As part of some remodeling that I am doing, I am considering adding a switch to the wall switch box and a running 14/3 cable to the ceiling fan to control the fan and light (possible future addition) with separate switches.

I do not plan to add a light just yet (if ever).

I would terminate the hot wire inside the ceiling fan box with a wire nut. Is this safe practice? Or, should I only add the switch if I connect a light at the other end?

  • For what it's worth, this was done in new construction when my house was built in the dining room. There's only ever been a light there, but there's a separate, unused switch on the wall for a fan and light.
    – JPhi1618
    Dec 29, 2015 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


Number one thing, I'd mark the reserved wires in the switch box and the ceiling box so when you open things up in the future it's clear what's what. I also write myself notes inside the cover plate with a sharpie.

I'd connect the grounds and neutrals at both ends and cap the hots with wire nuts. I'd not put a switch in the switchbox, I'd leave a blank there. (Use Decora style switches.)

If you ever put the light and separate switch in, it will be easy; if you never do, it will be safe; if you decide to do something different that you haven't even thought of now, it will be easy to see what's there and available.

If you really want the maximum flexibility you could run conduit from the switch box to the fixture, depending on the framing and the layout it might not be all that hard with ENT (the blue stuff).

  • Yes, of course. Just because the 3rd wire of the 14/3 is being installed it doesn't mean it needs to be connected. Thanks for providing clarity in my thinking and for the documentation tips.
    – Irazu
    Dec 29, 2015 at 19:12

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