You are here:

Electrical Wiring in the Home/Replacing pull cord switch on ceiling fan


Hi Bill!  I'm trying to replace my pull cord switch from my ceiling fan and have some questions on the wiring as I'm unable to find the exact switch.  First, the original factory wiring is all blue.  There is the main wire coming in.  The pull cord switch was attached to that of course, and coming out the other end was the one wire to be attached to the bulbs. Therefore, you see a wire coming from each bulb (3 in total) all attached to this wire.  This is capped off together to make it a total of 4 wires.  I now can only find a 3 wire light switch and not the 2 like I had before.  This switch has a black wire, which I know is a hot wire and I would wire it to the current from the ceiling fan.  But now I have a blue and a red wire remaining on the other end.  The person at the store acted like I can just wire one of them to the 3 wires from the bulbs so it will be a set up just like before, (which I'm assuming would be the blue one used for this.)  And he said to just leave one hanging that is not in use.  Assuming the red.  I guess his theory would be that it would be a ground wire and don't use it or something like that?  I want to know if I can go ahead with this 3 wire switch pull chain replacement here when I only had a 2 wire one before. Also, if this can all be done this way and it to be safe.  Thanks for your help.

Hi Patty,

It sounds like you are thinking too hard. A switch is just a device that opens or closes a connection. It has no direction so it doesn't matter it you get the hot side confused with the bulb side. You say your switch has two wire + the black.  My guess is the second switch wire is for a night light, the first is the main light.

In short. You can't do anything wrong here. Do a little trial an error with the connections. You can do this and it will work. If not the first time reorder the wires and try again.

Good luck
About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Bill Lutz


Any questions about being an electrician or doing electrical work. I can help advise people on their wiring needs, what kind of outlets and switcher to use, explain what an electrical service is and how their breakers work. I can also help them with their lighting needs. . I CAN HELP YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR LOOKING AT.


My Father apprenticed to his Father-and I apprenticed to mine, repeating an invaluable tradition of child labor and a great place to learn a trade. Beginning at the age of 13, I worked with my dad every weekend and summer vacation in homes throughout Philadelphia repairing and rewiring all levels of residential electrical systems. Studying electrical engineering and earning a degree in architecture has given me a solid advantage in solving the myriad of residential electrical problems. Generation 3 Electrical, Inc. takes pride in every job - building confidence by how we do things - by being prompt, thorough and leaving every job site finished and clean.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]