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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7606
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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I am installing a ceiling fan where there was previously

Customer Question

I am installing a ceiling fan where there was previously just a light; It has fan and light on it, we are using single switch on wall and will use the manual control to switch from light to fan or both.
When we opened up the electric wires, there was a black and white , copper wire (ground) and a pink (red?) color wire. We had diagrams showing to wire the black to the black and blue from fan, white to white and copper to green ground wire. We capped off the red wire, not sure what it was for, and now it is not working at all. Neither the light or fan come on after switching back on the power. What should we do with the pink/red wire?
Thanks in advance.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Turn the circuit breaker to the OFF position and back out the wall switch from the box but do not disconnect any wires from it.

2) How many wires and what are the wire colors that are terminated to the wall switch?

Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I'm Mike G and I'll be assisting you. The number and colors of the wires, if they were all on a switch, that would suggest it was a 3 way switch and there is another switch that previously also controlled the light. A modification of the connections and capping the red wire is where the problem is. Please confirm.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we capped the red wire.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
You'll need to replace the 3 way switch and at the fan connect the fan black and blue together on the same house wire.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok not sure what you mean about the three way switch. What happens to the red wire?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
If there is another switch they are 3 ways. To install one back where it should be you'll need to check the other switch to see what color wires are on the gold screws. The same colors are to be on both switch gold screws.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did not request phone call. I sent photo and message saying I do not understand your answers
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

You sent a picture of a single pole switch with a red and black wire on it. Is that the second switch or the one you were working with?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's the only switch in the room.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

OK, that makes a big difference. Do you have a 2 wire voltage tester? You need to identify which of the 3 wires is the hot.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No I don't. I was assuming it was the black wire So I need to get voltage tester next. That will take a few hours to get
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Hold on. Let's try it another way first.

1) Is the white wire connected in the switch box?

2) In the ceiling box, how are the 3 wire cable wires connected?

3) Give me the count and colors of all wires in the ceiling box not including the fan leads.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is no white wire in the light switch box. Just the black, red and copper wire like you see in the picture.There are 4 wires coming from the ceiling- a copper wire, a black, a white and a red.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did you want me to tell you how the ceiling wires are currently connected to the fan wires?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
If a cable with a black and red there has to be a white, unless is was cut off. Only having a black, red, white and copper in the ceiling box, it would indicate a feed is in another box somewhere. You have a very out of the ordinary circuit. You will need to get a 2 wire tester for identification due to the count and colors of the wires.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay thanks, ***** ***** surprised the circuit is out of the ordinary, our house is pretty old.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.
As a guess you might try connecting the fan black and blue to the house red and the fan white to the house white. That may at least allow combined operation from the switch. Sepeeate functions will be secondary with use of the pullchain switches. If that works, you can install a universal remote to seperate control of the fan and light.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If we tried that, what would we do with the house black wire?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Cap it. A tester would allow for me not to guess. It may be an unswitched hot, which could be used for the fan and if the red is switched it could be used for the light. Testing would be better than a guess

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I decided to have an electrician come in and look at it. I don't want to be guessing and as you said the wiring sounds odd.
Thanks for your help
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Very good, hope it goes well.