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Home 'Switch and Outlet Wiring Made Easy'

Fan / Light Combination Switch Wiring

Fan & Light Switched Together
Power at Fixture [NEC 2011 compliant]

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(2011 NEC new rule 404.2 (C) Compliant)
 For more information on this new rule read
 2011 NEC New Rule 'Switch Connections'


2011 nec power at fixture

2011 nec power at fixture

Connections Instructions:
(as depicted in the diagrams above)

At the Fixture box...

Two cables entering this box, one is the 'circuit power supply' cable, the other cable coming from switch.

* a) using an insulated wire nut connect / join the black wire from 'circuit power supply' cable + the red wire of the cable coming from switch.
* b) using an insulated wire nut connect / join the white wire from the 'circuit power supply' cable + the grounded conductor (neutral) of fixture (shown as white in diagram) + the white wire coming from switch.
* c) using an insulated wire nut connect / join the black wire coming from switch + the switched ungrounded conductor (hot) from light (shown as black in diagram) + the switched ungrounded conductor (hot) from fan (shown as red in diagram)
* d) please see under important notes in regards to the equipment grounding conductor (bare wire).

At switch box...

One cables entering this box coming from the fixture

* a) connect the red wire coming from fixture to one of the main screws of switch.
* b) connect the black wire coming from fixture to the remaining main screw of switch.
* c) using an insulated wire nut cap off the white wire.
* d) please see under important notes in regards to the equipment grounding conductor (bare wire).

Important Notes:

By electrical codes you MUST have at least 6 inches of wire in the electrical box itself, and also the wire must be able to reach at least 3 inches outside the box, it can fail an electrical inspection if the required min. wire length is not met.  You may have the wires a bit longer (within reason) but they cannot be shorter. Also see the note on box fill further down in this article.

Use wire nuts of the correct size to join wires together. For fan / light combination fixtures, most likely it will have wire connections, the white wire will be the grounded conductor (neutral), any green wires are equipment grounding conductors,  then there will be two other wires one will be the switched ungrounded conductor (hot) for the light, and one will be the switched ungrounded conductor (hot) for the fan.  If you are confused please post to our forums for further clarification.

What is not shown in the drawings to avoid confusion, is that each wire cable also has a bare equipment grounding wire included. This wire is connected to a grounding screw in each electrical box (if the box is metal),  joined either through the grounding screws in the box itself or via a wire nut to the bare wire of the next cable entering / exiting the box, it is also connected to any grounding screw (if there is one) on the switch itself, as well as any grounding screw at the fixture (green wires that attach to the fixture are grounds).  Now if using a plastic box, it is made of a material that is non conductive, however some plastic boxes have a metal strip inside that can still be used to connect equipment grounding wires, in the event that it does not use wire nuts to join the bare grounding wires together. The equipment grounding wire (bare in most cables) must be electrical conductively joined throughout the circuit.  Green wires are also equipment grounding conductors.

If there is an equipment grounding screw on the switch it may be green in color and be separated away from the main connections of the switch and likely part of the metal frame that is also part of the mounting structure of the switch.

For Extension Options to this circuit - CLICK HERE


Foreign Users:

The colors of the wires depicted are based on the standards and code requirements / configuration in the United States and Canada. If you are viewing this site from a foreign country, your wiring standards and color of wires may be different but the principal and sequence of wiring will still remain the same. Therefore the information in this article may still be of use to you regardless of what country you may be in. Just translate the colors used here to the color of wires used in your country in regards to ungrounded (hot) conductors / grounded conductors (neutral) and equipment grounding conductors as well know applicable code requirements in your country.

By: Donald Kerr

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