I had a detached garage built. The guy who ran the electrical is not available and I am having some trouble with how he ran the wiring for two ceiling fans in the loft area.

There is one switch (single pole). There are two fans supposedly controlled by this switch. In one ceiling fan box, there are 4 cables coming in (all 12/2). Two line hot bundles (both same circuit), and two other bundles, one labeled FAN and one labeled LIGHT.

In the other ceiling fan box, there are two cables--one labeled FAN and one labeled LIGHT (both 12/2 as well). The fans I intend to install do not have separate light/fan switches. They are on a remote and just have white/black/ground each.

Any ideas on how this needs to be wired up? I am thrown off by the fact that one fan box has 2 line hots. I assume they are wired in series but not sure?

The switch on the far right is intended to control the fan.enter image description here

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  • 1
    Take a piece of paper (or drawing software) and sketch out a diagram. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 8:42
  • What's present at the switch box for this setup? Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 11:33
  • 2 Black, 2 White, 2 Ground at the switch. I could try to diagram, but I don't know exactly how he has it wired, between, just what I have available at the junctions/switch. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 12:59
  • we need to look insidethat light switch box. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:18
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    I got it working. I capped off one of the hot feeds and tucked it. I then went black/black white/white on 2 of the other feeds, the remaining hot feed and FAN. That got the first fan working, but the 2nd wouldn't. I then added the one labeled LIGHT, same connections, and then the other fan started working. However, I undid everything and killed power. I wanted to come here and make sure that was safe and correct. The only question I still have is....Why did the electrician run two hot feeds? And why are there two light feeds that are not hot when switched? Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


2 hot feeds are almost certainly not "in series" - hardly anything in household wiring is, or should be, other than a switch is "in series" with the things it controls (which are in parallel if there's more than one of them.)

So, cap one off and don't worry about it, as they are the same circuit going to the same box. Nobody knows why the original person did that, possibly including the original person. Unless one is already connected to a switch? Have you checked for that (the switch would happen to be ON when you were testing and found both to be line voltage.)

Deciphering poorly labeled wires is tedious but needful. There are various methods which vary depending on your available tools. I like to make use of a multimeter on the ohms setting on (verified) de-energized wires where possible, connect the suspected far ends, see if you get a low resistance, disconnect them and make sure the resistance becomes infinite, label. Or use a 9 volt battery and the volts setting (extra reminder that you have verified that the wires are NOT connected to line voltage by some means, FIRST!)

I am personally not a fan of attaching power to wires going I know not where, and a cheap multimeter is quite inexpensive, really.

One thought on the "fan .vs. light" labelling (other than being ready for fans with separate inputs) is that the "light" wiring may also run to other "light-only" boxes in the garage?

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