The lights attached to a ceiling fan have gone dead. I tested the switches with a voltage tester, and they seem to be working fine. I'm going to recount the whole saga in the hopes that someone can spare me having to call in an electrician for what I suspect is a trivial fix.

  1. I replaced the halogen light bulbs (e11) with LEDs. They worked fine for weeks.
  2. I replaced the non-dimmer light switch with a Lutron Sunnata touch switch. This worked for a few days. Then the LEDs starting flickering and after a few days went dead entirely.
  3. I removed the Sunnata and put in the old dumb switch, but the light remained dead. The voltage tester seems to indicate that everything is working fine. The circuit completes when the switch is the ON position.
  4. Figuring the LEDs were fried, I put in a new halogen bulb. Still nothing. Incidentally, the voltage tester does not show any voltage in the light socket itself, regardless of switch position.

A final note: the ceiling fan has never worked (I moved in about a year ago).

My guess is that the switch and the wiring seem OK, and most likely the ceiling fan unit itself is dead and needs to be replaced. It seems weird that the thing died when I changed out the light switch, but that was either a coincidence or the new switch somehow pushed an ailing unit over the edge. Am I thinking about this correctly?

Switches Fan unit Lights

  • Would think the problem is at the fan. Your idea about pushing it over is probably close. Need LEDs that work with dimmers, not all do. Two minor problems with the switch on the right, one is too much copper showing on the single wire, second should only have one wire per screw. Use a short wire connected to the other two with a wire nut or wago connector.
    – crip659
    Jan 15, 2023 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


Problem is the whole fan unit itself. not your switches or wiring or LED bulbs.

Figuring the LEDs were fried, I put in a new halogen bulb. Still nothing. Incidentally, the voltage tester does not show any voltage in the light socket itself, regardless of switch position

What that tells me is that the internal wiring of the fan that delivers electricity to the connected bulbs is hosed. You can check that, unfortunately, by removing the fan itself and then checking with your volt meter electrical wires in the celling. If you have electricity there but not through internal fan mechanism then you have your answer.

If I were you I remove the entire fan and then wire a recessed light in its place. That will fix your problem and help you finally remove that dead ugly fan from the celling :)

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    – Community Bot
    Jan 15, 2023 at 20:20

The fact that the fan doesn't work indicates that there may be a problem with the neutral at the fan, which usually is tied to the lights as well. The other possible issues: Is there is a remote involved? Some of the newer remotes have to be "reprogramed" when there is a power outage. ( I know it's a pain!) There is a remote and it has failed at the receiver in the fan canopy.

I believe taking down the fan and doing some testing is in order here.

  • There is a remote, and I’ve never looked into getting it working (I don’t really use fans). Let me check that out. If the problem is the neutral, how would I diagnose that? Jan 15, 2023 at 17:53
  • @HotDogWater look for a loose or missing connection on a white or grey wire.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 16, 2023 at 13:40

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