Dear Mr. Electrician: Where can I find ceiling fan wiring diagrams?
Answer: Below are my own ceiling fan wiring diagrams with two-switch diagrams further down. In addition I have provided links to some ceiling fan manufacturers for replacement parts and internal ceiling fan wiring diagrams. NOTE: Some links below go to applicable products on Amazon or EBay.
The ceiling fan wiring diagram at the top of this blog post depicts a common wiring method that was used during the construction of houses long ago. In this ceiling fan wiring diagram the wall switch controls the light on the ceiling fan and the pull chain switch on the fan controls the fan motor independently of the wall switch.
If you want to change the wiring on a switched outlet to control a ceiling fan, go to my post here that has photos showing the changing of a switched outlet to hot in order to wire a ceiling fan with two wall switches. Another post here depicts switched outlet wiring being changed for a ceiling fan using metal switch boxes.
It is not unusual to see a white wire being used as the hot or LINE wire on a switch. However it is required that the white wire be re-identified with another color other than white, gray, or green. I have rolls of different colors of electrical tape that I use for re-identification. Some electricians will use a permanent ink marker type pen to change the color of a wire.
With the new construction of a home the National Electrical Code requires that a neutral conductor be installed at many wall switch electrical box locations. Having the neutral gives you the option of using an electronic device instead of a standard wall switch to control your ceiling fan and light. Read article 404.2(C) where the neutral is called the “Grounded Circuit Conductor”.
I have never seen wiring diagrams for a ceiling fan attached or printed on the fan housing or motor. Most ceiling fan internal wiring diagrams are included with the installation instructions. My post that depicts electric motor wiring diagrams may be helpful if you are working on a fan motor. Ceiling fans commonly have shaded pole motors.
I recommend that you read the manufacturer’s installation instructions for your ceiling fan before you buy the fan. They are usually available on the manufacturer’s website. Some ceiling fan manufacturer links are at the bottom of this post.
The following ceiling fan wiring diagrams for wall switches can be used for new construction and old work remodeling and renovation.
CEILING FAN WIRING DIAGRAMS
The above ceiling fan wiring diagram depicts the power going into the switch electrical box first and then a switched hot and a neutral go up to the ceiling electrical box on a two conductor cable. With this method the fan and light are both controlled by the wall switch. However the wall switch can be left on and the fan and light can be controlled separately using the pull chain switches on the fan.
A remote control unit can be added to this ceiling fan. The wall switch would just need to be kept in the on position.
If you don’t want a remote control, but would prefer to have all fan control options at the wall switch location, then you should search for a ceiling fan with a wall control that will operate over the existing wiring. In some cases it is just a remote control that fits in the wall like a regular wall switch. Casablanca Fan Company Intellitouch models have this feature.
Above is shown the method that would be used to have a neutral conductor at the switch box from the power in the ceiling box. The wall switch controls the light on the ceiling fan and the pull chain switch controls the fan motor independently of the wall switch.
By having the hot and neutral in the switch box it is possible to tap into the power there for other things such as an electrical outlet. The above diagram depicts the wall switch controlling the light, and the fan motor is controlled independently of the wall switch using the pull chain switch on the fan.
The electrical outlet is on at all times and is not controlled by the wall switch.
A three conductor cable is necessary to bring the LINE and the Neutral along with the LOAD conductor up to the ceiling box. The wiring diagram above depicts the connections for the light being controlled by the wall switch. The fan motor is controlled by the built-in pull chain switch independently of the wall switch.
The electrical outlets depicted above and below are both on at all times and are not controlled by the wall switch.
A 2 1/8″ deep ceiling fan box must be used for the above ceiling fan installation. There are too many wires for a standard 1 1/2″ deep electrical box. The wall switch above only operates the light on the fan. The built-in pull chain switch operates the fan motor.
FAN WIRING DIAGRAMS FOR TWO SWITCHES
If using the diagram above, you will need a deep ceiling fan rated box to handle all of the wires. The National Electrical Code requires 2 cubic inches inside the electrical box for each #14 conductor. Read article 314 in the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70). The wiring diagram above depicts the light on the fan controlled by a wall switch. The fan motor is controlled by the other wall switch.
Alternatively a dimmer can be installed for the light and a fan speed control can be installed to control the speed of the fan from the wall.
My blog post here depicts the installation of two switches for a fan and light using existing wiring.
The switch boxes will need to be deep enough to accommodate all of the wires. Each switch counts as two wires.
If you ae planning to wire a house or an addition, any electrical box that you install in the ceiling must be rated for ceiling fan support if it is in a location that a ceiling fan could possibly be installed, whether you plan to or not. Read article 314.27(C) in the National Electrical Code for the exact requirements for your installation.
To wire your ceiling fan so that it is controlled from more than one wall switch location, visit my post with 3-way switch wiring diagrams.
A remote control receiver can be wired onto most ceiling fans. Read the remote control manufacturer’s instructions before purchasing the remote control. Although remote controls for ceiling fans are very convenient, they were also the reason for most of the calls that I received from clients about fans that stopped working. Either the fan remote control went bad, or the radio connection between transmitter and receiver was broken.
The transmitter/receiver broken connection is usually easy to correct, but every manufacturer seems to have a different method of doing it. Sometimes you need to shut the power off to the circuit then turn it back on and hold a button down on the transmitter for several seconds to restore the connection. Best to check with the remote control manufacturer.
I like the idea of having the remote control at the switch location such as with the Lutron Caseta wireless ceiling fan control. It is easier to change a bad switch than it is to replace the receiver mounted inside of the ceiling fan canopy.
My blog post with light switch wiring diagrams may also be useful to you.
If you currently have a switch controlled wall outlet and would like to install a ceiling fan using that switch, click here to see my post for details.
CEILING FAN WIRING DIAGRAMS FOR REPAIR
As with many items in your home, ceiling fan replacement parts are available to repair your ceiling fan. It is important to know the manufacturer’s name, the model number, and the name of the ceiling fan. Sometimes the serial number is needed as well.
Most ceiling fans have a nameplate on top of the motor, consequently a stepladder would be needed to see it.
A flush mount fan would have to have its cowling dropped in order to see the fan motor name plate. The cowling is held in place by a few screws around the perimeter. However the fan blades may prevent the cowling from coming down enough so that you can see the fan motor top. With the cowling down you will be able to see the ceiling fan wiring as it connects to the house electrical circuit.
Remove the fan blades with a large flathead screwdriver in order to get the cowling down. Remove the blades where the bracket attaches to the motor. Do not remove the blade from the metal bracket. Sometimes only a Philips screwdriver will work.
Some ceiling fan blades are held in place with spring clips. Removal of the ceiling fan blade is just a matter of releasing the clip and pulling or pushing the fan blade.
I found that the greatest challenge with ceiling fan repair is the replacement of the pull chain type speed control switch that is built into the ceiling fan. The switch itself is easy enough to swap out, but the wiring connections are tricky.
Always label the wires before removing them from the old pull chain speed switch. You may need a magnifying glass to read the terminal names or numbers on the old switch.
Click here for Hunter and Casablanca Ceiling Fan replacement parts, wiring diagrams, and manuals.
Click for Harbor Breeze Ceiling Fan parts and accessories.
Emerson Ceiling Fan replacement parts are available here.
Some parts and Accessories for Hampton Bay Ceiling Fans here.
Progress Lighting Ceiling Fan manuals with wiring diagrams.