Ceiling fan - light switch issue

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by brewer55, Oct 17, 2019.

Help Support House Repair Talk by donating:

  1. Oct 17, 2019 #1

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    Whoever originally wired the ceiling fan in one of our bedrooms did not wire it properly. There are 2 switches on the wall. The first one operates the fan; the 2nd one operates the light on the fan.
    Problem: I have to throw both switches for the light to work. If the fan switch is not on, the light will not operate.

    Is this an issue with the wiring in the outlet that feeds the fan or, in the wall switches?
     
  2. Oct 17, 2019 #2

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,656
    Likes Received:
    308
    It is a simple wiring issue in the switch box. The wrong wire from the fan switch is feeding the light switch.
     
  3. Oct 17, 2019 #3

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hmmm...in another other bedroom, the ceiling fan is wired correctly. I compared it with the wiring in the bedroom where I have the issue and it looked to be the same. I need to look closer. Thanks.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2019 #4

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,703
    Likes Received:
    695
    How many conductors are in each of the bedroom switch boxes?

    Can you post a photo of the "offending" switches, with the switches, still attached to the conductors, pulled away from the box?
     
  5. Oct 17, 2019 #5

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    See attached photo.
    The left switch controls the fan.
    The right switch controls the light.
    Both switches need to be 'on' for the light to work. If the left switch (fan) is off; the light will not operate.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Oct 17, 2019 #6

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,703
    Likes Received:
    695
    It looks like with the left switch off, nothing works. Is that correct?
     
  7. Oct 17, 2019 #7

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    Correct
     
  8. Oct 18, 2019 #8

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,703
    Likes Received:
    695
    Generally, in the scenario you have, and this is my method, the hot pair is in the ceiling box and the white conductor connects to the black conductor of the hot pair, which makes the white conductor, of the 14/3, hot in the switch box, it is also wrapped with black tape to signify that, there are then two black pigtails wire nutted to the wrapped white and one each is connected to the lower screw of each switch. The red and black conductors of the 14/3 are respectively connected to the others screw of each switch. The creates two switch legs, each operate independently.

    At the fixture the black and red conductors of the 14/3 are connected to the black and blue conductors of the appliance and the white is connected to the white of the hot pair.

    As a clarification to you. The black connected to the bottom of the left switch is the hot and were you to remove the jumper between the two switches and connect the red to the upper screw of the left switch, the appliance would work.
     
  9. Oct 18, 2019 #9

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,656
    Likes Received:
    308
    It looks like the wire from the top screw goes to a wire nut that connects to the other switch and wire from the wall. Swap the wire from the wall out of the nut with the wire on the bottom screw.
     
  10. Oct 18, 2019 #10

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    I believe I followed you and your explanation (obviously, I'm not an electrician). When I get home later today I'll turn off the breaker to that outlet and make the changes you recommended. Thank you!
     
  11. Oct 18, 2019 #11

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,703
    Likes Received:
    695
    Hopefully I guessed correctly, if not we'll try again.
     
  12. Oct 18, 2019 #12

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    "The black connected to the bottom of the left switch is the hot and were you to remove the jumper between the two switches and connect the red to the upper screw of the left switch, the appliance would work."

    If I remove the red wire on the 2nd switch and move it to the first switch, what replaces it on the 2nd switch?
     
  13. Oct 18, 2019 #13

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,703
    Likes Received:
    695
    Depending upon how the appliance is wired, at the appliance, the red conductor, with the left switch on, will be energized and if the black conductor ,at the appliance is connected to the red, then the fan will operate. If the red is connected to the blue then the lights will operate. If you connect both the black and blue to the red, then both the light and the fan will be energized and can be operationally controlled by the pull chains. The 2nd switch becomes none functional.
     
  14. Oct 18, 2019 #14

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    I had time to look into this again. Before I made any changes, I opened up the wall switch on a bedroom where the ceiling fan is working properly. One switch works the fan; the 2nd switch operates the light.
    When I compared the 2 bedrooms, wall switches in both rooms are wired identically the same. So, this tells me that I'm going to have to resolve this in the fan wiring and not in the switch plate. Would you agree?

    bdrm 1 - where I have my problem
    bdrm 2 - everything ok
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Oct 18, 2019 #15

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,703
    Likes Received:
    695
    I would like you to push the switches in the room that is the problem aside, then pull the two wire nutted group of conductors out and post another photo.

    Because in the 2nd bdrm there is an obvious hot conductor group with pigtails wired to both switches, which is not obvious in the 1st bdrm.
     
  16. Oct 19, 2019 #16

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,656
    Likes Received:
    308
    Did you read my post #9?
     
  17. Oct 19, 2019 #17

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Fireguy5674

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    It is hard two tell for sure in the picture, but in the first picture it appears that the black wire from the 12/2 or 14/2 goes to feed the bottom of the left switch. Then the black wire off of the top of the left switch feeds the black wire to the fan and the black wire to the right switch. To fix that the black wire feeding the bottom of the left switch needs to be tied to the black wire feeding the right switch. The black wire coming off of the top of the left switch should go to the black wire from the 14/3 which will feed the fan in the ceiling. It should not be tied to anything else. That way you will have power going to both switches independently. The red wire coming off of the top of the right switch is feeding the light. It appears to me that is how the second picture of the switch that works properly is wired. They just have the wrong black wires tied together in the one you are working on. You should be able to fix the problem at the switch box.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  18. Oct 20, 2019 #18

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    I opened up the outlet again, pushed the switches aside, and took another 2 pictures with the cap nuts and associated wires more visible.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  19. Oct 20, 2019 #19

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    JoeD, look again at the new picture I took. I made the change and it did solve the problem. I still have to turn on switch 1; the fan switch or the 2nd switch will not turn on the light. Unless I misunderstood your directions.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  20. Oct 20, 2019 #20

    brewer55

    brewer55

    brewer55

    Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    Here is a better picture of the problem outlet.
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page