question: The red wire at the ceiling is typically for a separate switch to control a ceiling fan light, so if your ceiling fan does not have a light attached then just cap off the red wire and connect the other wires as color to color as you have indicated, for the black, white and ground wires.
Keep reading for detailed information:

ceiling fan wiring diagram

EXAMPLE:

The Typical Wiring Connections at the Electrical Box of a Ceiling Fan

EXAMPLE:

The Typical Wires Found on a Ceiling Fan

NOTE: Wiring colors and connections may vary with some ceiling fans, or with other home wiring methods and locations.

More about Installing and Wiring a Ceiling Fan with a Light

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

7 Responses to “Ceiling Fan Wiring and Connections”
  1. Armington says:

    I am trying to install a ceiling fan with light and two wall switches. From the ceiling there are 2 white wires, 2 black wires, and a ground. From the ceiling fan there is a black, a white, a black/white, and a ground. How should I connect the wires?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi John,
    Yes – the black wire can be capped off and insulated and the red wire that is connected to the wall switch can be used in place of the black wire so the wall switch will be the primary switch and the pull chain switch will control the speed of the ceiling fan.
    Dave

  3. john anderson says:

    I pre-wired for a ceiling fan so the black wire is “always on” and the red wire is switched at the wall for the fan light. Can I cap off the black at the ceiling and just use the switched red wire for the fan since no light will be on the ceiling fan?

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    The wiring coming from the ceiling that you have described will need to be traced or identified using a voltage tester to determine what these wires are and how they may be connected to the ceiling fan. It would be best to have a licensed electrician check out the electrical wiring and the integrity of the installation.
    Dave

  5. Jennifer says:

    I’m trying to install a ceiling fan. Coming out of the ceiling is 4 white copper wires connected together and one red wire. On the fan there is a white blue and black wire. What goes with what?
    Thanks

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi J.,
    Wiring a ceiling fan with a swag style power source is not the idea method.
    The swag cord and chain method is typically used for swag lamps where the chain and cord are 12 feet in length or less, and a ground wire should be added if not present when the fixture has a metal housing or assembly.
    Keep in mind that all ceiling fans must be well supported and installed onto a UL approved box rated for ceiling fans. One alternative may be to install a surface Wire Molding type of conduit where the method protects the electrical wiring and includes approved boxes for ceiling fans.
    Dave

  7. JLamb says:

    Is it safe to wire a ceiling fan (no light) to a swag kit and cap off the ground wire (as directed)?