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Electrical Wire and Cable

Making the Right Ceiling Fan Wiring Connections

I replaced my ceiling fan and the switch and now it does not work, how do I check the wire connections? Ceiling Fan Box Wiring, Wiring the Switch Box, Wiring a Ceiling Fan that is Replacing a Light Fixture.

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Ceiling Fan Wiring Connections
Electrical Question: I replaced my ceiling fan and the switch and now it does not work, how do I check the wire connections?

This weekend I replaced my ceiling fan, outlets, and wall switches in my bedroom after repainting. I have swapped out ceiling fans before, and never had problems but this is the first time I did it and replaced the switch at the same time, and it just wont work!

Here is the wiring that I have:

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

This electrical question came from: Al, a Homeowner from El Reno, Oklahoma.

Additional Comments: Very informative!

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

Wiring Connections for a Ceiling Fan

Application: How to Connect the Wires for 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.

How to Make the Wiring Connections for a Ceiling Fan and Switch

With this scenario I see one item that is often misunderstood which is complicated by trying to install the wrong type of switch. From what was described in this question, a 3-way switch is being used instead of a single switch, and this can complicate things.

Ceiling Fan Box Wiring
In most cases, when the electrical box in the ceiling has two sets of wires with black and white wires (the grounds are assumed), this typically means that one set is the incoming power source, and the other set is used as a switch leg or the switch loop down to the wall switch.

Switch Box Wiring
This can be verified if the wires in the wall switch box are a black and white, and both are connected to the light switch. If this is the case then the white wire of the pair that goes down to the switch (should be identified with black marker or tape at both ends) and connected to the black wire of the power source. This sends power down to the switch and the black wire on the switch sends the power back up to the ceiling fan, which is typically used for the blue light fixture wire. The white wire of the power source connects to the white ceiling fan wire. If you wish to control the fan motor by the pull chains only, then connect the black wire from the ceiling fan to the black wire of the power source. If you want the fan motor and the light to be controlled by the wall switch then the black and blue wire of the ceiling fan connect to the black wire coming back from the wall switch.

Wiring a Ceiling Fan that is Replacing a Light Fixture

When removing or replacing light fixtures, ceiling fan, wall switches or outlets make sure the power is turned OFF to the circuit, and be sure to record the original wiring connections. Do not take apart any spliced wires unless it is necessary.

More about Wiring Diagrams for Ceiling Fan Wiring  Connections

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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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Light Switch Wiring

Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.

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Wiring Diagram

Electrical Wiring Diagrams

Home electrical wiring diagrams are an important tool for completing your electrical projects. An electrical wiring diagram can be as simple as a diagram showing how to install a new switch in your hallway, or as complex as the complete electrical blueprint for your new home or home improvement project.

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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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2 Responses to “Making the Right Ceiling Fan Wiring Connections”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi William,
    Typically found in the ceiling fan box are a black wire for the power and a white wire for the neutral, and the ground wire. There should not be a voltage reading on the neutral wire. Please make sure you the wiring is being tested accurately and review the provided wiring diagrams which will assist you.
    I hope this helps,

  2. William says:

    If both wires black and white are hot from the box, which wires from the ceiling fan hook-up with the black(hot)and white(hot)wires. One switch for the light and one switch for the fan.