I am trying to separate the light and fan to two separate switches. I took the black wires apart and tried each one separate. One did nothing, and the other turned on both. I’m assuming this means I would have to run a new wire, but wanted another opinion. Thanksenter image description here

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    – FreeMan
    Jul 22 '20 at 22:14
  • Are you OK with using some sort of "smart switch" for this job? Jul 22 '20 at 23:33
  • I’m not sure what kind of smart switch would fix this issue
    – Mel mo
    Jul 23 '20 at 23:19

You don't have enough wires right now

Right now, all you have is a single hot, a neutral, and a grounding wire running from the switch box up to the fan and light. As a result, with a plain wall switch and the existing wiring, all you can do is turn the light and fan off and on at the same time. Splitting the two would either require replacing the existing /2 cable between the switch and the light/fan with a /3 cable, or using communicating "smart" switches to let you put a two-button remote at the wallbox and matching relay modules at the light and fan so they can be turned on and off by signals from the remote. (My recommendation for this sort of "spot" retrofit work is Insteon gear; while seemingly pricy, it doesn't need a hub device, a cloud server, or WiFi to work, and it's much more adaptable to the realities of mains wiring installations than stuff made by IoT gadget makers.)


With just 2 cables each only having 1 hot , 1 cable is bringing the power in and the other is taking it to the fan light assembly , you would need another conductor in the cable that goes to the fan light to be able to separate them.

  • So Essentially another wire running up to the light in the fan?
    – Mel mo
    Jul 23 '20 at 23:20
  • Yes . But a single wire would violate code we normally replace the 14-2 or 12-2 with 14-3 or 12-3 . This cable has the extra conductor.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 24 '20 at 7:54

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