I have a Harbor Breeze ceiling fan with 4 lights in my kitchen that dims after I turn it on.

The house is over 100 years old and has been through multiple remodels. It appears as though that the kitchen light was originally a 3 way, as when I tried to replace what I thought was a faulty light switch, I was greeted with a 3 way switch. I have no idea where the other 3 way switch is located. I have manipulated all of the switches in the house and this 3 way switch has no sibling.

When I moved in, the kitchen light came to full brightness. I replaced the 40w incandescent bulbs with LEDs (one of the original bulbs was missing). The first day after the replacement, the lights came to full brightness. Over time, they are dimmer and dimmer when I turn the light on. If I smash the switch on, they come to full illumination, only to dim.

What am I doing wrong?

  • "Harbor Brothers" -- did you mean "Harbor Breeze"? Mar 24, 2021 at 23:37
  • Can you turn the lights on without the fan? Are you sure it is a 3 way switch. I used to regularly put 3 conductors in rooms of spec houses as a “feature” you could add a fan and have the fan and lights on separate circuits. Some electricians have scanners that inject a signal on the wires and the detector can read through the walls even conduit and trace the wires down. If it is a 3 way it would not be the first time hearing or seeing one that was so mis wired only 1 switch worked. If the lights get brighter with the fan on a low speed it may be a loose electrical connection.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 25, 2021 at 16:04
  • I determined it was a three way switch after realizing there was no wire connected to the ground post and yet there were three wires going to the switch. I had originally attempted to replaced the switch because I thought that was the problem. When I got it out of the wall I saw the wiring oddity. Mar 25, 2021 at 23:30
  • I disconnected the lighting assembly and determined there was 120V to the lighting assembly. For the first few minutes after I reconnected the assembly the lights returned to original brightness. Over the span of a few hours they dimmed to their current, mostly useless, illumination. Mar 25, 2021 at 23:32
  • @navigationalchris can you take voltage measurements as the lights are dimming? Mar 26, 2021 at 2:52

1 Answer 1


Significant change to the original problem: The lighting dimmed because the current regulator in the fan burned (or was burning) up. I took it apart and found significant charring and plastic deformation inside.

I bought a similar model from ReStore and Frankensteined the two together into one working fan.

The three way switch had no impact on the fault as should have been noticed since the observed fan speeds only slowed when the light was turned on.

Thank you to those who read my problem and tried to help me solve it.

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