Ceiling fan install and wiring Q


I started what I thought would be medium difficulty project and now on stumped. I wanted to install a ceiling fan in the master bedroom. There currently are no ceiling lights, just a wall switch which controls half of the wall outlets. I have access to the basement and attic and since there is no wiring in the basement, I assumed it all ran through the attic. Wrong, nothing up there either, it all runs through the walls. I found the header above the wall switch and drilled a one inch hole through that and see that I'm in the right space after shinning a light down. How do I proceed? The wall box has two 14/3 romex coming in and both reds are tied together with a jumper from that to the switch. Same for the blacks and a jumper. The two whites are tied together. Do I tear out the wall box, find the hot red, fish a line down from the attic and run a new line to the fan? I want to lose the switched outlets and have both halves of the outlets hot all the time. Then the switch can control the fan. Or...I'm assuming one of those 14/3 cables has power on both red and black. Could I run a 14/3 cable to the fan and have separate light and fan switch given the setup in that box now? I'm thinking three blacks tied together, two reds (losing the switched outlets feature) with jumper to both switches. Any guidance would be appreciated. Summer is here and that attic is getting hot!
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You seem to know what you are doing reasonbly well. First, you need to identify the HOT feed wire and neutral from the breaker box. Do you have a voltmeter, or a test lamp that you can use??
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wrote:

Umm, not really... That is already identified... The white wire is the neutral and the black wire is the constant feed in the circuit the OP has described...
He can locate where his circuit is being fed from as there will be an outlet box in the master bedroom which has two wires, a 14/2 supply cable feeding the circuit and a single 14/3 which runs from the first box with the feeder to the next box in the circuit looping through all of the boxes in the run until there is a box at the end of the circuit with only a single 14/3 cable in it... There might be an additional 14/2 cable in the feeder box which runs to another part of the house if there are other areas also powered by that circuit in that house...
~~ Evan
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Hire a competant electrician; they know how to snake wires. If your time is worth more than about a dollar an hour, you'll save money.
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Is this a regular switch or 3way? Assuming it's a regular switch, best guess would be that the blacks are the hot wire and the reds are the switched side. All you need to do is identify the hot. Then you need to permanently connect the black to red, eliminating the switch. Then you replace the switch with a fan control switch, connecting the switch to hot, wire from it to fan, and neutral to the fan tied to the other neutrals. The hardest part will be snaking between the switch box and the hole in the top plate. You should be able to do that by punching out a hole in the top of the box. You definitely don't want to tear the box out, unless it's an old work box that you can see will come out. Regular boxes are nailed to the stud.
Another option that may be easier and better is to use a wireless remote to control the fan. They also have holders so you can have a resting place for it next to the switch. But you could also use it next to the bed to adjust the fan without getting up. If you go that route, all you need is to find a circuit in the attic that you can tap on to. The fan gets powered up permanently.
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It's a single pole switch. Also, there are no power runs in the attic or basement, that's part of my problem.
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You should have power in the box with the switch already. You can add the fan/light to that circuit.
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That was a reply to the person who said I should just tap into an existing attic feed.
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You're going to get varying opinions about a solution. You'll need to decide which one works best for you.
Solution 1. Personally I'm not big on ceiling fan/light remote controls. It's just one more thing to break or get lost. All my installations have a switch for the light and a 3-speed switch for the fan both installed in a wall box. To do that you will need to remove your old box, drop a 14/3 line down to the hole in the wall, install an old work box, and rewire it. You have power at the existing location so you can do this. Switching to a double box will give you more room to work since you already have a number of wires in the box that have to stay.
Solution 2. Another poster said just find power in the attic somewhere and run it straight to the fan/light and use a remote for on/ off for both. You can do this as well. You need to make sure that the wire you find in the attic is not on some other switch. Trouble with that is that it is hard to tell. You can push the leads of a vom through the insulation and test. Some people don't like doing that as it leaves small holes. It's not really a problem. Once you find a line that always has power then make sure you can get some slack in it. You will need some slack to cut it and splice in your new line. That can be a pain as welll as many electricians don't leave much slack. You will need to mount a box on a ceiling joist or roof frame to do the splice in. Run a new piece of 14/2 from that location to your fan ceiling box.
As I said I'm partial to the first solution.
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wrote:

The first choice is what I'm leaning towards. The only two feeds I can find in the attic are for the only two ceiling fixtures in the entire house. Kitchen and dinette area and both are switched. Anywho...my plan is to replace the single with a double box and then fish the 14/3 in. I think it would be almost impossible to try and fish one into the existing single box w/o removing it, so I might just as well put in the double and give myself a little room to work. Too hot this week, a little cool down expected on the weekend. Running out of time. Thanks, Joe
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Get the double old work box first so you knwo how big to make the hole. Remove the old box, enlarge the hole for the new double old work box, fish the 14/3 in that order :-)
Sometimes the original hole is a little too tall. Position the new old work box so the swing tab on that side is at the edge of the wall board.
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who replied to a person who was telling you to hire an electrician, assuming your time is worth more than a dollar an hour.
Assuming your time is worth more than a dollar an hour you're already pissed away the price of an electrician with the time spent discussing the task on usenet.
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The general tone of this group is mostly diy. It's a real pain in the butt to find a real electrician to do a job this small. Most won't bother. You'll end up with a a handyman which in many states is not even legal because you are supposed to be a licensed tradesman to work on electrical, gas, hvac, etc if the structure is not yours. Plus if he does it himself he will have learned something along he way as well as gained the satisfaction of doing it himself.
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wrote:

