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Replacement Ceiling Fan Wiring Configurations

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Fix Ceiling Fan Wiring Problems: Common Problems with Ceiling Fan Wiring and How to Fix Them, Identify the Ceiling Fan Wires for the Right Connections, Wires for Ceiling Fan Light Fixtures, Wiring Connections that Cause a Tripped Circuit Breaker.

Guide to Wiring Connections when Replacing a Ceiling Fan

  Electrical Question: I replaced a ceiling fan and when I turned it on the light worked but when I pulled the chain for the fan the circuit breaker tripped off.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

This electrical wiring question came from: Megan, a Homeowner from Brooklyn, New York.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical repair question Megan.

How to Fix Ceiling Fan Wiring Problems

ceiling fan wiring problems

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 location for the replacement ceiling fan.
Precaution: Identify the ceiling fan and outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring

Common Problems with Ceiling Fan Wiring and How to Fix Them

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9 Responses to “Replacement Ceiling Fan Wiring Configurations”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Barry,
    When there is only a black wire, white wire and green or bare ground wire of the circuit wires leading to the ceiling fan, then yes, the blue light fixture wire of the ceiling fan connects to the black wire of the circuit wires.
    This will enable you to control the light fixture by using the pull chain switch on the ceiling fan.
    I hope this helps,

  2. Barry Cantrell says:

    I replaced the chain pull switch for the light,in so doing a red wire came loose. I can’t find were it goes. The light works but the fan doesn’t. I closed it up to recover. A few days later I think I’m rested enough to fix the fan, so when I was removing the light bulbs I discovered the wires to the porcelain base were charred, brittle, and frayed. We decided to replace the fan. I’m ready to put the new fan up, but I can’t remember what to do with the blue wire at the ceiling box. I think I join it to the black wire, is this correct? Honeywell did a good job making a plug connector for the light fixture to fan easy. They didn’t do a good job with the instruction book. So the blue and black together at the ceiling right?

  3. David says:

    I am installing a Hunter ceiling fan that has a light.
    The wires coming out of the fan are black, black and white, and white. The wires coming out of the ceiling are 2 black wires and 2 white wires and 2 copper bare wires on a single wall switch. When I try to wire the black wires including the black and white from the fan and wire the white wires together it bypasses the switch. How should I be wiring so the light and fan operate from the switch?

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Trey,
    I must say that it is odd that there is not a blue wire or a separate wire for the light fixture of the ceiling fan, therefore it appears that you may have to install one yourself and make the separation. However, before you do that I would look in the instruction booklet and see if it does in fact show that a separate wire should be there as installed from the factory, and if so then I would return the ceiling fan and have it replaced, and inform the store that the first ceiling fan was not wired correctly from the factory.

  5. Trey Wells says:

    I am replacing my ceiling fan. My existing fan is operated by 2 switches, one controlling the light and one controlling the fan and speed. So I have a red, black and white wire coming from my box in the ceiling. My replacement fan has only a single black and white wire which appear to run through the fan motor to the light kit as well. I would like to be able to operate the light independently from the fan and utilize both switches on the wall. Fan directions say “light kit may be wired to additional wall switch if desired”. How do I wire my light to the separate switch? My first fan has an additional blue wire coming from the rod, so I’m wondering if the electrician added an additional wire and separated the light and fan inside the housing? Please help.

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    If there is no light fixture with the hunter ceiling fan then you may still have the blue wire or another colored wire for the light fixture which is still provided so a fixture may be added in the future. You may either cap off the light fixture wire or connect it. The internal unused fixture wire should be capped off by the factory. Your ceiling wiring connections to the ceiling fan should be made to reflect the wall switch wiring configuration of the room.

  7. Patrick says:

    I have a hunter ceiling fan no light 3 wire red,black, black/white where do i wire the black/white wire? or do I just cap it off?

  8. Dave Rongey says:

    Bob, Some ceiling boxes are pre-wired for ceiling fans where separate switches may be used for the fan and light. In your case the red wires is the one being used, so the wires of the fan and light of the ceiling fan connect to that red wire. Note that you may install an additional switch if you so desire.

  9. Bob Welker says:

    I am replacing a ceiling light with a ceiling fan. The current light is controlled by one wall switch, yet the wiring in the ceiling box has a red wire in addition to the normal black, white and ground wires. The light had the black wire on the light attached to the red wire. The white wire on the light was attached to the white wire in the ceiling box. The black wire has a wire nut attached and is not used.

    Why is the red wire used and how do I attach my fan leads?

    Thanks for your help.