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Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

Posted by slc2053 (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 20, 07 at 9:40

We have a ceiling fan with a light in our dining room. We have only one wall switch controlling power to it. We typically switch it on to turn on the light, and walk over to the fan to turn the fan on, meaning the light on the fixture is always "on" and we control it from the switch. If we want to run the fan without the light or the light without the fan, we turn one of them off at the fixture.

Now, is there anyway to add a dimmer to the light only?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

If there is only one switched wire going to the fan/light combo, then no. You can't put the motor on the dimmer. If they ran two wires (even if they connected them both to the switch) you should be able to split off the light for a dimmer. You need to open up the switch box and/or the fan connections to see.

In most cases if the fan just replaced a dining room light fixture, you're in the out of luck case (and frequently in these cases, the fan isn't secured properly anywhere).


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

You need to get power to the fan motor without it going first through the dimmer.

If, when you look in the switch's work box, there are only one black and one white insulated wire, you can do some wiring changes at the ceiling box for the dimmer to control only the light and the chain to control the fan.
[If so, post back a description of how the ceiling box is wired.]

If there are two black and two white insulated wires, and the two black are connected to the switch, then you cannot install a dimmer without running additional cable.

If there is any other configuration in the switch box, post back a description.


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

If you find you don't have the wiring configuration you need, and you don't want to properly wire it, then consider using wireless remote control. These control systems will allow you to do exactly what you want when you don't have the necessary circuits available to hardwire the functions separately. I have these on my outdoor patio fans. The control switch mounts in a box just like a normal wired switch would. One switch controls both fans. (two separate receivers on the same frequency) Switch is inside, fans outside. Works perfectly.


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

yep, easiest way is the wireless remote system.

ronnatalie, you can put a dimmer on some fans. my parents house has one onthe fan inteh den. no light on the fan, the dimmer controls the speed of the fan itself. i forget the brand, but it does not even have a pull cord switch made into it. it was sold to use on a dimmer to control the fan speed.


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

That's a FAN SPEED control, not a lighting "dimmer".


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

That's a FAN SPEED control, not a lighting "dimmer".

What's the difference, if I may ask, without getting blown out of the water.


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

There are many combination dimmer / speed controls available that will do the job with the existing one switch control. They come as remotes that are portable or in controls that replace the existing switch. Check box stores or fan dealers.


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

Ronnatalie...so I only need to look at the wires at the switch to determine my options? I don't have to take the fan down first? Good...I will look at the switch tonight.

If I find I have two blacks and two whites and the two blacks are connected to the switch, then my easiest option is to go the route of a remote control? Yes?

If, however I find that at the switch I have only one black and one white, then I will take the fan down and see what kind of set up I have, then I will post back here with a description of it and post a photo as well.

cobraguy...thanks for the remote option...we wondered about but hadn't explored it yet as an option...

We're going to take a look tonight...thanks!


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

nope, it was a regular dimmer. it may hav esupposed ot been a fan speed control, but the orignal one and the one i replaced it with when someone broke the shaft were both regular old dimmers.


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RE: Putting dimmer on ceiling fan light? Can I do this?

Honeywell makes a remote control for a ceiling fan which has variable speed for the fan and dimming for the lights as well. In addition, it has a setting that will turn the lights off on a delay (so you have light while you leave the room) and another feature to randomize the lighting of the ceiling light so that anyone casing you hour home might be misled into thinking someone is home. The models that I've looked at are the honeywell 40013 (backlit touch screen remote) and 40012 (physical buttons) and the prices range from 29.95+ on the 40012 and 39.98 on the 40013 (@ Lowes, which is lower than at the Honeywellstore.com site).

Here is a link that might be useful: Honeywell Ceiling Fan Remote with Lighting Dimmer


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