my dimmer switch I have a dimmer switch, need to change to regular for a ceiling fan. From the picture, I think the black wire is my "neutral," and the green is obviously ground. The red wire to the upper right is labeled for use with a three-way switch and not attached (which this circuit is not). My confusion is that there is a red and a black coming out of the wall, wound together and connected to a single red going to the dimmer switch. Do I install both red and black to my regular switch as "hot? (with the other black as neutral?")


1 Answer 1


Pigtail time

You'll need a couple lengths of the same gauge wire (preferably black, but any color other than white or green will do here) as what's in the box right now to serve as pigtails; if you don't have some NM laying around to shuck for this, just get a foot or so of 12AWG black THHN.

Once you have the old dimmer removed, one of them gets shucked of its insulation and goes between the existing ground bundle in the box and the green screw on the new switch, the second pigtail goes from the existing wirenut with the red and black wires in it to one brass screw as that's your always-hot, and the final pigtail goes from the existing wirenut with the single black wire in it to the other brass screw on the switch as that's your switched-hot (NOT "neutral" at all -- the neutral is the white bundle in back that you aren't touching).

Button it all back up, turn the breaker back on, and enjoy your new fan!

  • That makes total sense! Except....do I really need to pigtail the ground?
    – Ted O
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 4:04
  • @TedO -- since the mounting yoke on the switch won't make good contact with the box, I would pigtail the ground if I were in your shoes Commented May 6, 2019 at 4:08
  • 1
    @TedO especially the ground ... well, let me walk that back... what is true is that you must be able to remove the device without severing the ground connection, since other devices on other circuits may be depending on that ground. So for instance you can't use the device itself as a splice point. Commented May 6, 2019 at 19:04

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