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Old 05-04-2008, 12:09 AM   #1
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Ceiling fan wiring


A few newbie questions related to a ceiling fan wiring project in my house, for you electro gods:

1) I just ran 14-3 gauge wire to a new fan-rated ceiling box. Then a moment of panic when I read online that you shouldn't connect 14 gauge wire to 12 gauge wire. Is there an easy way to tell what gauge I've got in my walls and is it true you can't connect 12 to 14 gauge wiring?

2) I had planned on pulling power to my ceiling fan by connecting it to a wall dimmer switch. Any problem with this?

3) Do I cap the ground wire from my new cable run to ceiling fan ground wire, just as I do for the black, white and red/blue wires? There's also a ground wire nut on the fan box I installed in the ceiling.

Thanks!

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Old 05-04-2008, 07:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by beezlebub03 View Post
1) I just ran 14-3 gauge wire to a new fan-rated ceiling box. Then a moment of panic when I read online that you shouldn't connect 14 gauge wire to 12 gauge wire. Is there an easy way to tell what gauge I've got in my walls and is it true you can't connect 12 to 14 gauge wiring?

2) I had planned on pulling power to my ceiling fan by connecting it to a wall dimmer switch. Any problem with this?

3) Do I cap the ground wire from my new cable run to ceiling fan ground wire, just as I do for the black, white and red/blue wires? There's also a ground wire nut on the fan box I installed in the ceiling.

Thanks!
1. If the number 14 you installed is smaller in diameter when striped than what you connected it to than you have #12 in the walls. The best fix would be to repull #12. If not, #14 is permissable provided it is protected with a 15 amp. breaker. Reidentify it in you panel so someone down the road doesn't move it to a 20.

2. Motor loads don't usually like dimmers, humming and shortened motor life are common. Use the pull chain to adjust your fan speed. A remote kit might also be available for your fan.

3. Hit the Ground nut with the bare or green wire. Tie them all together, I usually cap them due to vibration.

Is your fan box rated for a ceiling fan? If not, it needs to be.

Hope this helps.

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Old 05-04-2008, 08:14 AM   #3
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Ceiling fan wiring


What size is the breaker for the circuit you are working on?
If it is 20 amp then you must use #12 wire.
If it is 15 amp then you can use #14 or #12 wire.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:33 AM   #4
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Ceiling fan wiring


Thanks for the knowledge ElectricianJeff and Joed. I just checked - I've got a 20 am breaker for the circuit in question so I guess I'll repull 12-3 wire. No big deal.

ElectricianJeff - to clarify, I wasn't planning to use the existing dimmer switch to control the ceiling fan. I'm just looking for power sources to tap into in the room. My ceiling fan-light combo came with a switch/light dimmer that uses a three-wire configuration. And yes, my ceiling box is most definitely fan rated and, as of yesterday, firmly attached to a joist.

You guys have no idea how much this helps. Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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Ceiling fan wiring


ugh - I just bought 12-3 gauge wire for my ceiling fan and it is clearly larger than the wire in the wall. the wire in the wall looks like #14. the breaker in the circuit box that this stuff connects to is identified as 20, rather than 15.

to be clear, this set up has probably been like this for, oh, at least 15 years - long before i moved in. the previous owner did the remodel and he did some other head scratching stuff around the so i wouldn't be surprised if he botched this.

question is: what do i do? install all #14 wire and change the breaker to 15 amps?
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:46 PM   #6
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Ceiling fan wiring


"question is: what do i do? install all #14 wire and change the breaker to 15 amps?"

That may be the best answer, otherwise you need to track everything down to make sure it is #12.

As a side note, newer romex is smaller than the older stuff. The only way to know for sure what size it is, is to find the numbers on the cable.
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Last edited by jbfan; 05-04-2008 at 09:53 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-04-2008, 06:34 PM   #7
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Ceiling fan wiring


If any of the the other cable on the circuit is #14 then the breaker must be changed to 15 amp. You can use the #12 on the 15 amp circuit if you wish.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:08 AM   #8
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Ceiling fan wiring


My eyes must have been playing tricks on me. When I took a closer look at the wiring on my wall switch (on this 20 amp circuit) and compared it side-by-side with some 12 and 14 gauge wiring I had just bought, the wiring was clearly 12 gauge. Thanks for your responses. Project completed.
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:34 AM   #9
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Ceiling fan wiring


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Originally Posted by beezlebub03 View Post
My eyes must have been playing tricks on me. When I took a closer look at the wiring on my wall switch (on this 20 amp circuit) and compared it side-by-side with some 12 and 14 gauge wiring I had just bought, the wiring was clearly 12 gauge. Thanks for your responses. Project completed.
If you have any doubts at all about wire size for the entire run then get a 15 amp breaker (cheap insurance) for this circut. Everything should work just fine.

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