How to Make Electrical Connections for a Ceiling Fan

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Ceiling fans can be connected to the electrical circuit in two ways. One way has separate wall switches that operate your ceiling fan and ceiling fan light independently and having only one switch that operates the ceiling fan and light is the other. Making electrical connections for a ceiling fan requires you to connect multiple wires from the ceiling fan to multiple wires inside the ceiling fan junction box. If you can identify the colors red, black, white and bare copper, you can connect your ceiling fan.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Step ladder
  • Phillip or flat head screwdriver
  • Orange wire nuts

Separate Switches

  • Turn off the electricity to the ceiling fan circuit by turning the breaker off at the main electrical panel.

  • Search for the power supply wires inside the ceiling fan junction box. The wiring consist of a black (hot) wire, a red (hot) wire, a white (neutral) wire and a bare copper (ground) wire. The hot wires provide the electricity to the fan and light, the neutral wire completes the circuit and the ground wire protects the circuit from electrical shorts that can damage the fan.

  • Connect the black wire from the ceiling fan to the black wire in the ceiling fan junction box by twisting an orange wire nut onto the two wires as if you were replacing the cap on a toothpaste tube. Connect the white wires from the junction box and ceiling fan in the same manner. Connect the bare copper wire to the green ground screw on the ceiling fan mounting bracket by wrapping the wire around the screw and tightening the screw. Connect the red wire from the junction box to the wire from the ceiling fan labeled as the light kit.

  • Mount your ceiling fan to the ceiling, following the manufacturer's directions.

  • Turn on the electricity to the ceiling fan circuit by turning the breaker on at the main electrical panel.

Single Switch

  • Turn off the electricity to the ceiling fan circuit by turning the breaker on at the main electrical panel.

  • Search for the power supply wires inside the ceiling fan junction box. The wires consist of a black (hot) wire, a white (neutral) wire and a bare copper (ground) wire. The black wire is the power supply wire and allows the electricity to flow from the breaker panel and through the switch to power the ceiling fan and light. The white wire completes the circuit back to the breaker panel. The bare copper wire grounds the circuit to protect the ceiling fan and light from electrical shorts that can permanently damage your ceiling fan.

  • Connect the ceiling fan to the electrical wiring. Twist an orange wire nut onto the black wire from the junction box, the black ceiling fan motor wire and the wire from the ceiling fan labeled as the light kit, connecting all three wires together. The light kit wire color varies depending on the manufacturer but will be labeled for identification. Connect the white wire from the ceiling fan to the white wire from the junction box by twisting an orange wire nut onto them in as well. Wrap the bare copper ground wire around the green ground screw on the ceiling fan mounting bracket and tighten the screw.

  • Mount your ceiling fan to the ceiling, following the manufacturer's directions.

  • Turn on the electricity to the ceiling fan circuit by turning on the breaker in the main electrical panel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on the manufacturer of the ceiling fan, the light kit wire can be any color or combination of colors but has a label on the wire notating it as the light kit wire.

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References

  • Photo Credit Ceiling Fan image by Towards Ithaca from Fotolia.com
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