0

So I have a ceiling fan in my office that is connect to a switchplte (With 2 switches). One for the fan and one for the light.

I noticed turning on the fan switch the light flickered for a second and then the fan stopped working....however the light still turns on/off.

How likely is it that the fan motor died, or can a switch go back on just 1 of the switches? Or are they actually likely separate switches?

2

Without a photo I am guessing that the switches are stacked in a single gang box in this case there are 2 witches on 1 yoke, of side by side they would be in a double gang box and be 2 separate switches. It is possible the switch or the wire connection failed, I usually check by spinning the fan and turning the switch on if it keeps going it is usually the fan start capacitor that has failed.

  • Sorry I guess I should've described it better. it's 2 switches side by side. – msmith1114 Sep 20 '18 at 14:05
  • Single switches are inexpensive. I would try the spin test if the switch has failed I usually put in a 20 amp switch they will last longer as the fan in rush current can be above a 15 amp non motor rated switch. – Ed Beal Sep 20 '18 at 14:29
  • I was just about to ask 15 vs 20 amp. My house is 17 years old...so does it matter if my wires/etc... in the house are mostly 15 amp? IE: Will 20 amp work? – msmith1114 Sep 20 '18 at 16:47
  • 1
    Most inexpensive switches are 15 amp but using a heavier 20 amp rated switch will last longer with a motor load, fans are low draw devices but on startup they pull 3-5x the current compared to once at speed. A 20 amp switch will fit in the same location and has larger contacts so they end up lasting longer. – Ed Beal Sep 20 '18 at 16:53
  • 1
    Yes they are a standard size and will fit, some are slightly wider but will in the same space. – Ed Beal Sep 20 '18 at 17:59
2

Switches cost a dollar. So that definitely lends itself to "throwing parts at the problem and see what happens".

Watch out for switches with more than 2 screws (not counting the ground screw). Those need special attention, get photos and ask for help.

Also this is a good time to watch out for "back stab" wire connections, where the wire disappears into a tiny hole in the back of the switch. These cause intermittent connections like you describe. Better to shape the wire into a tiny J-hook and shape it around the side screw and tighten it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.