replacing a ceiling fan wall switch with a dimmer

fcarp63April 27, 2010


We live in a newer home (built 2002) in which all the bedrooms had ceiling fans that were controlled with 2 small switches in a single (one way) wall switch spot - one switch controlled the fan and one was for the lights.

We replaced the ceiling fans with either overhead lighting fixtures or chandeliers. Now, one of the small wall swithces controls the light fixture/chandelier and the other does nothing.

Now, we want to install a dimmer in the one room with a chandelier. Other than accounting for the total wattage of the chandelier, is their any special type of dimmer that should be purchased to replace the old switch?

While I haven't removed the exisiting wall switch to examine it, I will assume that it contains the same wiring that is in the ceiling box. Therefore, would I just wire the dimmer black to black, white to white, ground to ground, and cap the red wire as I did in the ceiling box?

Thanks in advance for the reply.

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Wall switches/simple dimmers deal with one function only, the starting/stopping of nominal 120v ac electricity going to the fixture which contains the load. Only the load should have a neutral (white) line leaving it plus the switchable line from the switch entering it. So your old switch should have two wires connecting to it, one bringing in 120v power (black?) to the switch and the other (hopefully not white) when switch is "ON" sending power to the fixture. The dimmer you purchase will contain installation instructions to thoroughly cover all this without doubt.

Here is a link that might be useful: Install dimmer

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:21PM
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Yes, from what you have described, the black went to the lighting circuit of the ceiling fan and the red went to the fan motor. Cap off the red in the switch box, for added safety, and then connect any standard dimmer to the black wire going to the newly installed ceiling light.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 10:02PM
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The connection to the dimmer needs to be black on both ends, incoming from the power and outgoing to the light. The white does not go on the dimmer unless the dimmer itself needs it to operate.

Open up the box and post before disconnecting everything.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 10:47PM
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Removing ceiling fans!... what is Al Gore going to say? Well at least you should have extra-strong ceiling boxes left behind for hanging your new light fixtures.

Seriously, the other variable besides total wattage of the chandelier, is whether it uses incandescent bulbs ("standard" dimmer), or one of the newer technologies (compact fluor., etc.) which requires a more "advanced" dimmer.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:36AM
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