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Old 10-15-2014, 06:46 PM   #1
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Why a dimmer switch on a ceiling fan?






This is in my kitchen. The light switch on the left works a ceiling light directly above the switch. About 20ft over, there is a ceiling fan with lights on it.

The light switch on right turns the lights on to the ceiling fan. Only the lights.

The dimmer switch controls the actual fan, not the lights. If you turn the dimmer on just past the "click" the fan turns on and appears to work fine. If you turn the dimmer all of the way up, the fan continues to work, but makes an annoying humming sound similar to what a bad ballast in a florescent light sounds like. Turning the dimmer low or high does not change the speed of the fan.

What is the reason for the dimmer switch? Why was it used instead of a regular switch like the ones that control the lights? How difficult is it to swap out the dimmer for a regular light switch?
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:01 PM   #2
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The dimmer was likely installed to control the fan speed. I can't explain why it doesn't control it.
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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Dimmers are not designed to control fan motors. Ceiling fan speed controls are required for ceiling fan motors. The dimmer can be replaced with a regular switch.

Last edited by brric; 10-15-2014 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:06 PM   #4
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Probably not a dimmer but a fan rheostat. Not hard to swap with a switch or fan speed control.


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Old 10-15-2014, 08:11 PM   #5
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Why a dimmer switch on a ceiling fan?-imageuploadedbydiychatroom.com1413421889.712001.jpg


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Old 10-16-2014, 03:13 AM   #6
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The dimer that should be controling the fan motor
is either faulty or the wrong type of dimer.
Replace it with a new proper fan speed control.
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:27 AM   #7
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IT depends if its a dimmer or one specifically designed for motors. A regular dimmer wont work, however it can dim the incandescent bulbs.

Do you want the bulbs dimmed? Do you want to control the fan speed?
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:49 AM   #8
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We have one of those old fan rheostats controlling the fan at our cabin. They look exactly the same as the old rotory dimmers, (however they are not interchangeable).

Our fan works the same way. The rheostat operates and controls the speed of the fan just fine. The side effect however at the lower speeds is an annoying hum sound.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:26 AM   #9
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years ago, the fans could be controlled with a basic dimmer. i did it that way, and it worked great. but now, they make the fans a lot more complicated, probably so they will break more often. and a regular dimmer will not work.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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Getting the hum is real common when using a variable speed control on a modern fan.
Try using a 3 or 4 speed control.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:13 AM   #11
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Thanks for the information.
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:52 AM   #12
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I would be willing to bet that at one time the dimmer was meant for the light and the wall switch was for the fan. I would change the wires on the fan to make the dimmer control the light and the switch to control the fan and use the pull chain control the fan speed
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