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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3401
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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Have a ceiling fan and two light switches. How do I wire it

Customer Question

Have a ceiling fan and two light switches. How do I wire it so both light switches turn it on and off?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago. name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!
1) How many wires and their colors in the ceiling box?
2) Does the fan have a light kit or fan only?
3) Was there a previously installed light that was working at the ceiling box?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ceiling box has 2 white, 2 black, 2 bare copper groundsIs has a light kit. Previously on the old fan/light the light switches operated the fan and we used the toggle chain to turn the lights on and offYes, there was a previous fan and light combo working in the box
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
From the fan and light there are I black, 1 white, 1 blue and the ground
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't want to wire it so one switch operates the fan and one the light. I want both to turn the fan on and off and will use the toggle chain to turn on the lights
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the replies.
1) Since the box contains 2 black wires, they were not spliced together with a wire nut on the previously installed fan, is that correct?
2) Any chance that you have a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or an AC voltmeter available?
3) Are the switches 3-way or single pole type?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm not sure if the two black wires were previously spliced together on the old installation. Unfortunately I'm helping a friend and he took it down without looking at any of the wiring
I have both a voltmeter and tester at home. Realized I needed them as soon as I got to my friends!
Would like the wall switches to just control fan and will turn on the lights from the chain toggle switch attached to the fixture
Switches are single pole type
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not sure if this helps at all but there is a red wire in both the wall switch boxes
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It's attached to the switch but separate to the 3 wire cable
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
OK, very good.
1) How many screws on each wall switch? 2 or 3?
2) Disregard the green ground screw on the switch, just need the quantity of the brass screws and possibly a black screw on the switch?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not counting the ground screw
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Switch 1 has red wire on top left, white wire top right and black wire bottom right
Switch 2 has red wire top left, black wire top right and black wire bottom right
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ground wires attached to both switches
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Switch 2 has two white wires spliced together in switch box. Two ground wires going to switch ground screw
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
1) OK, since 3 screws, there should be 2 brass, 1 black and a 1 green ground screw. Since 3 screws (disregarding the green ground screw for now), both switches are 3-way's and NOT single pole switches.
2) Therefore, at the ceiling box, 1 black wire will always be "live" and the other black wire is the switched loop wire coming off from one of the 3-ways.
3) Since you don't have your meter handy, try this. Splice the fan white neutral to the ceiling box 2 white neutrals. Splice the fan green ground to the ceiling box green and/or any bare copper grounds. Then splice only 1 of the ceiling black house wires to the light kit blue wire. Try the pull chain on the fan to see if it controls the light kit.
4) Don't splice the 2 ceiling blacks together, otherwise you will create a short. For now only splice 1 ceiling black to the fan light kit blue. Let me know if the light works by using the pull chain?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, thought for sure they were single poles
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
No, single pole switches only have 2 brass screws. 3-way's have 2 brass and 1 black screw. The black wire is landing on the black screw and that is the switched loop for one of the blacks going to the ceiling.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, previously did that before contacting you. Light came on but breaker went off as soon as wall switch was activated. Switched black wire for other black and put it with white wires and same thing happened
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Good to know. Thanks. I don't do much electrical work - leave it to the pros like yourself
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
1) The 2 whites are both neutrals. Leave them spliced together and don't connect any blacks to them, that's why the breaker tripped.
2) For now only splice 1 black to the blue. Need to confirm if the light kit works with only the pull chain?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Oh, sorry. Had both blacks connected
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Will need to do this in the am. It's late here
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What's next if that works?
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
No, one of those blacks is "always hot" and the other black is a switched hot. We need to locate the "always hot black" and connect that one to the light kit blue.
OK, once you locate the "always hot black" and the light kit works with the pull chain, then you are good there.
Then connect the 2nd black to the fan motor black and the 3-way switches should control the fan motor ON/OFF.
I will be logged on here tomorrow, so if you run into any problems, just reply back to me at this same question and I will ge back to you.
In the meantime, have a great evening and we'll catch up with you tomorrow.......Thanks.......Kevin!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks a lot Kevin! I will let you know how it goes.Good night - Mark
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Very good Mark.
Take care for now and we'll talk tomorrow......Thanks....Kevin!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
No problem, glad to assist:)

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