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In my leased condo, all of the ceiling fans are on rheostat switches even though the fans have three speeds from pull chain. I wanted to swap rheostat from the master bedroom's fan out with switch dining light fixture, which has only simple on/off single pole. But when I tried the single pole switch from the dining room on ceiling fan, the fan will not work. I've now confirmed this by trying a non-rheostat switch on another ceiling fan. Why would the single pole not work?

Also, the ceiling fan with rheostat in the master bedroom has a noticeable hum. I've read that dimmers on ceiling fans can sometime cause hum, so I hoped to solve that problem with single pole switch.

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Do you have a make/model for the ceiling fans? Where in the world are you? – Daniel Griscom Nov 21 '16 at 23:15
  • I'm in US (Arkansas). Fan is painted and cannot see brand but I just looked up model on dimmer and it's a Lutron Maestro MA-FQ4M, which says it's for use only with Lutron models CM-FQ1 and MA-Afq4, which are wiring canopy modules. So although it looks same as other dimmers for lights in condo, it works only with ceiling fan. I also tried the dimmer switch on the dining room chandelier and did not work. I did not know they made ceiling fan specific rheostats. My other house had the multiple position fan wall switch with clicks for 1 to 5. – DaDavid Nov 21 '16 at 23:43
  • If possible, I'd still like ideas on why the MBR ceiling fan hums loudly but other identical fans do not. Only thing I noticed is that there are three poles on the wall switch but only two are in use. I assumed that is because switch is three-way. – DaDavid Nov 22 '16 at 0:06
  • Because it's not a rheostat. That's just a word you're using to describe "the thing that controls the fan speed". There are many ways to regulate fan speed. An actual rheostat is one archaic method, but that is not what you have here. A far more correct word is "fan speed control" because that describes all methods. – Harper May 27 '17 at 5:27
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The MA-FQ4M dimmer doesn't dim its output directly -- it's designed to communicate over the powerline with a compatible canopy module instead, which is why it didn't dim your chandelier. It shouldn't cause your fan to hum when used with the proper canopy module, though -- I'd suspect that your real problem is with the fan itself (perhaps the windings are slightly loose inside the fan motor or something like that).

As to why the fan didn't work with a single pole switch, I suspect it's because the canopy module wasn't seeing the right signals to turn the fan on. Either that, or you simply goofed when you wired the switch.

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