Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Old cieling fan, I never noticed there is no chain for the lights
6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Old cieling fan, I never noticed there is no chain for the lights

Before I start to dig into it, I want to get a few ideas on what to look for.

I never had a need to operate the fan without the light on, so I never noticed that I cant turn the light off without turning all power off to the fan at the switch. Now I want to be able to kill the light as the fan is in a nursery, and I want the fan on at night.

Fan is a Casablanca, no model number I can see, and is at least 30 years old, but runs great.
One pull chain operates the fan motor (on or off) and there is a rotary dial for fan speed along with the direction toggle switch. No other chain, no hole that looks like a chain was ripped out of it.

My first thought is that the unit was designed to be run on two switches, one for light, one for fan. If that is the case my solution is run 14/3 from the fan to the switchbox, and install a second switch. My concern there is that switch may be on a switch loop. If there is a switch loop, do I want to go with 14/4, or is there another solution I am missing?

Any thoughts would be great, and no I have not yet opened up the fan to check the internals, that is a project for the weekend.

Re: Old cieling fan, I never noticed there is no chain for the lights

Function, if you're willing to install a switch in the light section you could save yourself the trouble of running more wire. If the feed is in the ceiling it should be easy because you already have a hot & neutral.
They're always breaking and are available at Home Depot for abou $4.
If the feed is from the switch you will need either 14-3 or 12-3 for 15A/20A breaker.

If it's a switch leg (power in the ceiling) and you want to add another switch for the light you ought to run 4 wire or another 2 wire. Leave a neural in the box and cap it off, to comply with the new Code. And, place a piece of black tape on each end of a white wire, if it's being used as a hot.

Re: Old cieling fan, I never noticed there is no chain for the lights

If the power is in the ceiling and you have a switch loop all you need do is disconnect the fan lead from the switched leg and attach it to the hot. Then the wall switch will control the light and the chain will control the fan. If you want two wall switches you will need 12/4/ or 14/4 from the ceiling to the switch. Hot to switches, neutral, switched hot one , and switched hot 2.

If power is at the switch you can add another switch or replace it with a double switch, you need to run 14/3 or 12/3 from the switch box to the ceiling. Neutral, switched hot one, and switched hot two.


Re: Old cieling fan, I never noticed there is no chain for the lights
Re: Old cieling fan, I never noticed there is no chain for the lights

I'm a Carpenter and will defer to Maurice (he knows this stuff better than me) but a simpler fix would be to go into the fan pull-chain switch, connect what it switches together, then tap the switch into the neutral side of the light circuit. Advantages: All you'll need to do this is 3 wire nuts and a screwdriver. Disadvantages: The cheapo pull-chain switch will need semi-regular replacement but it's only a 10 minute job after the first time.

Normally you'd switch the hot side of the light circuit, but since the pull-chain can conduct electricity there's a possibility of shock should the switch fail. Much less chance of that when the neutral is switched, also the fan case is grounded (essentially a separate path to neutral) so if the chain were to become energized there would be no potential energy transfer which could cause a fire.


Re: Old cieling fan, I never noticed there is no chain for the lights

Tackled the fan this morning, it was an easy fix, but of course has led to another project.

Power came from the switch, no no switch loop. If the fan is ever completely replace I will run 14/3 from the switch, but that is another day.
Took off the light kit and there was a black and a blue wire supplying power from the downrod. Blue went straight to the black socket wire, black went to the black on the pull switch, red from the pull switch went to the black on the rotary knob.
Ran the blue to power the pull switch and transferred the red from the pull switch to the black on the socket. Ran the black(that paired with the blue from the downrod) to the black on the rotary dial.
Now the pull chain operates the light, and the rotary operates the fan motor.

I am actually glad I dug into this, as the wiring from the socket for the bulb is of a lower quality than the other wiring in the fan, and I will be changing out the socket for wire that is not frayed, so I have the chance to make my house safer.
When I change the socket tomorrow, I will likely pick up a multi speed fan control chain and replace the knob mechanism so I do not need to get on a step stool to change the fan speed.

Thanks for the input everybody.

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.