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Old 05-04-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


I am replacing the fan in one of our guest bedrooms and thought it would also be a good time to replace the switch. Currently there is one switch to turn the fan and light on/off.

I'd like to put the fan and light on two separate switches. It appears that 12/3 or 14/3 is already in place (white, black and red/pink wires in switch enclosure w/ bare copper for ground). I'd also like to make the light dimmable and the fan speed adjustable from these switches. Could anyone recommend a good switch(es) to accomplish this?

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Old 05-04-2012, 11:24 AM   #2
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


Single gang or two gang switch box?

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Old 05-04-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


Currently it's a single gang box. I'm open to either as a replacement.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:04 PM   #4
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


One of these should work

http://www.legrand.us/search.aspx?q=...24484967719764
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:07 PM   #5
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


How are the wires currently connected? Was the red or black just capped in the box? Even with three wires it might not be possible. Is there two switches controlling this fixture? That is one reason for three wires.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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How are the wires currently connected? Was the red or black just capped in the box? Even with three wires it might not be possible. Is there two switches controlling this fixture? That is one reason for three wires.
Does this help? Just one switch controls this fan/light.

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Old 05-04-2012, 02:42 PM   #7
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


that's a three-way switch, which means there's another switch somewhere or one that has been removed at one point. I'd do some checking before going further.

I'm going to guess at the way it's been wired that it wasn't someone who knew what they were doing that wired it. backstab used at one pole, wire wrapped the wrong way on another pole. The one that can't be seen in the pic looks like it may be right though.
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Last edited by andrew79; 05-04-2012 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:47 PM   #8
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that's a three-way switch, which means there's another switch somewhere or one that has been removed at one point. I'd do some checking before going further.
There's only this one switch that controls the fan/light currently installed. There are no other switches in this room or that control this fan/light. These aren't the original switches to the house (originals were more of an almond color). Could it be that the previous owner replaced the switch with the wrong one?

Newb question, but how do you tell if it's a three-way switch?
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #9
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


three terminal screws, two on one side one on the other, one usually a darker color than the rest to identify it as the common. Also what's the deal with the two tone wire, is it white or black?

if you haven't looked in the light/fan box i would suggest doing it. You'll have to take it down to do the two switch thing anyways. You can get single gang double dimmers i think these days at home depot if you don't want to put in a second box.
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Last edited by andrew79; 05-04-2012 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
three terminal screws, two on one side one on the other, one usually a darker color than the rest to identify it as the common. Also what's the deal with the two tone wire, is it white or black?

if you haven't looked in the light/fan box i would suggest doing it. You'll have to take it down to do the two switch thing anyways. You can get single gang double dimmers i think these days at home depot if you don't want to put in a second box.
I don't remember there being a third terminal screw present. I can see where you think that though from the angle of the picture. This switch has both terminal screws on the side and what looks like "push-lock" terminals on the back. The two black wires (one has what looks to be drywall compound or paint on it) enter into the "push-lock terminals while the red is on the terminal screw.

I will be installing a new fan so I'll be in the ceiling box tomorrow. Although pricey, I'm leaning towards this switch from the link posted by Jim Port above:



Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:17 PM   #11
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


Looks like a single pole. Both black and red wires are switched. The single black is the power feed plugged into the back stab. So far it looks like this could work for you. Use the single black wire to feed two switches and the red and black as two switched wires to the fan.
There should also be two white wires connected in the back of the box.

In the end it will look something like this.

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Last edited by joed; 05-04-2012 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:32 PM   #12
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There should also be two white wires connected in the back of the box.
There are.

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In the end it will look something like this.


That's what I hoped I'd be able to do. Any recommendations on good adjustable/dimmable switches?
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:25 PM   #13
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


No switch suggestions except to make sure it is compatible with your fan. Also if you intend to dim the lights, make sure it is compatible with CFLs if you intend to use them in the fixture.
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:10 AM   #14
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
that's a three-way switch, which means there's another switch somewhere or one that has been removed at one point. I'd do some checking before going further.

I'm going to guess at the way it's been wired that it wasn't someone who knew what they were doing that wired it. backstab used at one pole, wire wrapped the wrong way on another pole. The one that can't be seen in the pic looks like it may be right though.
I have see that type of switch before and that is single pole and it kinda pretty common to backstabbed and use the screw at the same time.

And it is common for quite few home in USA side to be wired like that and I have done that all the time however the only differnce is that I normally use the two gang box for this purpose but there are few spots that I end up use single gang box due the structure layout where I can not able use the normal two gang box at all.

And it typical for me to do in bedroom or any other room which they will put a ceiling fan in there I run XX-3 NM or simauir to it. ( easy to do it when everything is open ) and have proper ceiling fan rated junction box installed even thru some case they will add a fan later so it will be ready for them.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:17 AM   #15
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Adjustable Fan/Light Switch


i haven't used a switch with a backstab in so long i didn't even think about it. We always use switches with a screw down compression connection these days.

I like the fact you plan for the future marc. The cost of a 14/3 or 12/3 is significantly less than the cost of tearing open a wall to get a new wire in later.

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