I am trying to install a ceiling fan in my bedroom for the first time. There is already a "Acceptable for Fan Support" box installed by the builder. I looked at several videos on youtube on how to wire fan. The wires coming from the ceiling confused me.

First, the color of wires. I see red, white and yellow. I was expecting black, white and green.

Second, red and white go back up as shown in the picture. How do I wire my fan?

Appreciate any help

Red and white cables going back

enter image description here

I  believe this is the switch because the first one turns on the lights and the third one turns on plugs in my room

Last pipe goes to ceiling

  • where on the Globe are you? – ratchet freak May 15 '19 at 15:44
  • @ratchetfreak chicago – Mahi G May 15 '19 at 15:54
  • 2
    Hence the conduit. Chicago requires it. You will often find wires missing that are supposed to be there (e.g. neutral in switch loops). That's because they are easy to add later. – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 15 '19 at 16:06
  • Do you want separate control of fan and light using a double switch? – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 15 '19 at 22:41

This is conduit. Everything's different.

All the literature you have read on the Internet talks about cables in the walls installations. In that case, you are married to the standard wire colors in cables - Black Red White Bare.

Here, you have a network of piping called "conduit" and individual wires in the pipes. This is a highly competent job. The house was supplied with no fixture, but they left you enough length on the "neutral" to add one.

The wires are able to be any sensible color instead of being married to the colors built into cable. Here you have

  • White as neutral (neutrals must be white or gray).
  • Red is surely your "always-hot", but it doesn't come to the ceiling. If you need always-hot here, then add a wire to that pipe from the switch, and grab it at the switch.
  • Orange is another half of a multi-wire branch circuit. Do not mess with it.

  • Yellow is your "switched-hot" from the switch to the lamp.

It's easy to add wires to a pipe.

Where did ground go?

This installation uses non-flexible metal conduit, and that is allowed to be your ground path. I have 4 buildings that look exactly like this; this is normal.

Switches and lamps can be grounded right through the mounting screws. Receptacles cannot; search for a question on "how to ground a receptacle in metal conduit" as it's complicated.

Simple installation

Cut the white wire at the halfway point. Splice it to the neutral from the fan/lamp.

Splice the yellow to the hot(s) from the fan/lamp.

Now the switch turns the fan/lamp on/off. Presumably speed control and lamp vs fan select is on the fan itself?

Complex installation

Open up the switch box. You will see a pipe leaving it with a red, yellow and white wire. Tug on the white wire and see if it moves in the ceiling box. That's the pipe!

Shoot us a picture of what's going on inside that box, and get back to us.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    thank you for quick response. I tugged on the yellow wire going out and I saw it moving in ceiling box. Added picture to the original question. – Mahi G May 15 '19 at 16:26

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