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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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Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
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Wire a Ceiling Fan

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

Wiring ceiling fans
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.

Light Switch Wiring
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.

Wiring Diagrams
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.

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

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Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book
Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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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.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Making the Right Ceiling Fan Wiring Connections”
  1. 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.

  2. 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,