My living room has 2 switches. 1 controlling the ceiling fan the other switch controlling the ceiling fan light. From the panel, I believe it's 14/2 into the box, pigtailed to the two switches, then it goes 14/3 to the ceiling fan box.

I want to add 4 recessed lights, can I just run 14/2 wire from the recessed lights to the ceiling fan box and connect white to all whites, ground to all grounds, and black to black, leaving the red (from switch) to black (to the ceiling fan / light combo)?

Resulting in me controlling the ceiling fan and light on 1 switch and recessed lighting on another or am I missing something here?

Is this also a multibranch? Would this be considered shared neutrals? (I don't believe so since the neutrals are all tied in the switch box.)

  • The existing switches are just switches, right, not anything fancier? Sep 18, 2021 at 3:23

1 Answer 1


Not only is what you propose perfectly allowed, but I do it all the time. Pretty standard practice.

And it's not a MWBC because it's the same current on both wires. A MWBC has a wire from each hot leg in your panel (i.e. adjacent breakers usually vertically) and a single neutral giving you two separate 120v circuits. You only need one neutral in this case because only one leg uses the neutral wire per half cycle (60hz in US).

  • "only one leg uses the neutral wire per half cycle", no, neutral carries the current difference (full cycle) between the branches because branches carrier counter-phase AC, e.g. 12A - 10A equals 2A neutral.
    – P2000
    Sep 19, 2021 at 21:41
  • It carries the unbalanced current. So if you were to put the breakers of an MWBC on the same leg, you could overload the neutral. Not to mention whatever third order harmonic currents may be present.
    – DrSparks
    Sep 19, 2021 at 22:24
  • "unbalanced" or "difference" is semantics. "only one leg uses the neutral wire per half cycle" is incorrect. The two branches are full cycle and out of phase, not half-cycle.
    – P2000
    Sep 19, 2021 at 23:03
  • Leg A goes from 0 to peak and 0 in one half cycle. Leg B is 90% out of phase with leg A. How is what I said incorrect?
    – DrSparks
    Sep 20, 2021 at 23:42
  • 1
    Yes it's 180 sorry. Half of 360 is 180.
    – DrSparks
    Sep 21, 2021 at 2:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.