I'm trying to wire in a new ceiling fan. The ceiling has two cables, looks like a switch loop.

Both cables have two white wires and one black. Both black wires are bundled together and two white wires are. This leaves two white wires, one from each cable, loose.

One is definitely hot coming from the switch.

Can i use that wire as my hot and the other loose wire as my neutral while wiring in the new fan?

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  • Not enough information shown here for a definitive answer. I should think the connected white would be more likely to be connected properly. The loose one might just dead-end somewhere, and if you connect to it and to the black, then who knows where you are sending power to, through the new fan... Do you have a multimeter so you can verify the power?
    – SDsolar
    Apr 23, 2018 at 0:09
  • Have you seen this before where a cable has two whites and one black? The right csble shows it best. This is a new one for me. I've done some wiring in this house already and most doesn't contain a ground. The multimeter showed my flagged wire to have voltage but wouldnt hold steady and the unflagged one would show little to none. Apr 23, 2018 at 3:11

2 Answers 2


In the absence of any fuether detail, the wires you disconnected from whatever used to be installed are the wires that you should connect to your new fan.

That wire looks to be in poor condition, you should consult an electrician to verify it is safe.

  • The old cloth is actually in better condition than most of this age I see. But wirenutting the fan to the 2 wires would be the correct path forward, if the insulation starts cracking I will usually slide a piece of heat shrink tubing over it . The only question since I don't see a box is there a box and is it listed to support the fan? This becomes more important with old wiring as you don't want the box moving and breaking down the insulation. But + for connecting advice.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 25, 2018 at 17:32

If you're sure about wires identification I'd say yes. But if you're not absolutely sure, I suggest you to hire an electrician to inspect the system and 'name' the unsure wires.

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