I'm retired, I've got all the time in the world. Just cuts into my golf game.
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Just smash out the drywall around the lightswitch. Put the wiring into that box. Research next on drywall repair. :-)
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You could tear out that box and replace it with an old work box. I'd conside a double box as that would give you a bit more room to work since you need to couple the hot to the outlets in there as well. You are allowed to run a 14/3 from the box to a ceiling box for the fan. Black to the light and red to the fan is typical. Then you can put a switch for the light and another for the fan in your new box. You can get fan speed controls in place of the switch if you would like.
I remove old boxes by disconnecting all the wires and removeing all the switches/outlets what ever. Then use a screwdriver to pry the box away from the stud a little. Thes will let you slip a bare hacksaw blade between the box and the stud. They make handles that will hold it or you can just wrap a rag around it. Saw through the nails holding the box to the stud. Once it's free you can work it out of the hole. Then enlarge your hole if you're going for the double box. Fish the new piece of 14/3 down from the attic. Getting all the wires into the old work box while getting it in the hole in the wall is a chore but it can be done.
Another option would be to leave the switch for the outlets, go to a double box but get one of those combined light/fan controls that fits in the space of a single switch. That might be more appealing to the next owner as well.
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The OP shouldn't need to tear out the existing box and replace it...
That would only be necessary to do if the existing box is not large enough to contain all the conductors necessary to run the circuits...
The OP would have 3 white wires, 3 black wires, 3 red wires, 3 grounding conductors and 2 or 3 pigtails to feed the switches...
The OP could then obtain a combination switch device made by Leviton in the Decora product line which could have either two or three single pole switches on one device strap which fits in a single gang box...
~~ Evan
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It's almost impossible to run a new wire down from a hole in the top of the wall in the attic and get it inside an existing box. It's much easier to remove the box, then run the 14/3 down form the attic. It will be easy to grab with the hole in the wall where the box goes. Especially if he opts for a double box old work replacement.
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I am thinking you have some clue of how things work, but that you don't know enough to do anything useful in this scenario...
What you have is the control switch located in the middle of the wiring run in your master bedroom... Hence the two 14/3 wires running in and out of the switch box...
The black wire is hot all the time, as it is feeding power to the entire circuit... The red wire only gets power -- in the middle of the run -- when the switch feeding it power is turned on, it supplies power to both red wires which run to different outlet locations in the room...
Let's leave the ceiling fan issue aside for a moment, there are three ways you can have all of the outlets constant:
(1.) Replace all the divided outlets with new ones that match the color of the rest of the electrical devices in your home... Do not break the tab off the side of the outlet between the two hot supply screws and when you install the outlets only connect the black wire to each outlet... Cap off the red wire in each box with a wire nut and tuck it neatly into the box... All outlets will be constant...
(2.) Obtain some black wire of the correct size for your circuit, cut 7" lengths of wire, stripping 1/2" of insulation off each end... Open up the wire nut connecting the black wires in each outlet box and connect your new piece of wire into the pigtail... Put the wire nut back on, now you will have two back pigtails, disconnect the red wire from the outlet at each box, capping it off with a wire nut and tucking it back into the box... Attach your new black wire to the empty hot supply screw on the outlet and your outlets are all constant...
(3.) At the switch box, open up the wire nut connecting the black wires together, now do the same for the red wires, remove the short piece of red wire which used to run to the switch as it is no longer needed... Twist the two red wires that run in and out of the box together with the existing pigtail of black wires... Put the correct size wire nut on and now all your outlets are constant...
That solves the outlets issue... Which honestly you might still want to have half of the outlets near your bed switched for lamps even after you install the ceiling fan, but you can pick your personal preference above to have all your outlets constant if you wish...
Now for your ceiling fan question... All you need to do for that is tap off of the existing white wire and black wire at the switch box location... You can run a segment of 14/3 wire up the wall cavity to the spot above the ceiling where you want to cut in a proper box which will support a ceiling fan... The white wire is connected normally... The black wire would supply the fan motor power, and it would be switched and the red wire would power the lights on the fan and it would also be switched... To power both switches you would only need to add an additional 7" piece of black wire in the switch box with 1/2" insulation stripped off each end to create the additional hot pigtail to supply the new switch...
Good luck with your project...
~~ Evan
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