Ceiling Fan Wiring Help
My ceiling fan and light is not working right, what should I do to make it work right? How to Connect the Wires to a Ceiling Fan, Ceiling Fan Power and Switches.© By: Dave Rongey
Ceiling Fan Wiring Guide
Electrical Question: My ceiling fan and light is not working right, what should I do to make it work right?
Original Ceiling Fan Installation
I bought an older home and there is a ceiling fan and light in the living room that is not operating properly. Whoever installed the fan and light either installed it incorrectly or it was wired wrong at the factory. There are 3 wires that come out of the fan, black, white and black & white. The installer wired up an extension cable that plugs into a wall outlet. He hooked up the black extension cable to black fan wire and white extension cable to white fan wire. The black & white wire was dead ended. When the fan is plugged in and the light pull chain is pulled the fan starts to run. The lights do not work. When the pull chain to operate the fan motor is pulled the fans will come on and the fan starts running on fast speed. When I got into the wiring box of the fan it doesn’t look like any of the wires have been tampered with. I don’t have the original instruction sheet so I don’t know if they just hooked it up wrong or if there was just a defective fan.
I would appreciate your input.
This ceiling fan question came from: Larry, a Homeowner from Clearwater, Florida.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Larry.
How to Connect the Wires to a Ceiling Fan
Application: Ceiling Fan Power and Switches.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
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 ceiling fan.
Precaution: Identify the ceiling fan circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Ceiling Fan Power and Switches
Larry from what you have described, there is one source of power to the ceiling fan which is on all the time as long as the extension cable is plugged into the wall outlet.
Ceiling Fan Wiring from a Wall Outlet
In order for the fan motor and the ceiling fan light fixture to work then connections will need to be changed as described below:
- The wall cord black must be connected to the ceiling fan black and black & white wires.
- The wall cord white remains connected to the ceiling fan white wire.
- It would be advised that the extension cable should have a ground wire so that it can be attached to the ceiling fan ground wire.
- The extension cable should not be longer than 12 feet and should be supported.
- Note that some ceiling fans may have a Blue wire instead of a Black and White wire which is used for the light fixture portion of the ceiling fan.
Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Operation
- When a ceiling fan is wire where there is a constant unswitched power supply, then the pull chains on the ceiling fan provide the main source of control for the fan speeds and the light fixture.
- The pull chain for the fan speeds normally functions as follows: High Speed, Medium Speed, and Low Speed, then Off.
- The pull chain for the ceiling fan light fixture normally functions as follows: On or Off if there is only one light bulb, or if there are multiple light bulbs then each pull of the chain will activate the First level of light which is typically two bulbs, then the Next level of light which is typically two more bulbs or a total of four bulbs, and so on.
More about How to Wire a Ceiling Fan
How to Install Ceiling Fan Wiring
Step-by-step pictures – Easy wiring diagrams and installation guide – Light and fan switch variations.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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