I have a three speed ceiling fan that came with my house. It's about 14 years old now. It's never given me problems but right now it won't turn off. The four position wall switch (Off-low-medium-high) still regulates the speed of the fan except for the off position which seems to leave the fan running in low speed.

I'm therefore thinking the fan is probably ok but the switch may need replacement. How long do these wall switches usually last, or is there no known life expectancy on these items?

Also, could I be wrong about the issue and could it be the ceiling fan itself that has a problem?

  • Is the wall switch hard wired or does it have a battery? – bib Nov 17 '13 at 23:09
  • It is hard wired. But check the answers section, I gambled and it worked! – Bernard Dy Nov 18 '13 at 0:36

Ok, I don't have an answer about average multi-position switch longevity, but I went ahead and went on my hunch that this was a switch issue and not a fan issue. I found a replacement switch that was almost identical to my broken one and replaced it, and the problem is now solved. I had to look in envy at the other newer switches that use an analog slider to give finer control over the fan speed. But because they had different switch dimensions and because my current fan switch was already in a wall port with a faceplate featuring three switch slots, I went with the part that matched mine.

So, on a sample size of 1, the duration of a wired four-position ceiling fan switch is 14 years.

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The switch's life is certainly measured in "switchings" not years. Though a switch not ever "switched" probably would stop working after 50–70 years from material decomposition.

I would guess a plastic switch's life is usually in the 3000 to 10,000 cycle range and a metal one about twice that.

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