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electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
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Ceiling fan chain broke off and fan is still on; how do I turn

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Ceiling fan chain broke off and fan is still on; how do I turn it off?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Steve replied 5 years ago.
HiCustomer& thanks for using JustAnswer.com
Sorry to hear of your dilemma. There are three ways to turn off a ceiling fan. One is to use the remote control if you have one. Another is to turn off the breaker that supplies power to the fan, but this will probably knock out several other things, and third is to get ahold of what is left of the chain & activate the rotary switch built into the fan..
     I'll assume you don't have a remote & would prefer to use the fan's rotary switch for now. The chain is a series of little balls. Use a dental pick, or other small stiff pick- a paperclip might do it - and get behind the little ball inside the hole the chain comes out of. Apply tension to the side of the hole and draw the ball out. When it comes out of the hole- STOP - & keep the pick tight to the edge of the hole. Use a pair of needle nose pliars to grab the ball & pull( activating the switch ). Depending oin which speed it was on tyou might have to reapeat this a few times. Once you activate the switch DO NOT LET IT SNAP BACK into the hole. Ease it back in & listen for a "click". If this can not be done you will have to turn off the breaker & remove the fan. Once removed you can replace the rotary switch. It is not a ON/OFF rotary switch home centers & hardware stores carry. It a 4 position step/rotary switch and you will need to order it from the manufacturer of your fan (online). Considering how cheap the fans are you might want to skip the aggreavtion and just get a new one. But if you love a challange & love fixing "perfectly good" things- Go for it! - Steve
If my information was helpful click the ACCEPT button. Please take a moment and leave feedback, it is very important! Thanks for using JustAnswer.com Steve
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Do not remove the fan from the ceiling. Turn off the wall switch that feeds the fan. IF there is no wall switch then the breaker must be turned off. Remove the cover on the bottom of the fan or remove the light kit if so installed. The switch is easily accessible here on the bottom of the fan. The switch is available at Menard's, Home Depot or Lowes. If you have additional questions please feel free to ask here.
Expert:  Steve replied 5 years ago.
The electrifier brought up a good point. There may be a fourth way to turn off the fan- a wall switch, & that the rotary switch can be accessed from below thru light kit housing. Another thing I forgot to mention is that the "nut" that holds the switch is also the guide hole that the chain comes out of. You can unscrew this to be able to reach a little farther to snag the little ball.

Feel free to ask all the questions you need to, as long as it pertains to this subject. Clicking on the accept button does not end your question session. It only transfers funds to me for answering your questions. You need to click on "I accept this answer" for this to happen. You may continue to ask questions until your problem is solved or you are satisfied with the results of our communications. My goal is your 100% satisfaction with all questions I answer.
If my information was helpful click the ACCEPT button. Please take a moment and leave feedback, it is very important! Thanks for using JustAnswer.com Steve
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Of course there is no wall switch; if there were, I would have already turned it off. I'm only five feet tall, so will be on a tall ladder while I'm trying to manage the ball from the chain and needle-nose pliers at the same time. The entire chain came off--there is no part of it sticking out from the side of the fan where the chain was. Also, I'm afraid to get my hands caught in the fan blades that are going around.

 

I don't know what you mean by the "light kit housing." There are four separate lights on the sides of the fan, and the fan has been in place for 23 years. My husband originally installed the fan, but he passed away last month. Now I'm on a tight budget, so am trying to fix it myself. Is there anything else you could suggest for me to do? Thanks for your help.

Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
With no wall switch you will need to turn off the breaker for that circuit. With the breaker off you can safely climb up to the fan and look at the housing that the 4 lights attach to. Around the top of this section there is a seam and 3 or 4 screws that hold the 2 pieces together. Removing these screws will release the light assembly. It will be supported by 2 wires, a blue one and a white one. They may attach to other wires with little plugs or with wirenuts. Inside this housing you will see the switch where the chain pulled out. Remove the outside nut and the switch will come loose. It will have some wires attaching it to other wiring inside this housing. This is the switch that must be changed. Find the wire connections for these wires and unwire one wire at a time removing the old switch and replacing it with the new switch. You have turned off the breaker for this circuit so it's safe to touch these wires now. If you have any questions before doing this or after you get it apart please come back here and ask. If I'm not online at the time I'm sure one of the other experts online at the time will answer your question for you. We can do this together. I have confidence in you.
electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1629
Experience: Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
electrifier and 4 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Thanks. I'll have to do it in two stages. One to take it apart, then go to the hardware store and find the part--probably Home Depot, which is 15 miles away. Then reinstall it later, hoping I can turn the breaker back on and get all my electricity running again.

Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
If you go to Home Depot and ask for a pull chain fan speed switch they can give you one there. You should not need the switch to compare to. They are pretty universal. It should be found on a card in the "ceiling fan parts and accessories section".

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