I'm in the US. My kitchen currently has a ceiling fan + light combo that is controlled by a single switch. The switch is at the far end of the kitchen (next to the outside door) and I'd like to add a second switch near the dining room (i.e. replace existing single-pole switch w/ two 3-way switches).

I'm pretty familiar with what that involves, but I'd also like to add another switch near the dining room so that I can control the fan independently (both these would be in the same 2-gang box). So the existing switch that currently controls both would just control the lights, but I could also control both the fan+light from near the dining room.

The ceiling fan/light combo would physically be located between the two sets of switches.

So my plan is to run 12/4 from the existing location to the fan/light ceiling box, with two hots for the 3-way switch and one "always hot" for the fan switch. Then I'd need two cables from the ceiling box, one 12/3 and the other 12/2 (in these I'd use the white wire as the switched line for both).

Does this sound like a reasonable setup? I've included a rough diagram of what I have in mind below.

As a follow-up question, my local home store currently does not have any 12/4 NM but they do have 12/2/2. Can I use that instead as long as I properly mark any white wires which are used as hot?

schematic of proposed wiring

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    One thing I would recommend is extending your neutral to the second switch box. I believe current code requires that even if you aren't currently using it so that smart switches and the like can be installed in the future. Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 3:24
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    Thanks, I did think of that (not sure what version of NEC my town is on) but wasn't sure if that's too many wires going into the 2-gang box. I'll see if there's enough room in the wall to put a deeper box once I cut it open.
    – Tobias J
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


Electrically your diagram will work as you want. Yes you can mark white conductors with black electrical tape to signify they are hot. Also is this circuit being fed from a 20 amp breaker? 12 gauge wire seems excessive for a fan and light.

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    Thanks, and yeah it's being fed from a 20 amp breaker. It's an older house and there's too much on that breaker honestly but adding a whole new circuit would be too much work!
    – Tobias J
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 15:33

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