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Old 06-05-2011, 09:19 PM   #1
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how to turn ceiling light into a fan w/ ceiling light

so in my first foray of actually wiring a full circuit I've found the full difficulty of wiring ceiling fans w/ lights. Originally a new outside fan was just going to run straight to a sub-panel that is nearby. I found out that code requires a switch, so I'll be running it to a switch w/ the 3 conductor cable going to switch and 2 conductor going back to the panel.

This raised the problem of the rest of my house. I'd like to turn the ceiling lights into fans with light fixtures so I can have a breeze and save a bit of money by not having to have the AC on as much. Problem is I'm sure all the fixtures are wired as 2 conductor. so 1) is it legit to just tie together the 2 conductors on the fan side so I can just use the 2 conductor? and 2) are there any other unmentioned problems with this?

Mainly I'm trying to avoid other surprises, I was hoping this would be a nice easy set of projects to help cut down the need to AC, but I really don't feel like ripping up a lot of the ceiling just to run 3 conductor.

Thanks for the help
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:37 PM   #2
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For one, you need to make sure the electrical box that the light is attached to can handle the weight and stress from a fan. Fan electrical boxes can handle more weight and typically have a cross brace as opposed to the box just being nailed in.

To answer your question, yes. The new fan will have 3 wires. White, black and typically red. They normally are labeled. The black is normally fan, the red is normally fan light, and the white is your neutral. To wire the fan, you can simply put a wire nut connecting the fan light (red), fan (black) and the black wire that was hooked up to your existing light fixture. The white wire for the fan is then connected to the white wire that was previously connected to the light.

With the fan wired this way, the switch turns on electricity to the fan and the light on the fan. To adjust the speed of the fan, you pull the chord. To turn on and off the light, you pull the chord or flip the switch assuming that the pull chord is already in the on position.

If it were me, I would wire in a remote control. These typically come with many fans today. The black provides the power to the remote. The remote is then wired to the light and fan. You would leave the switch on and use the remote. Normally, there are pretty good pictures for this in the manual that comes with the fan.

Last edited by AfterDinner; 06-05-2011 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:58 PM   #3
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I concur. Having a remote for the fan when wired to a 2 wire circuit is an excellent idea.
As mentioned, the important item is that the box the fan mounts to be rated for a fan and properly secured.

Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:53 PM   #4
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Is it a Code violation to use an existing 2-wire source (as opposed to running 3-wire cable) at the light for a ceiling fan install, is the question I think he's asking.
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:04 AM   #5
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It is not a code violation.
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