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Old 11-04-2009, 08:03 AM   #1
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Electrical ceiling box for ceiling fan

We want to put a ceiling fan in a bedroom that does not currently have any electrical box for a fixture. The room has a switch which controls an outlet on the wall. I have attic access to install the box (to support a fan), but I am looking for a diagram on how to wire the box, and place a second switch on the wall beside the original switch. I want the switch to be a dimmer switch for the ceiling fan light as well. The distance between the switch and fan location would be about 7'. Can I use the original switch as my power source? It seems like an easy project, can I do it myself or should I hire a licensed electrician? If I do it myself, do I need it to be inspected?




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Old 11-04-2009, 08:17 AM   #2
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It depends on how the orginal switch is wired. If power comes into the first switch, then this will be easy to do.
If the power come from the receptcale first, then you may have a switch leg.
Tell us what wires are in the switchbox and we can go from there.


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Old 11-04-2009, 10:00 AM   #3
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Your project is fairly simple but as for doing yourself vs hiring an electrician, depends on your confidence in yourself - which sounds to me like you are much capable.

First thing is to know what you want in regards to controlling the fan, keeping the existing switch that controls the outlet. JBFAN is correct. determining how the wall switch is wired will determine if you may use that power source for your fan.

Having attic access is a plus! Determine where you want your ceiling fan box, cut the hole, and I suggest using a fan brace w/box (Home Depot or Lowes sells them for somewhere around $15). Easy to use and install.

Something to consider with the dimmer controlling the lights - There are diff types of dimmers, combination dimmers that allow you to controll light and fan - all in one, or single dimmers..but you would need a seperate switch, (aside from the dimmer for the light) to control the fan. It is not recommended to wire the fan (motor) to a light dimmer as it may shorten the lifespan of the motor - that is why they sell fan dimmers or speed control, what ever you want to call them.

As far as wiring, if you have power to your light switch, then easy enough to run 14/3 romex from your light switch box to your ceiling fan box. At the switch, depending on what type of dimmer or configuration of switches you chose, you may need a 2 gang or 3 gang Old Work box to replace the original box you currently have.

Turn the power off to the circuit, take apart the light switch box, remove switch, remove box from wall. I have been able to remove them by prying a screwdriver, pry bar between the box and wall stud, and I have had to take a screw driver and hammer to break apart the box to get it to come out.

Measure for your new box and cut the hole larger accordingly. Fish new wires for the fan (start in attic where fan box is, may have to drill a hole in top sill to push wires down into cavity between wall studs where switch is, but having the existing wall switch box out, will allow light into that area, so when your done drilling, you should be able to look down thru the hole and see your opening in the wall where the new switch box will go.

Your fan should have 4 wires coming from it, Black, Blue, White, and Green. (Black - Fan, Blue - Lights, White - Neutral, Green - Ground).

Your 14/3 romex wire will have 4 wires, Black, Red, White, bare copper.

Feed your 14/3 down the hole, climb out of the attic, and now you can easily grab the new wire (through the larger cut hole in wall) and bring it into the new switch box along with the original wiring from the existing switch. Fit the new box into larger hole..and rewire original switch (controlling outlet) wire jumpers to switch(es) for fan.
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:57 AM   #4
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Your wall switch is wired one of these ways

Review of Switched Outlet Wiring (Power Enters at the Outlet)

Rewire a Switch to Control an Overhead Fixture

I was trying to post the pict (attached thumbnail) of one example, but the others posted too, sorry for the confusion, but the diagram you need is 4th column, 6th row - 3 gang box
Attached Images

Last edited by fltdek; 11-04-2009 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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In my office I have a nifty fan control switch. It has two sliders labled "fan" and "light." It takes a 14/3 wire. You run the power to the fan, and the three wires from the fan to the switch. The "light" slider dims the light, and the "fan" slider controls the fan speed. I got it at Home Depot for about $25.

We have a different kind of switch in our kitchen. It has a slider for the fan speed and a small rocker switch for the light (a fluorescent).

Both fit into a single gang box.
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