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Electric Pull Switch Related Questions

An electric pull switch is a switch that is operated with the help of a string or chain. Usually, pull switches are used to switch on electric lights or fans in the ceiling. These switches can either be two-position (open or closed) or multi-position devices that help you alternate between different levels of illumination or fan speeds. Electric pull switches are also safe to use in damp environments since there is a considerable distance between the user and the electricity and the pull cord is usually created out of an electrically insulating material like cotton string.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the electricians on problems related to electric pull switches.

I need to replace a pull switch for a ceiling fan. The new switch has a red, black and blue wire while my old one had a black wire going in and another black one going out to a bulb socket. How can I wire the switch?

Many ceiling fans have two different kinds of pull chain switches. One kind of switch is known as a “fan switch” and controls the fan speed. This switch usually has three wires or three slots for wires. The second kind of switch has a simple “on” and “off” mechanism and controls the light. It comes with two black wires that signify an "in" and an "out". Therefore, it depends on which switch you are trying to change. If you need to change a switch for the light, you cannot use a “fan” switch. Instead, specifically ask for a pull chain replacement for the “light” at Lowes or Home Depot. Once you get this, wire nut a black wire on this switch to the light and the other wire to the fan.

I have a pull cord switch for my exhaust fan in the kitchen. When I was plastering my wall, the cord got damaged and I had to cut it. Is it possible to replace just the pull cord or do I need to replace the whole switch?

You can try tying an extension onto the cord and see if that works. It may not be possible to replace the whole cord without replacing the switch since they are not usually designed to be taken apart to replace the string only.

The electric pull switch in the flat below me has a noisy mechanism in the ceiling. When it is used, the noise resonating through the floor sometimes awakens my baby. My neighbours have agreed to change it if I find a suitable replacement. How can I find a quieter switch?

One way to do this would be to install a wall switch outside the room. If your neighbors find this too labor intensive, you can lower the pull switch and inject an entire can of expanding foam into the space above. Once you put the switch back, the resonance should stop and make for a less noisy operation.

I need to replace a pull down switch that operates the lights. The wires on the replacement I bought don’t fit the original connectors. How can I fix this?

It seems like the simplest way to do this is to connect the wires color for color by using the smallest (orange or blue) wire nuts. This is probably how the manufacturer designed it as well.

A pull switch can occasionally become faulty due to frequent use. But before you change the entire switch, troubleshoot the problem to ensure that the fault lies with the switch. For example if a ceiling fan that is powered by a pull switch stops working, first inspect the circuit breaker that powers the fan. If it seems ok, check the bulb in the ceiling fan light. If the bulb works fine, expose the pull switch by pulling the fan housing down and use a voltage meter to see if power is reaching it. Also, use the meter to check the bulb socket. Once you identify the source of the problem, you might find a simple way to fix it. But if you have trouble diagnosing the real problem, seek the help of a licensed electrician or ask an Expert to help you find a solution.
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