I want to install a ceiling fan with a light in a spare bedroom with no ceiling wiring. What size wire do I need to use to install with cord management channels and plug into an outlet controlled by a switch?

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    I'm 90% certain that running a ceiling fan off of an outlet is a code violation. Permanent fixtures such as ceiling fans usually have to be installed in a permanent fashion. Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 10:05
  • Were are you located?
    – auujay
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 15:20
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    @TheEvilGreebo It's perfectly fine to power any listed and approved fan from a switched receptacle provided that the conductor and cord cap are rated appropriately, and a suitable raceway is used (e.g. wiremold). What remains is, the fan must be attached to a fan rated box that is suitably supported, and conductors must enter and leave the raceway in a suitable manner. Still, if using wiremold, the cord cap is kind of obviated with a single gang extension box.
    – Tim Post
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 14:03
  • @TimPost I've heard contradicting opinions on this - any chance of a citation? Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 14:30
  • @TheEvilGreebo I'm writing an answer to this that I probably won't finish tonight. Finding links to the materials needed that don't lead to spammy 'pester you with Facebook' sites is sadly .. quite difficult, never mind citations :)
    – Tim Post
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


If you want to plug the ceiling fan into an outlet I would say don't. Electrical receptacles are a source of unnecessary resistance. Merely alter the receptacle to a wiremould style box and run the wiremould (through a switch box) to the ceiling fan, making sure you have a good mechanical connection (e.g. wire nuts) within the receptacle/junction box(es). I won't go into cable fill violations here - it's easy enough to parse on the webs. As far as AWG goes - it's easy to determine based on length of run and wattage of aforementioned ceiling fan. It's a safe bet that 14 ga. or larger is sufficient to run any ceiling fan. Individual wires of many gauges are available at most hardware stores in the US. Tim Post's comment above with regard to the single gang extension box and the suitably supported fan-rated box still apply, and should be given more thought than picking the wire gauge.

Good luck with your air movement! Paul

  • In the Legrand metallic raceway line, the box the OP wants is a BW4F, btw. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 1:24

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