I have a ceiling light/fan fixture in one of my rooms connected to a single electrical switch. There are two pullchains on the fixture, one that controls the light, the other controlling the fan. I'd expect the fan chain to switch it among fast, slow, and off. However, whenever the switch is on, the fan motor is running, and the chain just switches between fast and slow.

Is there something wrong with this fixture?

Is it just wired wrong, and should have two separate switches?


5 Answers 5


Your fan switch is shot. You can get replacement switches at big box stores.

Your issue is probably not a light switch or else the fan would simply turn on/off rather than the symptoms you are seeing - slow/fast with no off.

Five bucks and a half hour and you will be fine.


Depends on how it is wired. The single switch will control the fan and light simultaneously. If you want the light off, then you pull the chain for the light. The nice part about having the light on a different switch is you can simply go into a room without having to turn on the fan every time and have a nice bright fixture in the room. The downside is that you have to hit the switch every time since the pull chain kind of loses its purpose and is now redundant.

Now, whether you have three speeds or not is up to the manufacturer of the fan. Most fans made recently have three speeds. We have to know the make/model to find out for sure. Doubt it is broken though.


It sounds like someone replaced the pull-chain switch for the fan with one made for a light.


Replace the pull-chain step switch. Is usually located inside the bottom junction box, accessible by removing the light fixture assembly. Pay attention to the position of the light fixture relative to the junction box, because when you are ready to put everything back together, you have to align a notch usually cut on the light assembly lid to accomodate other electronic pieces in the junction box. Order your new switch by the model number of the fan; Not all pull=chain switches will work with your fan. Nothing wrong with having just 1 wall switch for both light and fan motor; -Inconvenient, but not wrong-


It has multiple speeds. The sequences is Off-High-Medium-Low-Off (repeating). High is first for reasons.

The problem is, the fan doesn't have an "emergency brake" to INSTANTLY stop the blades when you reach the "off" position.

When you click from "high" to "Medium", the fan will slllllowly reduce speed, and eventually it will settle out at the "medium" speed.

But long before that happens, you get impatient and pull the cord again. You've commanded "low" but it hasn't even slowed to "medium" yet. So no noticeable effect: it just continues decelerating, now with "low" speed as the destination.

And you get impatient and pull it again, setting it to "OFF". It hasn't even reached "low" yet, so it continues to gradually slow down, and...

... you guessed it... you get impatient and pull it AGAIN. Now you have switched it from "OFF" to "HIGH" and it immediately accelerates, and this you can observe.

So, the answer is, after each cord pull, wait 30 seconds for it to settle out at the new speed before pulling again. Eventually, learn the number of clicks from "high" to "off".

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