Ceiling Fan Wiring: 5 Installation Questions Answered

Man installing a ceiling fan

Ceiling fan wiring brings up a lot of questions for DIY enthusiasts when installing ceiling fans. If this is the first time you have installed a ceiling fan, you do not need to get apprehensive about doing it on your own. Below are five installation questions and answers about ceiling fans that will leave you feeling more informed.

Question #1 - What are the two controls of ceiling fans?

There are two types of wall controls of ceiling fans. The first type requires two different hot wires while the other type only requires one wire. The second is less expensive than the first. Deciding which type of control you should choose depends on your budget. Moreover, if you choose the single wire type, this means you can easily control the fan without any confusion, since the controls you are going to work with are minimal, compared to the double wire type.

Question #2 - How many wires does a ceiling fan have?

wires hanging from a ceiling fan

Ceiling fans mostly come with four wires, one of which is the ground. The colors of the wires vary but most standard wires are white, back, green, and another color depending on the manufacturer. The additional color can be blue, red, black or white. The black wire is usually the hot lead that runs the fan motor, while the additional colors are the hot lead for the light kit, and the green wire serves as the ground for the assembly. The white wire is usually attached to the neutral lead from the wiring of the house. On the other hand, some houses do not have a separate ground lead (green wire) and this system uses a metal conduit instead.

Question #3 - What is the wiring if I have a remote controlled ceiling fans?

Remote controlled ceiling fans only comes with one hot lead, to control both light and fan, since both fixtures are controlled by an internal remote receiver.

Question #4 - What about dimmer switches?

Row of dimmer switches

Dimmer switches should not be used together with ceiling fans. The switch is attached to a motor, and will control the motor speed. Constant use of the dimmer switch will lead the ceiling fan motor to overheat, eventually leading to ceiling fan failure over time.

Question #5 - Is bad wiring responsible for ceiling fans catching fire or overheated motors?

In most cases, an overheated motor renders the ceiling fan broken, but it is not the immediate cause why most ceiling fans catch fire. Bad wiring is often responsible for ceiling fans catching fire. One cause of faulty wiring is backstabbed wires. These are wires that are pushed back by the other wires, thus loosening their connections. Loose wires can cause flying sparks, and sparks can eventually cause a fire. This is the reason why it is important to always check the wiring of your ceiling fan every year, to ensure that it is still in good condition.