Wiring Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switches

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

The Pull Chain Switch on my Ceiling Fan Does Not Work, How Can I Fix It? Installing a Pull Chain Switch, Troubleshooting a Problem with a Pull Chain Switch.

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Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch

Electrical Question: The Pull Chain Switch on my Ceiling Fan Does Not Work, How Can I Fix It?

  • I am replacing a 2 wire pull chain switch for the light in a ceiling fan.
  • I made sure it clicked on and off prior to installing it.
  • After I installed it the light went on but then it popped when I turned it off and now it will not click anymore.
  • What could have caused this, and how can I correct it.

Thank you.

This electrical wiring question came from: Lawrence, a Homeowner from Boca Raton, Florida.

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

How to Replace a Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch

Application: Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Materials: Make sure the replacement pull chain switch has the same as the original switch, and is fully compatible with the ceiling fan you have.

Wiring a Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch

Before Replacing a Pull Chain Switch

  • Make sure you are purchasing the right pull chain switch because there are several different types that are available for a variety of applications.
  • Before removing the existing pull chain switch make sure to identify the wiring connections.
  • Mark with tape or use a permanent marker.
  • After identifying the pull chain switch wiring the switch may be removed so that you can take it to the hardware store to purchase a replacement.
  • Never throw the old pull chain switch away until you know that the replacement switch is the right one.

Installing a Pull Chain Switch

  • When replacing a ceiling fan pull chain switch be sure the wiring connections are insulated and secure.
  • Make the wiring connections the same as they were with the original switch, and use wire connectors to splice the wires together.
  • Check to make sure the wires that attach to the switch are secure, and there are no areas of bare wire that are visible.

Troubleshooting a Problem with a Pull Chain Switch

  • If a pull chain switch made a popping sound and then stopped working this could be an indication that the wiring is incorrect, or that there is another problem with the light fixture.
  • A popping sound is the result of the electrical current passing thru the contacts of the switch. If there is a direct short within the circuit if the light fixture this could create a popping sound and may damage the pull chain switch.
  • Be sure to inspect the light fixture wiring for any damage or pinched wires which could occur during the installation process.

More about Wiring a Ceiling Fan and Switches


  • How to Wire and Install a Ceiling Fan
  • 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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