Combination Fan Switch


Hi:
Can I replace a single switch that's currently controlling a receptacle, with a combination fan/light switch to use for a new ceiling fan? I want to run 14-3 for a new ceiling fan installation to the current switch, make the current switched outlet always hot and replace the switch with a combination switch. My main question is, can this combination switch be used from one hot wire that was used in the single switch and it will control the light and fan separately?
THANKS in advance for any help!!!!
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Hi Joe,
Yes, you can. I did it at my house and its fairly easy. You are correct that you should be using 14-3 as you need the two seperately switched hots (1 for light, 1 for fan). Also you will need two half-height switches so that you can have 2 switches in 1 wall box. It gets a bit cramped in th ebox but patience pprevails.
I did 2 and the first (including running the wiring in the walls and up to the ceiling too about 3 hous and the second time it took barely an hour.
Good luck!
Joe wrote:

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Viewer wrote:

V & J:
First: I am not an electrician, but a homeowner. I am telling you what I would do. You will need to comply with the AHJ in your area and use sufficient knowledge & workmanship for a safe installation.
I'd advise to replace the single-gang box with a double, and make it nice and big. Using an old work box, this will not be hard (but be careful not to jigsaw the cables, and don't ask why I warned about that) and the two $2 or so switches, plus the box, will cost no more than one double-switch device. I find it's nicer to work with single switches and shallow, wider boxes.
I am assuming you are using a box listed for fan support, and throwing away the cheapie fan mfr wire connectors and using Ideal yellow wire nuts, and maintaining a workmanship standard that will meet approval of the AHJ.
First situation: one 14/2 entering the old box, one 14/2 leaving the box, to end at the switched light. Replace 14/2 from switch to light with 14/3 for fan/light control.
Wall box size required: 1 - 14/2, 2 conductor allowances 1 - 14/3, 3 " " Grounds, 1 " " for all Clamps, 1 " " (if internal clamps used) Devices - 1 dual switch (2 allowances) or 2 single (2 x 2 = 4 allowances)
Total allowances required: 9 for dual switch, 11 for two single. Volume per allowance for 14 AWG = 2.00 cu in.
You will need a 18 cu in box (3 1/2" deep device box) for the dual switch or 22 cu in (two 2 1/2" deep device boxes ganged together) for the two singles. Box types given are steel; plastic boxes are marked with volume.
Connections: Wire nut both neutrals together. Connect two pigtails to hot of 14/2 feed, run one pigtail to each switch. Other terminal from each switch goes to one hot of the 14/3. At the fan, the 14/3 neutral goes to the fan's neutral; one hot goes to the fan, the other to the light. Connect grounds properly and use good workmanship as usual.
Second situation: Power fed at ceiling light. One 14/2 cable enters wall box, used as switch loop. Both conductors at box connected to switch. Replace with 14/3 switch loop.
Wall box size required: 1 - 14/3, 3 conductor allowances Grounds, 1 " " for all Clamps, 1 " " (if internal clamps used) Devices - 1 dual switch (2 allowances) or 2 single (2 x 2 = 4 allowances)
Total allowances required: 7 for dual switch, 9 for two single. Volume per allowance for 14 AWG = 2.00 cu in.
You will need a 14 cu in box (2 1/2" deep device box) for the dual switch or 18 cu in (two 2" deep device boxes ganged together, but two 2 1/4" or deeper would be better) for the two singles. Box types given are steel; plastic boxes are marked with volume.
Connections: Connect the fan's neutral to the neutral of the 14/2 feed in the ceiling box. Connect one hot from the fan to the factory-marked black hot of the 14/3; the other hot from the fan to the red.
Permanently reidentify the neutral of the switch loop as hot. Connect the hot of the ceiling-box feeder to the reidentified former neutral of the switch loop. Connect two pigtails (black) to the reidentified neutral in the wall box, one pigtail going to each switch. Connect the red switch-loop conductor to one switch, the factory-marked black to the other. Make all necessary grounds and use good workmanship.
Remember, follow all safety precautions. Pull a permit and get the work inspected. Usenet is no place to learn everything about electrical work.
Cordially yours: G P
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Lowe's does have switches like that. They're available with 2 or 3 switches and fit in a single 1-gang box. One terminal of the switches is common.

