I'm looking to add a dimmer switch to the lights on my ceiling fan and have the fan part of it work by pulling the chain. The ceiling fan is pretty standard, 4-wire as shown below. Is the following an acceptable approach to connect the dimmer to the light?

Fan Dimmer Connection Diagram https://www.protoolreviews.com/wiring-connecting-ceiling-fan/

Everywhere I read, people say not to connect a dimmer to a ceiling fan (maybe they just mean the motor). The only thing I can think of is the fan and light now share the same return path, but that shouldn't be an issue, correct?

In the end I plan on connecting some recessed lighting to the ceiling fan light, but I wanted to keep this question simpler and to the point.

  • If the switch is new work install a three conductor cable, code requires neutral at new switch locations. or a 4 conductor (4 + earth) if you may want a wall mouted fan control in the future. (if you're just upgrading an existing switch you don't need to replace the existing cable)
    – Jasen
    Oct 5, 2021 at 10:13
  • Thanks for the tip, just replacing an existing switch and I don't plan on replacing the cable. Oct 5, 2021 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


You're fine, don't worry about it

The reason why people say "don't connect a dimmer to a ceiling fan" is as you suspect -- they're talking about hooking a dimmer up to a ceiling fan's motor, which makes for both an unhappy dimmer and an unhappy motor. (You need a special fan speed controller instead.) With separate hots to the fan and light, as you describe, you are free to put whatever sort of control fanciness you wish on the light without affecting the fan.

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