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Electrical Wire and Cable

Replacing a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Replace a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan: Guide for Wiring a Ceiling Fan, Common Problems When Wiring a Ceiling Fan.

Guide to Replacing a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan and Light

Electrical Question: I am replacing the light fixture with a ceiling fan that also has a light fixture with it.

What am I missing?

This electrical wiring question came from: David, a Homeowner from Roosevelt, Utah.

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

How to Replace a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan

Application: Replace a Light Fixture with 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.

Common Problems When Replacing a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan and How to Fix Them

  1. Wall Switches
    Remember that the position or setting of the pull chain at the ceiling fan overrides all other switches and controls.
  2. Pull Chain Switch
    The pull chains are in essence the master control for the light and fan functions for motor speed and light levels.
  3. Fan Direction Switch Setting
    On rare occasion the fan motor direction switch can slide into the Middle Position and cause the motor not to work.
  4. Motor Supports and Braces
    These are plastic inserts, usually screwed in where the fan blade arms attach. They are put in place to prevent damage to the motor assembly and they need to be removed.

NOTE: The links below lead to detailed pictures and complete wiring diagrams that will help you wire up you ceiling fan.

More about Replacing a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan

How to Install Ceiling Fans and Wiring
Step-by-Step pictures – Easy wiring diagrams and installation guide – Light and fan switch variations.

How to Install Ceiling Fans
Take the mystery out of ceiling fan wiring. Ceiling Fans are a great way to lower your energy bill and brighten up one of your favorite rooms.

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MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC: Ceiling Fans, Wiring With Fixtures

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Replacing a Light Fixture with a Ceiling Fan”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    If you know that all of the wiring was connected as found originally, then the only thing left to check would be to make sure that the wiring in the connectors is intact and making connection.

    Also note that when working with an existing ceiling fan where a light kit was never installed, it is very possible that the blue wire has never been connected with the incoming power up at the ceiling fan junction box in the ceiling.


  2. Anna says:


    I have a similar problem that David, with the exception that the fan was already installed and all I did is to replace the light fixture.
    Therefore, I know that all the wires are connected properly – I only disconnected the white/white and blue/black light wires and reconnected exactly the same way as the previous light fixture was.
    Before, both the fan and the lights worked. Now only the lights work.
    I checked if any of the wires got loose – they did not.
    Pulling the chain does not help and the direction switch is in the right place.

    What else could be causing this problem?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Yes Tom, I Totally Agree,
    Thank You!

  4. Tom says:

    I think it should be noted that when replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan, the fan should be properly grounded to avoid a potential shock hazard. As a home inspector, I find too many ungrounded ceiling fans.