I recently tried installing a remote controlled ceiling fan in a bedroom and planned on having it tied into the current switch. This switch only controls an outlet on the other side of the room and the romex can be found in the attic. My hope was instead of trying to fish a new romex from the fan to the switch, I could add a junction box in the attic and splice into the line thats there. After trying a few different wiring configurations, I have yet to get the fan or its light on using the remote. Also when I plug in a lamp to the switched outlet, it is dim and then flashes repeatedly.

There is only a black, white, and ground into the switch. As for the outlet, there is a black installed on the bottom right side (switched tab is not broken) and then two white wires on the left side. It looks as though the white wire that is associated with the black wire in the outlet has a wire nut with two black wires leaving the box. I'd assume one of these is to the switch. Since the remote control on the fan handles light and fan speed, there is only a black, white, and ground coming out of the fan.

As it stands I cut the wire between the switch and the outlet and put them into a junction box in the attic with a 3rd romex that goes to the fan. I am at a loss with how to wire this up and starting to think I have to start over somehow. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks for the quick response, that makes a lot of sense and I wish I asked here prior to all the wiring configurations I tried.

If I may ask, what would be the best solution to this? I don't really care if the outlet is switched any more since I will have a light with the fan anyway. Can I take that white wire (the one wire nutted to the 2 hot lines) and pigtail that into the neutral of the outlet? I think I'd have to add a pigtail to the two remaining hot lines and attach that to the outlet as well. This might be way too much in one box however so I'm open to suggestions.

  • 1
    Your switch wiring is a "switch loop". It carries 'hot' from the outlet (the white wire nutted with the pair of back wires) and 'switched-hot' (the single back wire) back to the outlet - but there is no neutral in that cable. You cannot use it to supply your fan.
    – brhans
    Jul 25, 2022 at 1:14

1 Answer 1


You have an old-style switch loop, which was 100% legitimate when installed, but you should not use that for a new switch, because switch boxes are now required to have neutral. Plus you have other messes. So:

  • Connect all the black wires in the receptacle box together with a wire nut and add one more short black wire (pigtail) and connect the pigtail to one of the hot screws on the receptacle. Repeat for white to neutral. With the other end of the cut switch wires disconnected, power on and verify the receptacle works properly (steady bright light when used with a lamp, ~ 120V, good readout from 3-light "magic 8-ball" tester). Turn power off and continue...
  • Remove the cut switch loop cable from the switch. You can leave the cable sitting in the wall (easiest that way if it is stapled to the studs) but it should not (for a bunch of reasons) have an end in the attic or switch boxes.
  • Add a new 3-wire cable (that's black/white/red plus ground) from the fan/light box to the switch. Black and red connect to the switch. White is not used for a simple switch but required for possible future installation of a smart switch. Ground to box (if metal) or switch.
  • In the attic box make sure the split part of the original cable (from the receptacle, the old switch part is gone) and the new cable to the fan/light box are solidly connected with wire nuts (blacks together, whites together, grounds together) and those connections should be inside a junction box, preferably metal, securely attached to the structure.
  • In the fan/light box: attic box black to switch black; attic box white to fan/light white and switch white; switch red to fan/light black; all grounds together. Turn on power and test.

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