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ByDave Rongey © Ask the Electrician 2017 Author, Licensed Electrical Contractor
» Home Electrical Wiring Guide Book

Electrical Question about the Red Ceiling Fan Wire

Question: I just installed a ceiling fan and it appears to be working OK. There were three wires in the ceiling box, white, black and red.

Electrical Question from Tom about Ceiling Fan Wiring – What is the Red Wire For?

Received from Tom a Homeowner in Niles, IL

Question: I just installed a ceiling fan and it appears to be working OK. There were three wires in the ceiling box, white, black and red. I connected the white from the fan to the white, the black and blue from the fan/light to the black, and did nothing with the red wire from the box. What is that wire for?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question.
Many times it is typical for the electrician to wire for the fan and light functions separately. So instead of having just one wire from the switch box that would control the fan and light, a second red wire is  provided with the 3-wire cable which  gives the option to install a separate switch for the light. This is really handy when you would like to install a wall fan speed control and a wall light dimmer switch for the ceiling fan functions. In order for this to work these wires should be identified as such then connected at the ceiling fan for the desired control.

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