I had a ceiling fan in my kitchen (large vaulted ceilings with attic access) that I replaced with a new ceiling fan. Before the switch the fan and lights for the fan worked perfect. The new fan does not funciton. I have tried switching the wires at both the switch and at the fan box and neither worked. I was also replacing other fans in my house so I tried that same fan in another room and it worked without fail. What should I try next?

  • What electrical test equipment do you have? You need to make sure that the switch is working correctly and that voltage is getting to the junction box. – Niall C. Aug 7 '15 at 19:28
  • I didn't think to check the power since the fan that I took down worked fine, but I will hit it with the voltmeter and check – Jordan Bennett Aug 7 '15 at 19:30
  • Could you describe how you wired it? Does the new fixture have a remote control module? Did you make sure the direction selection switch is in the correct position, and not stuck in the middle? – Tester101 Aug 7 '15 at 20:15
  • The same way the old one came off is the way i put the new one up. Black to the black and blue wires and white to white (obviously grounded as well). I thought maybe the light was messing it up so i took off the light portion of the fan but still no dice. There is no remote and both the old fixture and new fixture are flush mounts. I checked selection switch and like I said i even put up fans from other rooms that I knew worked. – Jordan Bennett Aug 7 '15 at 20:18


The first thing to check, is to verify that the pull switch on the fan (if applicable) is not in the OFF position. And that the circuit breaker, and wall switch are both on.

Verify there's power at the fan

After the simple ON/OFF test, the next thing to check is that the fixture is getting power.

  • Set your multimeter to measure AC volts.
  • Put the wall switch to in the ON position.
  • Touch one probe to the grounding conductor, or grounding screw.
  • Put the other probe into the twist-on wire connector with the ungrounded (hot) conductors, so that the probe makes contact with the metal cap inside.
  • Note the reading on the meter.
  • Toggle the wall switch to the other position.
  • Note the reading on the meter.

The first reading should be line voltage (120 volts), and the second should be 0 volts. If you're getting 0 volts with the switch in both positions, you'll want to move the investigation to the switch. If you're getting the proper readings, you'll want to inspect the fixture.

Test the switch

If there's no power getting to the fixture, you'll want to see if there's power at the switch, and if the switch is functioning properly.

  • Set your multimeter to read AC volts.
  • Toggle the switch into the OFF position.
  • Touch one probe to each of the switch terminals.
  • Note the reading on the meter.
  • Toggle the switch to the ON position.
  • Note the reading on the meter.

When the switch is in the OFF position, you should measure line voltage (120 volts). When the switch is in the ON position, you should measure 0 volts. If this test okay, but you're not getting power to the outlet. You'll want to check the wires between the switch and the outlet.

Check the fixture

It's always possible for a fixture to be DOA, so you'll not want to rule out that possibility. The first thing to try, is to give the fan a push with your hand. Make sure the motor rotates freely, and isn't getting bound up. Next, check any switches of buttons. Making sure they're in the proper positions, and not between states.

If all that checks out. You can either continue to dive deeper, or simply return the fan and try a new one.

If you want to continue troubleshooting the fan, the first thing to check would be the pull switch. Make sure it physically works, i.e. it actually changes state when pulled. Then you can check the motor windings, to make sure the motor is good. Aside from that, I don't think there's much to these things. So exchanging the fixture might be the final solution.


"I have tried switching the wires at both the switch and at the fan box and neither worked." this is a really bad idea. One wire is hot, one is neutral, and one is grounded. The fan is designed to work with each one connected properly and in no other way. You could have easily blown a fuse, breaker or insulation in the fan by connecting it improperly. Sorry to be harsh, but it sounds like you don't know what you are doing and are unsafe, you should hire an electrician.

  • I talked to an electrician and he said in some of the houses that were built in my area at the time that the wires sometimes got crossed from the switch to the light box. I wasn't comfortable with it myself but he's been an electrician for 25+ years. Regardless, it didn't work and I still have a fan that won't work. I replaced the other 5 fans, and 6 light fixtures no problem so this one has been bugging me. I have been doing light electical work like this for 15 years myself. – Jordan Bennett Aug 7 '15 at 19:23
  • If "I have been doing light electical work like this for 15 years myself" Then pull out a DMM and a load and figure it out. I would try a light bulb in place of the fan in the kitchen. – Sam Aug 7 '15 at 20:30
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    @Sam, I know it can be frustrating when you are an SME responding to questions that seem simple to you. It is possible that the OP has expertise in a field you know nothing about as well. This is a Home Improvement site and although not necessarily DIY, simple home electrical troubleshooting is within the capabilities of many folks if they have a bit of help. A response like Tester 101 gave would be more helpful than a curt comment. – Jimmy Fix-it Aug 7 '15 at 20:54

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