I hadn't run into any trouble with replacing the ceiling fans in my older home (~21 years old) until today when I attempted to swap out the ceiling fan in our bonus room. Thinking this would be a relatively simple swap, I haphazardly inspected the previous wiring while disassembling the old ceiling fan, and now, of course, I'm regretting that decision after multiple failed attempts to get the new ceiling fan wired up the same way.

After trying to do some research on my own to figure out the wiring confusion, I mostly came to the conclusion that my wiring setup is pretty atypical for the sort of connections I'm trying to achieve since there is no red wire available. Previously, the old ceiling fan and light kit was connected to two wall switches (one controlling the fan and one for the light) with two 2-wire (black, white, ground) cable runs feeding in to the switch and one 2-wire cable going out to a nearby receptacle. I've left all of this intact as it was working just fine before I tore out the old fixture.

Needless to say, the source of confusion is at the ceiling's junction box. There's two 2-wire (black, white, ground) cables feeding into the box, where the first cable appears to run out to the wall switches and only works for the ceiling fan's switch when I make the right connections. The issue I'm having is with getting the light switch working using the other cable: It seems to be a power supply rather than a run out to the light switch because I'm only ever able to get the light to work with the pull chain. Both the old and new ceiling fan's wiring are standard - white, blue, and black.

Long story short, after trying multiple combinations of wire connections for hours, I just can't seem to get the light switch working at all with the new ceiling fan whereas both switches had been working before with the old ceiling fan. The best result that I've gotten thus far is that the ceiling fan's wall switch is working as expected, but the light is only working via pull chain. I'm stumped to say the least and could use any help there is to be offered (wiring diagrams greatly appreciated).

Junction Box in Ceiling Switch Box in Wall

EDIT: I'm also adding a makeshift wiring diagram below of what I assume should be the correct connections. However, as diagrammed, these connections only work for the fan switch and do not work for the light switch (but pull chain for light does work) as I previously stated.

Current Wiring Diagram

  • what color are the wires out of the fan? Do you have a wire, maybe blue, labeled for the light?
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 1:35
  • @JACK, I updated my post to include this information, but as you mentioned, yes, both the old and new fan's have the same standard wiring - blue (light), black (fan), and white. Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 10:30
  • 2
    Do you have an electrical tester for 120V?
    – Ray
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 13:23
  • Have the light on by pulling the pull chain. Turn the power off and remove the black wire from the left side of the light switch. That should be the wire going to the light. Turn the power back on and see if the fan works as it should. The light should be off. If it is, take the wire you disconnected from the switch and touch it against the black wire on the right side of the fan switch. If the light goes on, then you have a bad switch.
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


Thanks to the comments from JACK and Ray, I was able to use an electrical tester to try the circuits. After ruling on any problems there, I went ahead and swapped the switches for the ceiling fan and light (keeping the wiring as is), and lo and behold, the fan was running constant (only working with the pull chain) and the light switch was now working as expected, so ultimately the issue I was having was indeed with a faulty switch. I swapped it out with a new one, and everything is back up and running. Thanks all!

  • I'm glad you got this working, and thanks for posting your answer. Please give yourself a check-mark so that others know there's a resolution, too.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 14:39

Normally, in the junction box, you would connect the white wires together with the white wire from the fan. Then connect the black wire from the fan wall switch to the black wire coming out of the fan and then connect the black wire from the light wall switch to the blue wire from the fan labeled "light". Finally, connect any ground wires from the fan to the bare copper wires in the junction box. Good luck

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