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Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Wire a Ceiling Fan in an Older Home

I am installing a ceiling fan in an old home where there are three wires in the box, how should I connect the wires? How to Connect the Wires for a Ceiling Fan in an Older Home: The Process for Identifying Wires for a Ceiling Fan.

Connecting Old Electrical Wires to a Ceiling Fan
Electrical Question #1 I am installing a ceiling fan in an old home where there are three wires in the box, how should I connect the wires?

I live in a very old house, about 100 years old, and I am trying to replace a light fixture with a ceiling fan. I’ve followed the necessary steps by getting the mounting bracket in place, installing the light box, pulling through the wires, and now I stop to tell you that three different wires are coming together at this juncture and this throws me off since I have no idea where these wires are leading to. I proceed with the wiring as following the instructions of the ceiling fan; connect everything together and flipped the switch, and then a buzzing sound came from the light switch. I turned off the power to the room and now the ceiling lights in four rooms, all upstairs, do not work, but the outlets work fine. I’ve put the wires back to their original messed up configuration and still nothing works.

This old home electric wiring question came from: Chuck, in Brownville, Maine.

Electrical Question #2

This electrical wiring question came from Martha, a Handywoman in Kissimmee, Florida.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring questions.

Wiring a Ceiling Fan in an Older Home

How to Connect the Wires Ceiling Fan in an Older Home

Example: The Process for Identifying Wires for a Ceiling Fan

What to do with a Spare Wire

There are several reasons why there may be a spare wire, including the following:

More about Wiring Ceiling Fans


Additional Resources

Using Electrical Testers


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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, 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.

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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