Dear Mr. Electrician: I want to control my ceiling fan and light separately with two wall switches.
Answer: To control the ceiling fan and light separately with two wall switches, a three conductor cable needs to be installed from the switch location to the ceiling fan location. NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on Amazon or EBay.
In the above switch box the white wire is usually the hot wire or the LINE and the black wire is the LOAD. When the wiring is checked at the outlet, a white wire is seen connected to the hot black wires. This is normal, however the white wire should have been re-identified with a different color.
An electrical outlet that is controlled by a wall switch
I changed the wiring connections so that the outlet was hot at all times and the switch box now had a hot and a neutral. My post about converting a switched outlet to hot will be very helpful to you.
The blue arrow points to a hole that was drilled into the top plate of the wall so that a cable could be fished down to the switches. The green arrow indicates where the ceiling drywall meets the top plate of the wall.
A fiberglass wire pulling rod was used to pull the 14/3 Romex cable across the attic.
The 14/3 Type NM-B Romex cable is stapled to the side of the attic trusses.
The hole in the top plate was filled in with firestop caulk.
The old switch box was removed and the existing hole in the wall was made larger to accommodate the new two gang plastic old work electrical box.
I used the excess wire from the 14/3 Romex as pigtails for the LINE connections to the the switches. The 14/3 contains the light and fan LOAD wires going up to the ceiling fan.
One screw was driven through the box into the wood wall stud to secure the electrical box. Doing this can be considered a code violation by some electrical inspectors, but it does make the electrical box more secure over the long term.
Depending on the brand and type of wall plate to be installed, it is sometimes better to remove the ears from the switches and outlets when installing them on plastic old work boxes. When I install steel old work boxes I usually remove the ears. See how I changed one switch to two switches in this ceiling fan installation post.
Above, the old work fan brace is depicted installed inside of the ceiling. The steel octagonal box is ready to be attached.
All metal electrical boxes must be grounded. Part of the grounding conductor is under the green grounding screw with the end hanging out for connecting to. The fan box above also has 8/32 screw holes for a standard ceiling light fixture to be attached.
The above is one of many different styles of ceiling fan bracket that comes with each ceiling fan. They are all made to be mounted onto a standard fan rated electrical box.
All ground wires get connected together. All white neutral wires go together. If you were going to install a remote control, this is where it gets inserted.
See my Ceiling Fan Wiring Diagrams post for several choices of ceiling fan switch wiring.