First, let me begin by saying I apologize up front if any of this is confusing or does not make any sense or if the attached diagram is clear as mud...Current wiring diagram

Ok, here goes:

I have a ceiling box that used to house a fan+light fixture (after 8 years of renting it out, it has been taken out and now I want to add a fan+light back). From that ceiling box I have 4 (four) 12-2 wires coming out of the ceiling. Now I know from troubleshooting that one of them (red arrow) is the power from the breaker, one of them is the power that goes to my range hood/light and over sink light (yellow arrow), one goes to switch #1 (blue rectangle), and the last goes to switch #5 (orange rectangle) which is a toggle with dimmer for the light at the bottom of the diagram.

I have no clue how the 12-3 wires are routed nor connected inside of the ceiling, only how they are connected at present at the switches. So I do not know how the white from the 12-3 connected to the common on switch #5 becomes TWO hot wires going to the commons on switches #2 and #3.

In my utopia, I would have 2 three-way switches (#s 1,2) controlling the light to the fan and 2 three-way switches controlling power to the fan motor (#s 3,4) as this is how I THINK it used to work, and since I currently have the orange 12-2 wire and the yellow 12-2 wire connected to the red wire coming from the breaker and the only switch that operates the other light fixture is switch #5, #s 1-4 do NOT turn that light on or off when #5 turns it on.

My other dilemma is how to wire the new fan+light fixture since there is not a 12-3 wire run to the ceiling in order to supply power from each of the switch sets to the light and fan motor separately as I've seen in almost every diagram I could find on the internet (where the red would connect to the blue power for the light).

I attempted to add pictures of each of the switches as they are currently connected but can only add two since I am new... any assistance is greatly appreciated! The bottom pic is how the ceiling box is currently connected.


Ceiling box Switch 2/3 Switch 1 Switch 4/5 light controlled by switch 5


1 Answer 1


Going in circles (without making a loop)

What you want is possible with the addition of a single extra cable -- a 12-2 from the light box controlled by switch 5 to the fan box. Once this cable is in place (turn the power off first of course):

  1. Remove the retagged white wire from its screw on the dimmer (switch 5) and move it to the terminal on the dimmer that's connected to the black wire coming from the orange cable (i.e. the black hot coming in from the fan box). This is the only change needed in this box, so you can button it up now.
  2. Nut the new cable's black to the existing red, white to whites, and ground to grounds in the ceiling light-only box -- this makes the new cable an extension of the red wire in the 12/3 from switches 2 and 4 to the ceiling light box. This finishes the ceiling light box.
  3. Nut the blacks from the red, yellow, blue, and orange cables in the fan box together.
  4. Nut the whites from the red, yellow, and orange cables in the fan box together.
  5. Nut all the grounds in the fan box together.
  6. Nut the black from the new cable to the black from the fan/light combo.
  7. Nut the white from the new cable to the white from the fan/light combo.
  8. Retag the white from the blue cable to a hot with some black tape, and nut it to the blue from the fan/light combo.
  9. Mount the fan and button everything else back up
  10. Turn the power back on and enjoy!

Note that the white from the new cable is not nutted to the other neutral whites in the box as that'd create a looped neutral in violation of 300.3(B)/310.10(H). Switches 1/2 form a classical 3-way switch loop controlling the light in the fan, while 3 and 4 are considered a T-loop (where power goes to one switch and the other switch is looped from the first switch's location), and switch 5 i.e. the dimmer is wired conventionally (vs. the utterly nonsensical traveler connection that it currently has).

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