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How To Solve Ceiling Fan Wiring Problems

How Can I Fix a Wiring Problem with my Ceiling Fan and Switches? How to Identify Ceiling Fan and Light Switch Wiring Problems, Troubleshoot and Repair Ceiling Fan and Switch Wiring.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

How To Hook Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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Ceiling Fan and Switch Wiring Problems
Electrical Question: How Can I Fix a Problem with my Ceiling Fan and Switch Wiring?

I have a ceiling fan with a light that was controlled by a two switch outlet.

Any clues as to what I can do next?

Background: Jeff, who is a Handyman from Daphne, Alabama.

Additional Comments: Great site for simple to complex wiring issues!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Jeff.

How to Identify Ceiling Fan and Light Switch Wiring

Application: Ceiling Fan Electrical Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical project is best installed 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.

Ceiling Fan and Light Switch Wiring Configuration

The switching becomes clear when you focus on where the power enters and the route it takes to accomplish the switching.

See More about How to Wire a Ceiling Fan

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.

How to Install Ceiling Fans and Wiring

Step-by-step pictures – Easy wiring diagrams and installation guide – Light and fan switch variations.
Ceiling Fan Wiring diagrams
Ceiling Fan Installations

How to Wire a Switch

Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

Wiring Diagrams
Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams.
Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.

How to Wire Electrical Outlets

Testers to Help Solve Electrical Problems

Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring
Types of Electrical Testers
How to Using Electrical Testers

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
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
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

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.

More articles about Ceiling Fans, Wiring Configurations and Home Electrical Wiring:
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

8 Responses to “How To Solve Ceiling Fan Wiring Problems”
  1. Dottie gladden says:

    Having problems installing new ceiling fan. Trying to replace a ceiling fan in a room and the new fan is tripping the breaker. Old fan had white, black, blue, and green wires and also does new fan. Before removing old fan pulled wires out and removed old fan wires making sure I knew where each wire went. Put new fan together then put wiring together, turned power on then switched on light and breaker trip right away, checked wires to make sure white w/ white black/blue with black, and green to green, they where, so took them apart reconnected them, tripped again, flipped wires just in case tripped breaker, removed fan, put old fan up worked just fine, put new fan up again tripped again, took back to store got new fan put new fan all together same problem again and again, put up a new light fixture worked just fine, took second fan back got totally different brand of fan and still the breaker is tripping. Don’t understand what the problem could be please could you give me some insight

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Dottie,
    This question has been posted.
    I believe you may have a pinched wire when the fan assembly is being mounted.
    Make sure the wires are clear and not getting pinched or damaged.

  3. Wayne says:

    I just bought a new home and decided to install the ceiling fans myself. The instructions guided me through well enough for the fan to work, but the light fixture will not work. I followed the instructions by hooking the blue and black wires from the fan to the black wire and the white to white and green to the ground. I was left with one red wire from the house. How do I get the light to work? Do I need to connect the red wire to the blue wire from the fan? Thanks!

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Wayne,
    The presence of a red wire in the ceiling fan box typically indicates that there is a dedicated wall switch for the light of the ceiling fan, so in this case the blue wire of the ceiling fan should connect to the red wire.
    Also, don’t overlook the pull chain switches on the ceiling fan which will operate the fan speed and the light as well. These pull chain switches will be the overriding controls for the ceiling fan functions.
    I hope this helps,

  5. william pierson says:

    I am trying to wire a new ceiling fan with light to an old fixture. The new fan has black, blue, white and green. The old fixture has white with grey, white with black, white with white and blue and green.

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi William,
    From what you have described, the old fixture does not have typical wiring, therefore more information would need to be obtained. The old fixture wiring may be verified using a voltage tester, or multimeter.

  7. Tom says:

    I am replacing an existing ceiling light with a new ceiling fan that has a light fixture. The ceiling light is controlled by a wall switch which has a black wire and white wire. The ceiling box has 2 black wires and 2 white wires, plus the ground wire. I connected the fan’s black and blue wires to the 2 black fixture wires with a wire nut. Then I connected the fan’s white wire to 2 fixture white wires. The fan and light operate, but the wall switch doesn’t affect them, so there is no on or off control, even though the same switch operated the old ceiling light. In other words, the fan runs continually. Any idea what I’m missing?

  8. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Tom,
    From what you have described one of the pairs of wires at the ceiling box is the circuit power, and the other is used for the wall switch.
    A voltage tester may be used to identify which of the two pairs of wires is the circuit power. The white switch wire should be colored with black electrical tape and then connected to the circuit power wire. The remaining black and white wire connect to the ceiling fan wires.

    Be sure to turn off the circuit breaker for this circuit before making any wiring connections, and of course for best results consult a local licensed electrician.
    Be Safe,