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How to Wire a Ceiling Fan

Wiring a ceiling fan is just like wiring most any other type of fixture, but if you've never wired anything before that's okay - this can be your introduction because installing a ceiling fan in the place of an old fixture isn't that difficult.

NOTE: This article covers wiring only - an explanation of the types of wires you'll see, what they do and how to properly connect them. For more detailed information on how to install a ceiling fan, please click here.

Ceiling Fan Wires

Your ceiling fan will (or should) have between three and four wires:

  • Green/Bare Copper: Ground
  • White: Neutral
  • Black: Fan
  • Blue: Light (Optional)

Keep in mind that some manufacturers may use different colors for the fan and light, but the ground and neutral wires should be uniformly indicated.

IMPORTANT: Always make sure your power supply is shut off at the breaker before starting any wiring project. To test, turn off the power at the breaker and then try to switch on the old fixture. To be absolutely sure, you can use a voltmeter (multimeter) once the wires are unhoused.

Power Supply Wires

These are the wires that carry power from your home to the fan via an electric cable; the wires that will be joined with the fan to power it. Typically, your electrical cable will contain three wires: ground, black ("hot") and white (neutral).

1. No Wall Switches
This is when there is no wall switch and the only way to operate the fan is by using the controls on the unit. To power: Connect green to green, white to white and black (and blue, if your fan has a light) to black using wire connectors.

2. Single Two-Way Switch
This common setup allows you to control the fan and/or light depending on what is switched on/off on the unit. To power: Assuming your connections from the power supply to the wall switch have already been made, the connection will be the same as above.

3. Two Two-Way Switches
This setup allows you to control your fan and its light independently from the same wall location. If this configuration is available you will notice an additional wire (probably also black) that is coming from the second two-way switch. To power: The green-to-green and white-to-white connections will remain the same as above. Connect the black wire from the fan switch to the black wire from the fan using wire connectors. Connect the black wire from the light switch to the blue wire from the fan using wire connectors.

NOTE: How will you be able to tell the black wires apart? You probably won't, but it shouldn't matter which switch you use to power each specific fan component - you'll learn which one to use over time.

Visit the Ceiling Fan Info Center
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