Need Help Replacing Ceiling Fan Switch

carbosMarch 17, 2011

Last night I started to smell that awful burning smell that alerts you to an electrical problem. When I realized it was the ceiling fan switch I turned it off. It was very hot and I'd say I was not far from a fire. When I pulled the switch this morning one side of it had begun to melt down and one of the wire caps was melted, too.

Bought a replacement switch today and I have a few questions to be sure I am wiring it correctly. Not at all astute when it comes to these things, I figure where better to come for the answer than here.

This is a dual switch that controls both the fan and the light. The old switch has three wires: yellow, red, and black. There is no green ground wire. The new switch does have a green ground wire.

Coming out of the wall is a red wire, and two black wires.

First question: what do I do with the green wire?

Second question: the old switch was connected as such: yellow wire from the switch was connected to the red wire from the wall; the red wire from the switch was connected to one of the black wires; and the black wire from the switch was connected to the other black wire from the wall.

Do I just repeat that setup with the new switch?

Thank you!

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kurto

First, the green wire on the switch is for grounding, and must be connected to a green or bare copper wire from the wall. If you don't have one of those, you'll either need to rewire, or purchase a switch that doesn't require a ground.

White wires (neutrals) should be left alone.

There is not enough information provided to tell you about how the other wires should be connected. In a typical set up, one of the black wires in one cable is your supply. The other black and the red will be in a second cable and will go to the fan/light combination. The instructions in the switch package will tell you which wire should be connected to which. There's no guarantee that the new and old switch will follow the same wire color scheme.

Make sure that all of your connections are tightly made using approved wire nuts.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 3:45PM
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brickeyee

"If you don't have one of those, you'll either need to rewire, or purchase a switch that doesn't require a ground. "

Or just leave the ground unconnected but safely capped.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 4:59PM
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kurto

Brickeyee, wouldn't installing without the ground be in violation of the manufacturer's installation instructions and therefore a code violation? I agree that it isn't much of a safety risk.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 5:07PM
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