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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Similar question: does anyone make a switch for a ceiling fan without a light switch? I have a two gang box that used to contain a light switch and a receptacle and I want to get rid of the receptacle (there's another one down near the floor; I'm sure there was a reason for putting it there but I don't see it and it looks silly.) Am thinking of putting a ceiling fan in the kitchen anyway so this would kill two birds with one stone and save me from having to patch the wall.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

NN:
An ordinary single-pole light switch will do to turn the fan on and off.
Cordially yours: G P
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wrote:

Is the problem what to put in the other side of that box? I'd leave the receptacle. It doesn't hurt anything and you may want it there someday. If you don't want to look at it (I don't see why, but some people are strange that way), you could put some tape (in your preferred color) over it, or cover it with wallpaper.
I find receptacles at switch-height desirable. They're easier to reach when you want to plug something in temporarily, and are less often hidden behind things like the lower outlets often are.
As to the switch being fan-only, most fan/light combinations have separate hot wires for fan and light (should be black for fan, blue for light), so there's no problem wiring it the way you want.
You could also install 2 switches, separate ones for fan and light. what I would do is leave the receptacle, and install a 2-switch unit for light and fan.
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Mark Lloyd wrote:

yup, that's exactly the problem.

The problem is that the easiest way to rewire things on separate circuits the way I'd want it would be to feed the circuit from elsewhere (because currently the feed comes up from below, but is 14 AWG and is connected to the 20A clothes washer receptacle in the basement... yeah, I need to fix that) and leave the 3-wire cable going to the ceiling box as a switch leg, so there'd be no neutral (or ground, for that matter - but since there's only one other receptacle on the whole circuit, it's not such a huge issue) available. Otherwise, to provide a receptacle, I'd have to pull a 14/2 up from below past a box that's directly below it that also has a receptacle in it. *THAT* receptacle I wanted to turn into a 20A recep. for the microwave which sits on a cart next to this whole area. I'm not sure how good my wire fishing skills are; I don't have a whole lot of patience for things like that...
What I was thinking was a variable speed switch for the fan would be nice, but most of the ones I've seen are combination fan and light switches that fit in a single gang box.
nate
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wrote:

I think I've seen fan-only once, but may be mistaken. Maybe use a combination, and don't connect the light part?
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Nate: Yes, this switch does exist. I purchased one a few years back at Home Depot. If they don't carry it anymore, then google "Four-speed Fan Wall Control switch" and it should be what your looking for.
Good Luck!
--Joe
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Joe wrote:

J:
Crud. I misread what you posted. So you have one 14/2 in, one 14/2 to the switched receptacle, and one 14/2, switched, out to the ceiling box. I am ASSuming the switched receptacle is in another box.
Box size needed:
14/2 feed - 2 cond. allowances 14/2 to switch - 2 " " 14/3 to fan - 3 " " Grounds - 1 " " Clamps - 1 " " Devices - 2 " " if dual switch; 4 " " if two singles (pref.)
Total - 11 if dual, 13 if single. Allowance for 14 awg - 2.00 cu in per.
You will need 22 cu in for a dual switch (4S, 1 1/2" deep, with 1/4" mud ring min) or 26 cu in for two single (two 2 3/4" deep device boxes, ganged). You will need a new box anyway, so might as well go with the two singles.
Connections:
Wire nut all neutrals together. Connect hot from 14/2 feed, hot from switched outlet, and two pigtails. One hot pigtail goes to each switch. One hot from the 14/3 goes to each switch. At the fan, connect fan neutral to 14/3 neutral. Connect one hot to light, other hot to fan. Connect all grounds properly. Use good workmanship.
Remember to throw out those cheesy fan mfr wire nuts and use yellow Ideal or other decent connectors. Get a permit and have the work properly approved by the AHJ. Be advised that I have posted far less than you need to know about this job; I am not an electrician but a homeowner, and the Usenet is no place to learn everything about electrical work.
Cordially yours: G P
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