I’m trying to wire a new ceiling fan in a house built in the 1920s.

From the ceiling there are: 3 black wires 3 white wires 1 red wire 2 bare copper wires

From the fixture there are: 1 black wire 1 white wire 1 blue wire 1 green/yellow wire

There is also a green/yellow wire from the mounting bracket. Any help would be appreciated.enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here]![enter image description here

  • Can you post photos of the inside of the fan and switch boxes involved? Jul 7, 2018 at 14:28
  • I added pictures of the fan, ceiling, and switch. The fan in question is in my living room. The other switch on the wall is supposed to control the porch fan, which was working until I disconnected everything to put the new living room fan in.
    – Tyler
    Jul 7, 2018 at 14:58
  • Can we have a photo of the inside of the switch box? Jul 7, 2018 at 15:08
  • In future take a pic before you disconnect. Jul 7, 2018 at 15:19
  • Pic inside switch added
    – Tyler
    Jul 7, 2018 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


Lets start again:

Unless you have turned off power at the breaker, keep both switches off once you have a fan in place without blades. Powering a fan without blades on can damage the fan.

You have determined the black wire on the left is the line hot, and it seems this must be connected to the lone white (repurposed as hot) next to it. This carries the line hot to both switches. (That white does connect to both switches, right?) In the same cable as this white a black comes from one switch and a red from the other comes from the other. Pick one (say the black) and connect it to the black and the blue leads of the indoor fan. A switch now controls the hot to the indoor fan.

Now connect the white lead of the fan to the two connected white wires (these are neutral). Connect the bare copper to the green w/ yellow stripe. At this point the fan would work but don't try it without the blades attached (could damage the fan motor) and don't put them on yet because you still have more wires to connect for the outside fan and the blades would be in the way.

If you want you could put the blades on and test the indoor fan, then take off one blade to give yourself room to make the further connections. But at this point I think there are only two wires not not connected the red and a black going to the outside fan. Connect these two wires to take switch hot to the outside fan.

Both fans should now work.

  • This is essentially what I did (although with the switches reversed) and it works, thank you! For some reason it won’t let me upvote your answer right now, I’ll try again later.
    – Tyler
    Jul 8, 2018 at 2:35

OK the wires in the switch box are all hot or switched hot (plus the bare gnd). The white wire in this box goes to both switches (can see but think so) and so is the always hot. (So don't think it is a neutral; there is no neutral in the switch box.) The black and the red are switched hots for the fan and light.

Look in the box for the fan and find the cable from the switch box--it will have the black, red, and white wires in one cable. The red wire will be connected to the blue for light and the black wire to the black fan wire. The white wire is being used for hot feed and it must be connected to an always hot, which will probably be one of the other black wires. You must determine this by testing voltage with switches off and on. You should mark the ends of this white wire with black tape to indicate it is a hot.

The other two white wires (joined) are neutrals (one from the feed and one to the other fan) and these two wires are to be connected to the white lead (common neutral) of the fan/light.

The striped green is ground for the fan/light and should be connected to the bare copper ground. The green from the box must also be a ground to the box and it is to be connected to the bare copper ground.

The final black wire must be the hot feed to the other fan. If we have this straight, then it should be connected with the black marked white.

  • That would make the porch fan run all the time, controlled only by its pull chains. Jul 7, 2018 at 19:33
  • Jim, I think maybe you are assuming that one switch controls the fan and the other controls the light. That’s isn’t the case. One switch controls the living room light/fan and the other switch controls the porch light/fan.
    – Tyler
    Jul 7, 2018 at 21:35
  • Yes, I was assuming that one of the two switches pictured controlled the light and one the fan on the indoor fan. And I assumed there would be another switch or two to control the outside fan/light. Did the original fans have lights? Jul 7, 2018 at 22:09
  • Yes, the fan that we replaced with this new fan had lights, also.
    – Tyler
    Jul 7, 2018 at 22:12
  • So how did you control each fan and its light separately with just one switch per fan? Jul 7, 2018 at 22:13

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