Your Guide to Ceiling Fan Switch Wiring

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    Installing ceiling fan switch wiring is a job best left to professional electricians. However, the guide below is designed to help you understand the basics. Read on to find out more about ceiling fan switch wiring for different types of switches and ceiling fans.

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    Safety precautions before wiring a ceiling fan switch

    We will keep this section short because only a licensed electrical contractor should work on your ceiling fan electrical wiring. This guide is for informational purposes only, and we must emphasise that it’s illegal to perform electrical work in any home or workplace without the relevant qualifications and license.

    However, here are three crucial safety steps to consider.

    • Ensure power to the fan is turned off at your breaker box.
    • Use a voltage tester to confirm no current is running through the wiring.
    • Wear rubber-soled shoes and gloves, plus other protective equipment.

    When installing a ceiling fan, safety is always the number one priority.

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    Types of ceiling fan switches

    You may think a ceiling fan switch is just like any other household switch, but there are a few variations to be aware of:


    Ceiling fan pull chain switch

    Usually found on older ceiling fans, the pull chain switch is the easiest to install. The switch is already in the ceiling body, and you turn it on and off by pulling the chain. As such, no additional wiring is required.


    Ceiling fan wall switch

    One of the most common types is the wall switch. As the name suggests, this switch is attached to the wall. Its appearance varies depending on the type of fan you buy, however, it is usually a single on/off switch. Some wall switches also include a slider or knob that controls the fan speed and can be known as a ceiling fan switch 3 speed.


    Fan remote control switch

    Many modern ceiling fans offer remote control switches. They don’t require installation like a wall switch, but you’ll still need to install the ceiling box. Remote controls generally use batteries, so you just need to ensure you have a backup supply.

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    Ceiling fan with remote and wall switch

    Some ceiling fans have both a wall switch and a remote control. These give you greater flexibility but do require more installation work. These combination switches may include a pull chain to control the fan, and a wall switch for the light. This is important to remember if replacing a ceiling light with a fan and light combo.

    Identifying the wires for your ceiling fan switch installation

    Before starting any installation, you need to understand the wires you’ve got to work with. Sometimes, you may need to install a ceiling fan without existing wiring, naturally making it a little more complex. The wires to identify are in the ceiling fan and attached to the remote receiver box (or ceiling box). Depending on the fan, your remote receiver box may be inside the fan canopy or even in the roof cavity.

    1. Turn off the power.
    2. Remove the fan canopy (this is the section above the blades, usually attached to the ceiling.
    3. Locate the wires in the receiver box and the fan itself. There should be a black or red wire (the hot wire), a white wire (neutral) and a green or blue wire (the ground wire).
    4. Use a voltage tester to ensure no current is present in any wires.
    5. Connect the corresponding wire colours. For example, the receiver’s black wire should join the ceiling fan’s black wire.
    6. Secure the wires with wire nuts and electrical tape if required.
    7. Replace the fan canopy and switch the power back on.

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    Wiring a single-switch ceiling fan

    Here are the steps for wiring a single-switch ceiling fan.

    1. Turn off the power at the breaker box.
    2. Remove the cover plate from the switch box and unscrew the switch.
    3. Identify the wires as mentioned above. Connect the ceiling box wires to the ceiling fan wires by matching the wire colours. Always use a voltage tester to check for live wires.
    4. Connect the switch wires. The fan wire joins the black (hot) wire, while the other wire should connect to the white (neutral) wire.
    5. Carefully place all wires inside the switch box and mount the switch to the box.
    6. Screw the cover plate back in and reconnect the power.

    Notes for more complex ceiling fan switches

    Let’s say you’re wiring a ceiling fan and light with separate switches. Installing a double switch is more complex, however, most steps are the same. Here are the differences:

    • You’ll need to remove the existing switch from the electrical box in the wall.
    • The fan’s white (neutral) wire still connects to the neutral wire in the electrical box.
    • The fan’s black wire connects to one of the switch wires.
    • Connect the black (hot) wire from the electrical box to both switch wires.

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    There are minor changes to the installation steps depending on the switch type and ceiling fan you install. This is why you must read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. However, the safest way is to hire a professional. The cost for an electrician to install a ceiling fan is relatively small compared to the damage you might cause by attempting this job yourself. Sorted Electrical are your ceiling fan installation Brisbane experts.


    You should not attempt ceiling fan switch wiring unless you are qualified. Only a licensed electrical contractor can install a ceiling fan in your home. If something goes wrong, performing electrical work yourself can result in safety issues, voided warranties, and even insurance problems. Always call your fully licensed electricians at Sorted Electrical for any wiring work.

    Whether you need general electrical repairs, help with ceiling fan electrical wiring or the best smoke alarm installation Brisbane offers, contact the team at Sorted Electrical today. Ensure your home is ready for summer with expert ceiling fan switch wiring from our team. Offering services in Mt Gravatt, Carina, Carindale and throughout Brisbane, Sorted Electrical is your trusted name for all your electrical needs.

    Let Sorted Electrical Fix Your Electrical Worries

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