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Old 08-21-2008, 05:52 AM   #1
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Ceilin fan issue


I replaced a ceiling fan in my kitchen and can't get it to work. There are 2 wall switches one for the fan the other for the light. The fan I removed worked fine. There is one black, one white and a bare ground wire in the ceiling box. Both the white and the black test hot? I didn't pay close attention to the connections on the old fan since I have done a number of fans, but I have never run into this situation. I have heard that there is a way to wire the fan and light using this type of confguration.
Any help is appreciated.


Last edited by diywic; 08-21-2008 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:24 AM   #2
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Ceilin fan issue


The only way to wire that fan is black to black/blue-white to white-and ground to ground.
When you say 2 switches, you mean across the room from each other?
How did you wire the fan?

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Old 08-21-2008, 06:27 AM   #3
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The only way to wire that fan is black to black/blue-white to white-and ground to ground.
When you say 2 switches, you mean across the room from each other?
How did you wire the fan?
It is one switch with 2 toggles.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:41 AM   #4
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Ceilin fan issue


Did the fan/ light operate independent of each other?
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:47 AM   #5
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Ceilin fan issue


One more thing. Open the switches and tell us how they are connected.
I'm betting a ground wire used as a netural before!
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:05 AM   #6
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Did the fan/ light operate independent of each other?
Yes they did.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:08 AM   #7
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One more thing. Open the switches and tell us how they are connected.
I'm betting a ground wire used as a netural before!
I believe that you are correct. So would the way to wire with this setup be: Black/Black; BlackWhite/White; White to Bare?
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:50 AM   #8
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Ceilin fan issue


NO ! In this case, the bare wire is never to be used as a neutral. It is a code violation and a major safety and fire hazard. Your options are to use one switch and have the fan and light both energize at the same time and then control them by the pull chains, or to run a new cable, 14/3 for a 15 amp circuit, 12/3 for a 20 amp, from the switch box to the ceiling box. Kill the power at the breaker or fuse panel first, then disconnect the switches and get that white wire off the switch, and the bare wire off the incoming neutral (white).
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:07 AM   #9
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Ceilin fan issue


He said he has two switches, one for the fan and one for the light.

OP: There are two switch legs (wires) that leave each switch to control the light and fan separately. You must identify which two wires feed the light and fan. Once you have identified the two switched wires you connect one of them to the blue (light) and the other to the black (fan). Connect the white like it was before and connect the bare wire to the other bare wires or green wires. Note: A white may be a switch leg!

Did you take notes on how you removed the connections or marked the wires? This is one point that bugs the crap out of me. If you take something loose and you have no idea what you are doing, you better mark the wires so you can reconnect it. This is why sometimes I do not even like to answer these questions. Maybe if you had to pay for an electrical service call for something as simple as this, you might think twice before disconnecting and not marking.

Sorry folks, I had to get that out.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:23 PM   #10
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Ceilin fan issue


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NO ! In this case, the bare wire is never to be used as a neutral. It is a code violation and a major safety and fire hazard.
nit picky but: Bare wire is never "supposed" to be used as neutral. Bare wire has occasionally been wrongly used as neutral. In my first house, I found all the fans were wired this way . What really ticked me off about it, the person who did the wiring was supposedly the previous owner's father, who was an ELECTRICIAN

Before you pull the old wires and get new wire, there are a few products out there that run the fan and light seperately from a single hot. The "switch" on the wall sends a signal (either wireless or through the existing wires) to another unit up in the fan electrical box, from there the power is split to run the fan and light seperate. Searfch the big-box stores website for "fan remote". You will see what I am talking about.

Last edited by daxinarian; 08-21-2008 at 12:25 PM. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:22 PM   #11
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Ceilin fan issue


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He said he has two switches, one for the fan and one for the light.

OP: There are two switch legs (wires) that leave each switch to control the light and fan separately. You must identify which two wires feed the light and fan. Once you have identified the two switched wires you connect one of them to the blue (light) and the other to the black (fan). Connect the white like it was before and connect the bare wire to the other bare wires or green wires. Note: A white may be a switch leg!

Did you take notes on how you removed the connections or marked the wires? This is one point that bugs the crap out of me. If you take something loose and you have no idea what you are doing, you better mark the wires so you can reconnect it. This is why sometimes I do not even like to answer these questions. Maybe if you had to pay for an electrical service call for something as simple as this, you might think twice before disconnecting and not marking.

Sorry folks, I had to get that out.
You need to read the OP. He has 2 switches, but only a black, white and bare in the box!
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:16 PM   #12
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Ceilin fan issue


Just install a single toggle and use the pull chains.

Or buy the wireless remote fan controller.
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:39 PM   #13
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Ceilin fan issue


This may sound silly but did you turn on the switches and then pull the pull chains to make sure they're on? My wife's nagging me so I didn't read the last couple posts, sorry if I missed something...
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by daxinarian View Post
In my first house, I found all the fans were wired this way . What really ticked me off about it, the person who did the wiring was supposedly the previous owner's father, who was an ELECTRICIAN.

You will consistantly find that those that break the rules the most often are the ones who know how to get around the rules because they know the most about them and still make things work, whether it be congressmen or us lowly electricians.

Those of us who work with electricity are the ones who are the most reckless with it.

I guess familiarity breeds contempt, or something like that.

I have been known to break a few rules in my younger days to be the hero (like a hunk of iron when a FD fan couldn't get past the startup curve without blowing the fuses)

But I am much better now, except for those damn arc flash suits that make me feel like Darth Vader.


Last edited by Silk; 08-22-2008 at 07:35 PM.
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