connecting ceiling fan to older house- 70 year old house. need help with wiring colors

Hi, I am attempting to connect a new ceiling fan to an older house. There was a ceiling fan here but it isnt working. The fan that I will install has no light.
As the wires are very old its hard to tell which is white and which is red.
Is there a test that I can do to tell which is which? red or black? Thanks
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Red or black isn't the object. You want the pair that gives you a 120 volt circuit. When you remove the existing fan, see which wires it was connected to. The new fan will probably have three wires on it. Black and white will usually power the fan and some other color like blue or black with white stripes will power the light. If your not using a light kit, just don't connect that wire. If your existing fan had a fan and a light and each had their own control, you need to determine which wires in the box are fed by which control and connect the fan accordingly. To simply test the wires to see which is hot and which is neutral, you can use a light bulb in a pigtail socket. Touch one lead to a wire in the box and the other lead to the metal box. Whichever wire in your box gives you a light is your hot wire. This test is contingent on your electrical system being grounded though.

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Why was the old fan not working? If it's the wiring then a new fan won't help. Why no light on the new one?
Take a good look at the various add-on remote controls you can get for fans. The one with a temperature sensor on it is VERY handy. This way the wall switch can be left for controlling the light and the remote automagically handles the fan.

Color doesn't matter. It SHOULD matter but you're at the mercy of whomever installed the wire in the first place. Yes, white should be neutral but ALWAYS check it. Red's supposed to be hot from the wall switch. A simple voltmeter test should tell you if a wire is live or not. Just test the wire with the switch on and off and see how it comes out. It's not uncommon for a ceiling box to have all three; neutral, hot and switched. But it's likewise just as possible for it to only have neutral and switched. It depends on where the wire went first, from the breaker to the ceiling or the wall switch?
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the reason for the new fan is that the fly wheel is broken.
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You could wire a plug on it and test it with a plug in circuit tester.I don't know what the actual name of tester is. Plugs into an outlet has two yellow lights one red light . By how the light you know if your plug is correct. Test for Open Ground, open neutral, open hot, hot/ground reverse, hot/neutral reveres and correct. Handy little tool. You can also try and clean the wires with Koof off or something like that. The wires get overspray on the when the ceiling is painted .
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Yes, if you have a multimeter there are a few different ways. But, I have to ask: -- Do the wires have cloth insulation? If so, it might be deteriorating to the point of becoming a serious problem. Messing with it can bring about those problems just by a tug here and a push there. I only ask because it's common in old houses to find substandard wiring like that. Been there, had it, exchanged it. ANYway, on to your question:
-- Black is supposed to be the "hot" wire, the one that carries 120V ac. Current comes from the mains box thru it. -- White is supposed to be the neutral wire; no voltage shows on it, in general. Current returns to the mains box thru it.
You don't give an experience level, so please realize it can be VERY dangerous, even DEADLY working on electrical wires without the requisite knowledge of electricity. IT's no skin off my nose if you kill yourself or maim yourself into a vegetable, but your family or friends might care.
Get a cheap multi-meter from Radio Shack or wherever, that will measure ohms and volts ac.
If there's a wall switch to the fan, turn it ON. With the wire leads on and the wire ends exposed, measure between each wire and earth ground, the "third" wire or conduit or whatever supplies it. If there is no third wire or conduit or ... , stop. You cannot safely install a fan. I've no more to say because it cannot be done safely.
If there is a third wire, measure between each of the two exposed wires to the earth ground wire/conduit/whatever. The "black" wire will show 120V ac to it. The "white" wire will show zero or very close to 0 Vac. At the 120V ac scale, it'll show zero but you might see some small voltage if you've set the scale lower or it's an auto-ranging meter. As long as it's nearly zero, that's probably OK. If you should see between, say, 45V and 120V on it, then STOP. Something is wrong. Nothing more can be done by the neophyte.
Best bet would be to call an electrician or someone in the business who is licensed to do electric work. That way, with a house that old, if the wiring happens to also be that old, it'll get noticed and you'll be told about it. It is never a good idea to work on electric circuitry if you don't nkow anything about it. The most general rule is NEVER let both hands/arms get near any of the wires. Electricity can kill in a few sixteenths of a second.
HTH,
Pop
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Thanks for the information. if I shut off the circuit to that fan and then try to do the connection, I wont get electruted- as the circuit is turned off..
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KOS wrote:

You would be ill advised to accept advice from Poop. Look around.
More crappy advice from Poop.
-- Pop aint shit, he's just Poop
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As opposed to listen to you?

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