Hey all, I wanted to switch out an outdated ceiling fan but I came across some old Armored BX cable wires. I was in good shape until I tried to strip one of the wires to expose more good wire. While trying to strip it I actually pulled it off of something that it was connected to. The problem is I had no idea what it was connected to. There are a total of 7 wires up there. 3 of them look black and are all tied to together with old cloth electrician tape, 3 more are a white color,in which, 2 were for sure tied together and the other one was just hanging out there (possibly the one I tore down by accident because it is significantly shorter than the other 2), lastly there seems to be one wire that has a reddish cloth around it. The red wire is throwing me off because it is super short and I have no idea where to go with it.
I am going to go buy a neon circuit tester tomorrow to see which wires are hot and which are neutral but my question is. Do I tie all of the hot wires together and all of the neutral wires together and then connect them to the fan wires? And what do I do with the red wire? I read somewhere about pigtail connections and that I can use a wire to connect all the hots and another wire to connect all the neutrals and use the single wires to connect to the fan wires. However, I still don't know what to do with that one reddish color wire. Also, without the circuit tester is it safe to assume the black is the hot and the white is the neutral or test them to be safe.
Ok so I have now figured out that I can indeed pigtail all of hot and all of the neutral wires to make it easier to attach to the fan wires. Also, I read somewhere that red wire could have been for a dual switch which would make good sense because the fan is attached to a dual switch. However, the second switch is connected to the front porch light (the front porch was just added in the last 10 years). So if I don't plan on setting the light up as a dual switch can I just wire nut the red wire and throw some electrical tape over it?