Long story short, moved into this house 2 years ago, 2 gang switches in bedroom, one for ceiling fan and light, one supposedly for switched outlet. Finally got around to finding which outlet was switched and found out the switch wasn't even wired. Sure, no problem, lazy, but not problem. As I was putting the face plate back on, I noticed the ground wire from the house just hanging free. Odd. Looked at the wiring going to the ceiling fan, and the neutral wire was wired to the ground going to the fan (and noticed some blackening on the non connected house ground).

I took down the fan to see the wiring and I have 2 green (grounds) wired together with the bare ground coming from the switch and a fourth wire (white, neutral?) all wired together. My assumption is that they used the bare ground to carry current to operate the fan and light independently via the switch. I'm just a DIYer, but this can't be safe can it? Should I just undo the entire thing, use a regular switch and wire my hot to hots (for fan and light fixture), ground to ground and neutral to neutral?

Photos below :

Light switch front (fan and light independently)

Light switch wiring

Ceiling fan/light fixture wiring

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    It looks like your question may be a duplicate of this question diy.stackexchange.com/questions/158043/… Mar 8, 2019 at 22:25
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    Looks to me that they used the bare as a neutral and the black/white wires both switched hot.
    – JimmyJames
    Mar 8, 2019 at 22:48
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    And yeah, not good.
    – JimmyJames
    Mar 8, 2019 at 22:51
  • Sorry @goose platinum I must not have searched for the right terms, I've been searching on and off all day. I apologize for the duplicate question. Mar 8, 2019 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


Get a Lutron MA-LFQM and slap it in there

Most fan/light combination controls require a 3-wire cable between the fan/light and the switch in order to provide separate switched/dimmed hot feeds to the fan/light. However, the Lutron Maestro MA-LFQM uses a canopy module, similar to that found in a fan remote system, that "talks" with the wall control via power-line communications, allowing it to work with only a single switched hot running to the fan/light combination.

Of course, you can also replace the existing cable with a /3 W/G NM of the same gauge if you want to use some other fan/light control, or a simple double switch for that matter.


Without running a 3-wire (plus ground) cable between the switch and the fan, you aren't going to be able to fix this without losing the ability to control the fan and light independently. The fan speed control will then dim your lights and/or you are a fixed speed.

For safety, I think you should go with your plan. Typically ceiling fans have a pull cord or two and one controls the light. That way you can run the fan when you sleep. My solution for this is to never use the light on the fan.

  • Thanks Jimmy, that's what I thought. I knew I needed another wire for independent control. I appreciate your confirmation to just wire it appropriately and call it a day. Mar 8, 2019 at 23:17
  • So, merely out of curiosity, if I have attic access, would I be able to just run the additional one wire or would it have to be a whole new bundle (sorry, can't think of the term) of wires? Mar 9, 2019 at 2:17
  • @JamieRakes -- it would have to be a whole new cable Mar 9, 2019 at 3:26

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