I started to change out my ceiling fan and noticed the support brace is actually laying on the drywall and not firmly attached to a beam. I also noticed the new fan has a blue wire where the wiring in the ceiling box doesn't have a red wire. The wiring coming out of the ceiling is also really too short to connect to the new fan easily.

I understand I need to get in the attic (lucky the support brace is in the attic) and fix that box properly so no weight is on the drywall. Since I will be up there I am want to also run a new electrical line and replace the single wall switch making use of the multi switch / light fan.

What type of wire should I run from the wall switch to the celling box to support the new fan's blue wire?

What type of wall switch should I install to control the fan and light independently?

  • Does the new fan have a light as well? Is there a light on the old fan? If so, were the light and fan separately controlled? Does the new fan have a remote control unit? – bib Sep 26 '13 at 2:39
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    THe new fan should come with a complete wiring diagram. – DA01 Sep 26 '13 at 2:49
  • @bib The new fan does have a light ( hence the blue wire, right? ). There is a light on the old fan. The light and fan were not separately controlled. The new fan does not have a remote control unit. – iambriansreed Sep 26 '13 at 6:09

The type of wire you use depends on what kind of circuit you are attaching to. Go to your electrical box, find the circuit for the current light switch, and read what it is rated for (probably 15 or 20 amps). If it is 15 then you use 14-3 wire. If it is 20 then you need 12-3 wire. The "3" will give you an extra red wire and that will be used to separate your fan and light controls. If you feel that you will have additional electrical work down the road I suggest buying in the 250 feet spools. Wire goes quickly and the smaller samples are pretty costly. You might pay almost half for 25 feet what 250 would cost you.

For the switch you need to simply go to the big box and go in their fan section and they will have a few choices for fan/light combo switches. Just make sure there are two controls on the switch. I just installed the one below and it works well.

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  • Perfect. I think you answered it all. I finally RTFM and reviewed the wiring diagram. That switch above is in the manual as an example of the switch I can use. I will def go in that direction. Do you pull the string to set it at the highest fan speed then use the slider to change it? I take for granted the switch will come with its own wiring diagram. Thanks! – iambriansreed Sep 26 '13 at 6:21
  • Honestly I am not sure about the string. This went into our bedroom and I cannot stand hearing the string rattle at night so I took it off. Not sure what we set it at before I took it off but I remember testing it for a few minutes. – DMoore Sep 26 '13 at 14:38
  • OK my plan then is to slide the fan wall switch all the way up. Pull the cord until it's at the highest setting. Slide the fan wall switch all the way down then remove the cord. Thanks! – iambriansreed Sep 26 '13 at 14:51
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    Actually if the power goes to the fan box first, you should use 14-4 or 12-4 so that you have a neutral in the switch box. If the power goes to the switch box first, then 12-3 or 14-3 is indeed sufficient. – Brad Gilbert Sep 26 '13 at 21:14
  • Also, if you're not completely sure if your current wiring is #12 or #14, you can just use #12. It's always fine to use bigger wire than you need (smaller # = bigger wire), but the opposite is not true, plus the cost difference isn't much. And if you're buying a big spool to get extra, then I definitely recommend #12, so that you can use it on all general purpose circuits in your house. – Nate S. Jul 15 '19 at 20:48

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