Hi someone was cleaning the dust off a ceiling fan in my house today and the screw broke off from the ceiling so we had to take it apart to fix it.

Now we are trying to figure out the wiring the person that removed it didn't check what went into what. The ceiling has a black wire, blue wire and a green wire which I guess is the ground. The ceiling fan has a white wire, blue wire and black wire. The black wire on the ceiling fan says motor, blue says light and white says neutral.

We tried the obvious black to black and blue to blue it didn't seem to work at all. We then tried black to black and blue and white to blue. And that seems to get the fan working but the light doesn't and switch on the wall is able to turn the fan off and on with this wiring.

Also the fan has two pull cords one of the light and one for the fan. It also has a switch on the side I guess to turn it off since the fan won't spin when its pushed to one side.

Are we doing something wrong? We thought of trying the blue/black from ceiling fan to the black on the ceiling since the black is working for the motor but we aren't sure if that was dangerous to try.

Also the fan is a Harbor Breeze brand unit.

The wiring from the fan. Wiring from fan

The wiring from the ceiling. Wiring from ceiling

Also here is a closer picture of the green wire its only connected to the screw on the bracket on the ceiling. I don't see anywhere it goes on the ceiling fan.

Green ground wire

  • Where do you live?
    – Mazura
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 2:13

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Whoever installed your ceiling fan had some terminal screws loose

The good news is that the green wire is unmistakably tagged as an equipment grounding conductor, and was likely not the current return path in the original wiring configuration. The bad news is that whoever originally wired this did a hack job, deciding to use some blue wire they had left over from the last hack job as a neutral wire (grounded conductor), which grossly violates NEC 200.6(A):

200.6 Means of Identifying Grounded Conductors.

(A) Sizes 6 AWG or Smaller. An insulated grounded conductor of 6 AWG or smaller shall be identified by one of the following means:

(1) A continuous white outer finish.

(2) A continuous gray outer finish.

(3) Three continuous white or gray stripes along the conductor's entire length on other than green insulation.

Now that that facepalm moment is out of the way, it's possible to fix this by nutting the blue and black conductors from the fan to the black wire from the ceiling, and the white wire from the fan to the blue wire from the ceiling. While you're up there, please, please, please tag the blue wire from the ceiling with a piece of white electrical tape -- there's no way to bring the current situation fully up to Code without ripping out the offending neutral wire and replacing it with a white or grey wire, but a tag will at least keep the next electrician's eyeballs from frying when he or she stares at your ceiling fan's wiring.

  • Thank you very much. I will try the Black/Blue to Black(ceiling) and white to blue(ceiling) and will mark the blue one with tape. I am not too familiar with wiring so again thanks. I don't know who did this wiring but pretty sure its been like that from before we moved in which was a very long time ago over 15 years. The wiring in our house is definitely not great. I probably will look into rewiring the whole house but yea from what I understand it can be incredibly expensive which is why we had the same wiring since we moved in.
    – Eureca
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 3:10

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