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Old 03-30-2013, 04:58 PM   #1
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Dilemma with Switch & Ceiling Fan


I hope I can explain this properly.

I just moved into an old home with previous owners. I am trying to install a ceiling fan on the patio but the wiring is odd to me and causing a problem.

There is a 2-gang box with two light switches that are "supposed" to control the ceiling fan on the patio, I guess. I took down the old ceiling fan which did not work (it was old). The wiring when I removed it was 2 3-wire (black, white, bare) leading to the fan. 3 blacks joined together, 3 whites joined together, & 3 ground joined together. When I removed the wire nuts, I noticed that one set was still completely insulated, meaning the wires hadn't been stripped. I thought that was odd.

Then I went to the 2-gang light switch and removed the face plate. The switches were not connected to the wires at all. There were 2 3-wire leading to the box but they were simply joined together (black to black, etc)

Now mind you, this circuit also powers my computers in the office somehow.

I flipped the breaker on and noticed that one of the wires at the light switch was hot and one was not. Therefore, I completely ignored one of the light switches (remember there are 2 there for some reason) and connected the two blacks to the other light switch. I joined the neutrals together and the grounds together, then to the one switch.

On the patio, I connected the ceiling fan to the wire that was hot and capped off the other wire that was still completely insulated.

I flipped the breaker on and turned on the light switch. The ceiling fan worked and the computers worked. When I flipped the light switch off, the ceiling fan turned off but so did the computers in the office. That's not what I want. I want the computers to run independently of the patio fan.

Now, I could join everything back to the way it was before and just use the ceiling fan pull chain but the kids broke that and I wired the fan to just run with power. I'm trying to avoid buying a new fan. Any suggestions?

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Old 03-30-2013, 07:26 PM   #2
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Dilemma with Switch & Ceiling Fan


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Originally Posted by alberta86 View Post
I hope I can explain this properly.

I just moved into an old home with previous owners. I am trying to install a ceiling fan on the patio but the wiring is odd to me and causing a problem.

There is a 2-gang box with two light switches that are "supposed" to control the ceiling fan on the patio, I guess. I took down the old ceiling fan which did not work (it was old). The wiring when I removed it was 2 3-wire (black, white, bare) leading to the fan. 3 blacks joined together, 3 whites joined together, & 3 ground joined together. When I removed the wire nuts, I noticed that one set was still completely insulated, meaning the wires hadn't been stripped. I thought that was odd.

Then I went to the 2-gang light switch and removed the face plate. The switches were not connected to the wires at all. There were 2 3-wire leading to the box but they were simply joined together (black to black, etc)

Now mind you, this circuit also powers my computers in the office somehow.

I flipped the breaker on and noticed that one of the wires at the light switch was hot and one was not. Therefore, I completely ignored one of the light switches (remember there are 2 there for some reason) and connected the two blacks to the other light switch. I joined the neutrals together and the grounds together, then to the one switch.

On the patio, I connected the ceiling fan to the wire that was hot and capped off the other wire that was still completely insulated.

I flipped the breaker on and turned on the light switch. The ceiling fan worked and the computers worked. When I flipped the light switch off, the ceiling fan turned off but so did the computers in the office. That's not what I want. I want the computers to run independently of the patio fan.

Now, I could join everything back to the way it was before and just use the ceiling fan pull chain but the kids broke that and I wired the fan to just run with power. I'm trying to avoid buying a new fan. Any suggestions?

Fix the switch in the Fan .....

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Old 03-30-2013, 08:01 PM   #3
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Dilemma with Switch & Ceiling Fan


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Fix the switch in the Fan .....
OK. Thanks
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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Dilemma with Switch & Ceiling Fan


If you have 2 switches for one fan, it usually means there was one to control the fan, and one to control the light for that fan
They usually work independantly - which is why no one bothered to strip the wires - because there was no light required for that fan.

What is sounds like is that your power conductor, is directly connected to the switch.
And that flows through your fan and ends at the fan, but your office is sharing that same switch.

If Im understanding correctly, the solution is pretty simple.
You need to change the wiring so that the black wire that gives power to the fan switch, isnt attached to the normally opened side of that switch
and can continue to your offices recepticle uninterupted.

It could also be that you have a split powered receptacle, where someone broke the tab that powers both receptacles to yor office, and only one is constantly hot, and the other is powered off and on by the switch.
Before you start rewiring, try this.

Take your computers power cable out of the recepticle it is currently plugged into, and plug it into the other.
If its currently plugged in the bottom of that receptacle, then plug it to the top.
If it solves your problem, you have a split powered receptacle


Hope it helps

Last edited by jratftcc; 03-31-2013 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:20 PM   #5
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Dilemma with Switch & Ceiling Fan


Thanks for your help jratftcc.

It didn't solve my problem. I actually have two computers in the office plugged into different outlets. They both turn off. Sorry for not mentioning that before.

I'm not sure why there are two light switches for the fan since it's obvious that one switch doesn't do anything. The entire house is wired strange in this type of manner.
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