Two ceiling fans on a single control?

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My in-laws have two ceiling fans in their living room. Currently the lights are controlled by two separate light switches (in one box), and the fans are controlled by pull strings. As part of a rewiring project, I'd like to rewire the fans to be controlled by wall controls instead of the pull strings.
So, I'm curious if I could wire both ceiling fans to a single control?
Each fan has 4 lights, so that's about 480 watts for the lights. I assume I should be OK there as long as I get a control with the proper wattage rating.
What I don't know is how two fan motors would cope on a single speed control? Would this cause any problems?
Thanks,
Anthony
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I don;t know about two, but we have six on one switch in our shop. Of course, they may not hold up as long but it has been 20 years so far.
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HerHusband wrote:

I have looked into this - I have a need to control 4 fans. You need to check the amp draw in the fans and the amp rating on the switch. What you will find is the switches at the big Blue and Orange stores will only support one fan. Hunter has one designed for two fans IIRC.
Hmm - Looks like overkill http://www.hunterfan.com/prodSum.php?pid &pTypec&sType0
Just make sure either the amps capability of the switch exceeds the amps draw of the fans combined or find one designed for multiples.
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You can also add up the Watts if you don't find the Amps easily
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What I would suggest is that you look into remote controls that are available at the big box stores. These have adjustable codes set by switches in both the receivers and the remotes. If you set the codes the same for both fans, then one remote will set the two fans in synchronization. This way you don't have a concern about the power requirements.
Charlie

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make sure you use an X10 module designed for fans. Their regular modules are only for non-inductive loads.
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I was not referring to X10. There are specifically designed remotes for fans.
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Charlie Bress wrote:

May not work as expected. I have two fans in a sunroom that are controlled by remotes. I tried to set both fans so they both work off one remote. What happens is that the signal may activate one fan and not the other and then they go completely out of sync. One fast, one slow or not at all, or vice versa. One set of lights on, the other off, etc. The only way to get them both to work the same is hard wiring the two together.

--
Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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A simple light dimmer rated above 480 watts can control both lighting fixtures on a pair of wires.

If you get the wrong fan controller it certainly could cause problems. this one is designed to handle Multiple fans on a pair of wires:
http://www.ylighting.com/mod-mf009a.html Click on picture for more detail.
So a dimmer in one outlet box can power all 8 bulbs. And a multple fan controller can power both fans.
lee h
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The use of remotes as in my earlier post dos not require any rewiring to use.
Charlie
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Charlie, the fans would have to be rewired, even with remote receivers. The OP, in fact, requested use of wall controls. Likely the 'remote' approach would also be more costly. plus another damn remote to lose :-)
Anthony wrote: "As part of a rewiring project, I'd like to rewire the fans to be controlled by wall controls instead of the pull strings.""
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What rewiring? Put a wirenut in place of the wall switch and the fan will have power all the time. Insert the remote up @ the fan and you're done.
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Anthony requested wall mounted control of the 2 light fixtures and two ceiling fans. Even the 2 remote receivers would have to *wired to the 2 fans?
lee h
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With X10 you'd put receivers up at the fans, and put a light switch to send the code to the receiver in the wall plate. No rewiring.
Other solutions will be similar. At worst, you'd have a surface mounted lightswitch.
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\\> With X10 you'd put receivers up at the fans, and put a light switch

In Googling a bit, it seems that the wireless receiver that attaches to the fan itself is custom to each brand/line of fan. Each receiver must adapt to the Two ceiling fan/light assys. Which X10-like modules are capable of this? And remember his existing wiring is a switch via 2 wires to a fan/light (times 2 fans)
a wall mounted dimmer for the two light fixtures and a wall mounted fan controller for the two fans are readily available and would not have to be custom for Anthony's brand of fan. yes he would have to run two lengths of 14-2 romax between the two ceiling fans, but he did mention a rewiring project in his post.
wall dimmer >> 2wire >> 4 lights >> 2wire >> 4 lights
wall fan control >> 2wire >> fan >> 2 wire >> fan
AZ, what specific hardware would you use to do this wirelessly? and at what cost? remember the fan receivers must mate with Anthony's 2 ceiling fans
thanks, lee h
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Thanks for the address. That's "close" to what I was looking for.
However, I was really hoping for a fan AND light control that could control two ceiling fans and still fit in a single gang switch box. I have seen plenty of dual controls designed for a single fan, I was just hoping to find one rated for two fans.
If I have to replace the single gang box with a two or three gang box, I might as well use separate controls for each fan. But, I'd like to avoid cutting into the lath and plaster wall if possible.
Thanks again!
Anthony
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Anthony, unless you have your heart set on doing the rewiring, I still suggest the remote at HD that you can see at the link. Since both fans are in the same room the range of these remotes will be adequate. There is a receiver that gets tucked away in the fan's canopy. On this model (which is different than my old one) the remote holder screws on to the box that used to hold one of the switches. The question synchronization for these is moot. when you press the button for a particular speed that is what the receivers see and that is the only choice they have. The worst case scenario is that one fan doesn't respond because it is too far away or flat out bad. Medium speed is the only speed that can possibly come on for both fans unless something is defective. Likewise for high, low or off.
Charlie
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Charlie,

I appreciate the suggestion, but I do not want a remote control. I want things as simple as possible for my in-laws, don't want a remote that can get lost, and we're rewiring the house anyway. The ceiling fan is just a very small part of that project.
Anthony
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hoping for a fan AND light control that could control

Anthony, I assumed that each ceiling fan had its own dedicated switch and wall box. Is this true?
or can you turn off both fan/lites from either of the two boxes? This is common when wanting to control lights from either of two entrances into a room.
The answers to this will tell us roughly how your switches are wired and give a better indication of your 'hardwired' options.
Remove the wall plates and tell us how many wires (and colors of wires) go to each switch?
Are the switches Single Pole Single Throw or Single Pole Double Throw? (number of brass screws on each side of the switches?)
Do you have ready access to the wiring from an attic space above the switches and fan/lites to allow pulling of wires if needed?
Depending on answers you may be able to get by with the two existing switch boxes. i.e. no disturbance to plaster/lath.
lee h
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Unfortunately, no. They have one box where the original light switch was. When the ceiling fans were installed, the original switch was replaced with one of those double switches that puts two small SPST switches in a single box.

Only one box for both fans. Simple on/off control. They currently have to turn on the wall switch, then use the pull strings to control the fan/light operations.
I'd like to eliminate the pull strings and install a wall control.
To complicate matters, the kitchen light switch is directly behind the fan switches. So they both use shallow boxes to fit back to back in the 2x4 wall.

They live an hour away from me, and I haven't looked at the fan circuit in years. But based on the operation, I'm guessing it either has two 14/2 wires, or a single 14/3 wire.

Yes. Old house, no insulation, easy access from the basement and attic. Pulling wires isn't a big deal. We're rewiring the whole house anyway. I'd just like to avoid cutting into the plaster/lath if possible. It always seems to turn into a bigger project. :)
Obviously, if I can't find a single control to run both fans, I'll just install a 2 or 3 gang box and use standard controls.
Anthony
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