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Tripping Breaker for a Ceiling Fan and Light

Billy in Virginia asks: I have a problem with a light circuit where I removed an old light fixture and hung a ceiling fan and wired it into the existing setup then powered the circuit and hit the wall switch to check functions and the breaker tripped.


Ceiling Fan Wiring
Electrical Question: I removed an old light fixture and hung a ceiling fan and wired it into the existing setup then powered the circuit and hit the wall switch to check functions and the breaker tripped.

I have a problem circuit that was wired dirty by the builder. I am confident that the idea was to wire 5 lights in parallel to operate independently with their own switch and as such they did. The problem came up when I decided to replace the mid 70’s dished square ceiling light in the kitchen with a lighted ceiling fan. I removed the original light and found five white and five black and grounds plus the ones from the ceiling light in the box for that light. All white is twisted into a red wire nut and all black matched and the grounds are tied into the box shell.

After I removed the old light fixture I hung the ceiling fan body from its hook to the box and wired it into the existing setup then powered the circuit and hit the wall switch to check functions and the breaker tripped. I’ve been through this 5 times, each time checking how I wired it up, replacing the wall switch, testing with a separate light and still no luck. I know that how this was originally wired up was legal at the time though it was a convenient short cut to save time and money, it’s causing me a headache trying to figure it out.

This electrical wiring question came from Billy, a Homeowner in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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

How to Fix a Tripping Breaker for a Ceiling Fan and Light

Application: Tripping Breaker Problem for a Ceiling Fan Light.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or Certified Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source to the Ceiling Fan Light, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials for the Ceiling Fan Light should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A permit and inspections may also be required.

See more about Home Wiring for Virginia

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