I am trying to hook up a ceiling exhaust fan. I am going to run 2 switches, light and fan separate. The line in power from box is just 14 ga blk and white. My house was built in 60s. I don't know how to do this since I have no red wire. Electrical is not my strong suite in construction so I need a little guidance.


You're going to need to run new wire, which can be tricky.

ASSUMPTION - There is a wire from the panel to the switchbox. If the supply goes directly to the fixture first, then this does not apply!!!

  • Turn off power to the circuit.
  • Remove the existing fixture. See if you can get the mounting box out.
  • Feel along the wire and remove the staple attaching the wire to the structure.
  • Do the same at the switch box.
  • Hopefully, your wire will move now if you pull it gently at one end.
  • Take some 14-3 wire and strip a few inches of the outer insulation off. (A dull carpet knife works great!)
  • Tie one of the strands of the new wire to one of the old. Wrap the entire connection in electrical tape.
  • Pull the old wire out, and the new wire will follow it in.
  • Replace staples to the best of your ability.

If you can't get the wire to move, you're going to have to break and patch the drywall, which can be a pain.

Wiring - The other wire in your switchbox should be the supply from the panel. - Cut two pieces of black wire, and pigtail them to the supply black with an appropriate sized wire nut. (You are splitting the wire into two). - Wire each end of this pigtail to a separate switch. - Wire the 14-3 black to one switch, the red to the other. - Wire the whites together with a nut. - Connect the ground to the box and the supply ground. - Connect the fixture at the other end according to manufacturers instructions.

  • Put the switches back in the box with one screw each. Make sure the connections don't touch.
  • Test.
  • Reinstall the other screws, faceplates etc. enter image description here
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    There should be staples securing the cable every few feet. Using an old cable to pull a new one almost never works, especially if the wiring is original to the home. – Tester101 May 29 '15 at 15:29
  • Depends on the length of the run. However, if the joists are drilled, they won't be stapled. – Chris Cudmore May 29 '15 at 17:54
  • Not gonna happen in about 99% of installs. You either work with the wire you have, or you repair drywall. – Ecnerwal Jun 28 '15 at 15:55
  • @ecnerwal: that's a huge It Depends. If the wires aren't stapled, and one has access to them eg via the attic, using the old three-conductor wire to pull 4-conductor through the wall to/from the switch is often quite easy. Combine that with a unit which puts two switches in a single-sized box, and you've got what's needed. Did that for a ceiling fan installation; someone had previously done the same for a bathroom light/vent unit which seems to be what the querant is asking about. – keshlam Jun 28 '15 at 17:43

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