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Old 07-28-2010, 12:58 AM   #1
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White to black?


I probably don't have enough information to get an accurate answer but; there is a two-gang switch box in my bedroom. In the box, there is a rotary click fan switch to control the speed of a ceiling fan. The ceiling fan has no light kit. The other switch in the two-gang box controls a switched outlet. So, even if the ceiling fan had a light kit, there is only one existing wall switch for the unit (fan speed only).

I removed the ceiling fan and found two cable-ends in the box. The black of one cable is attached to the white of the other.

Does this mean power is coming from the switch to the fan and then continuing to some other load? Ideally, I'd like to remove the two gang box and replace it with a three-gang so I can have separate switches for the outlet, ceiling fan and ceiling fan-light.

TIA.

Tipsy

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Old 07-28-2010, 01:36 AM   #2
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White to black?


What is most likely is that the white connected to the black is a switched hot.

Your power likely goes to the fixture first, and then to the switch. So your incoming power black wire gets connected to the white wire going to the switch.

You would likely have to replace the wire going from the ceiling box to the switch with a 3 wire (black, red & white (& green)). If you are wanting to go ahead and do that, ask questions here, people will want to help.

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Old 07-28-2010, 07:47 AM   #3
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White to black?


You have one cable with two wires going down to the switch. In the U.S. premade cables come with black and white. The black is for the hot coming back from the switch to the fan or light. Use the other wire for the hot feed down.

To have a third switch to control fan and light separately, you need another hot wire coming back to the fan box for a total of three wires. (The bare or green ground wire is not eligible.) It may be expedient to string a new 2 conductor cable without removing the existing cable and without altering the first switch. New cables fished through the walls can hang loose within.

It appears as if the second switch that controls an outlet is connected to a different circuit from the circuit that supplies the fan. This is not improper, and adding the needed wiring and third switch for a fan light does not have to interfere with this second switch.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-28-2010 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:35 AM   #4
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White to black?


They make stacked switches and specialty fan switches with two controls, this way you could fit both the fan and light control into 1 gang. If you did this, you wouldn't have to upgrade the box. Getting another conductor up to the ceiling box might not be an easier task. Have you considered a fan remote? The nice thing about the way your ceiling box is wired is that you have both constant hot and switched hot up there. Meaning you can use the switch on the wall to turn the light on and use a remote to turn the fan on, and since you have constant hot up there, you can turn the fan on even when the light switch is off.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:22 AM   #5
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White to black?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Proby View Post
They make stacked switches and specialty fan switches with two controls, this way you could fit both the fan and light control into 1 gang. If you did this, you wouldn't have to upgrade the box.
Yes, we had a specialty fan switch in the living room but we removed the wall where the switches were mounted and relocated them to another wall. When we did this, we installed a larger wall box to separate the fan and light switches. I know this is simply personal preference...but I'm not a big "fan" (pun intended) of combined light and fan switches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Proby View Post
Getting another conductor up to the ceiling box might not be an easier task. Have you considered a fan remote? The nice thing about the way your ceiling box is wired is that you have both constant hot and switched hot up there. Meaning you can use the switch on the wall to turn the light on and use a remote to turn the fan on, and since you have constant hot up there, you can turn the fan on even when the light switch is off.
I hadn't thought about using a remote fan switch. This might very well be the easiest solution because, as you indicate, I'd much prefer to utilize the existing wall switch to control the ceiling light vs. the fan.

I'd considered replacing the existing line to the switch with a run of 12/3 but I don't know if it would be simple to use the existing wire as a fish. I'm assuming it's original and is stapled to the studs. If I go this route, it might be easier to bring and additional run of 12/2 down to the box as suggested by AllanJ.

Thanks very much!

Tipsy
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