Archive for Thursday, September 5, 2013


Fix-It Chick: Replace a broken fan switch

September 5, 2013


Replacing a broken pull switch on a ceiling fan is often an easy job.

Step 1: Purchase a replacement switch at your local hardware store or electrical supply house. Three-speed fans typically require an “off-on-on-on” switch, and two-speed fans require an “off-on-on” switch. Be certain that the amperage and voltage rating for the new switch matches the needs of the fan.

Step 2: Use the circuit breaker or fuse panel to turn off the power supply to the fan.

Step 3: Remove any pull chain ends, light bulbs and lamp shades from the ceiling fan.

Step 4: For fans with attached light fixtures, remove the screws in the light housing and move the light fixture aside without disconnecting the light.

Step 5: Unscrew the metal switch collar holding the broken switch in place.

Step 6: Remove the screws located on the bottom portion of the fan housing to expose the broken fan switch.

Step 7: Use a voltage sensor to confirm that the power is off to the fan and the light fixture.

Step 8: Three-speed fans should have four wires running to the switch. Two-speed fans should have three wires running to the switch. Make note of which wire goes to each contact point on the old switch. Look for the letter and numbers L-1-2-3 or L-1-2 on both the old and new switch. If there are additional wires, make note of those also.

Step 9: If there are small holes located near each of the wire connecting points on the old switch, push the end of a paperclip into the holes to disconnect each wire. Otherwise, remove the old switch by cutting each wire as close to the switch as possible, being careful to preserve the wire length.

Step 10: Use a wire stripper to expose 1/2 inch of bare wire on each wire end.

Step 11: Attach each wire to the new switch by pressing the tip of the wire into the hole located closest to its corresponding letter or number. All wires must be connected to the new switch in exactly the same manner that they were attached to the old switch.

Step 12: Reassemble the fan and light switch.

Step 13: Turn the power back on and test the new switch to be certain everything works as planned.


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