Electrical Wiring in the Home/wiring a wall switch


My wall switch is currently wired for a remote ceiling fan. 2 white wires twisted together and 2 black wires twisted together in the box. I want to replace the fan with  a regular light fixture. How do I wire a switch.

Peter,  I have to assume that the only controls for the soon to be gone ceiling fan is the remote and maybe a pull chain?

I cannot be sure  but most likely there is a white power and black power   tied to the white and black from the fan,  putting the power constantly at the fan and controlled by the remote or chain,   that is how wall switch boxes usually end up looking like you describe,  

IF that is the case,  find the breaker for the fan, and shut if off and tape it off if it is protecting something else and someone might turn it on  while you are doing this

You will have to identify the white and black from the fan,  it might be visually obvious or you might need a meter,  but once you identify the white and black that travel to the ceiling   the other two are the power from the breaker,   

Your new light assembly will have either a white and black lead or a place to connect a white and black  and also somewhere there should be a bare copper looking ground wire that goes to the chassis, it is not needed to operate it is for feeding the breaker faster if there is a short, s if there is one, connect to usually a green screw or identified ground mark on the frame of the fan, if so remove from fan and attach to the light fixture.

If no ground wire there should be if you can fish one down or it may be there is a ground wire in the box in the ceiling,   you can run it without but it will be against code,   the chances are real low it will ever be an issue but I have to warn you it should have a dedicated earth ground.

Now we have white and black power,   and white and black LOAD    right now they are wired black to black and white to white,   

with breaker off    after light is installed and connected,   reconnect the whites  and shove in the back of the switch box,     take the blacks   and the black power lead goes to one side of the switch,  and the load black goes to the other   so you will be switching the hot lead.

All you need is a single pole on off switch that is rated in amps to the light which should be fairly low,   or a dimmer switch or however you want to control the light    again assuming you are installing a normal ceiling light    anything exotic   you need to verify the amps so you don not overload the wire size,    but since a ceiling fan is there  you can use its amp rating to be the cap on the light amps,  or by cap  I mean if the fan used 6 amps you can use 6 amps of lights which is a LOT OF LIGHT    

Just nothing wild    I can never tell what a person is liable to use,  so the bottom line is the wire is good for x amps  and the only thing you know is the fan worked with no problem so whatever it was rated for is good   follow?

The switch might be marked line and load at the terminals but it is just a single pole switch unless you choose a dimmer of some sort and same thing,  

So you will have the two whites still connected,    break the two blacks and you dont have TO KNOW which is the power or the load but it is usually better you do,   if it is impossible then one black to one side of the switch and the other to the second side of the switch   

If the light is already up there and wired  breaker off,  you can just leave the whites connected and install the switch with the blacks,  dont forget to make the switch orient correctly    flip type up is on   down is off,  dimmer has an arrow up for install   

Then you screw the switch to the box,   then a new cover with the right slot or hole or whatever type of trip is on the switch some have the big rectangle some just the regular flip arm  some have a round shaft hole knob on outside, of the switch plate which has tiny screws to the threads in the switch      

Fairly simple just make sure the breaker is off and no access by anyone until you are done,  
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Will Babbitt


Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc www.emrrepair.com More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. repair@mearservice.com from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,


Over thirty years with a major repair and sales company, VP of Operations, and former owner of my own specialty repair shops, MEAR Services local to Kansas City Missouri EMR Repair Inc., located in Kansas City Missouri, 2014 sold both businesses to JCI Industries, Lee's Summit Missouri wbabbitt@jciind.com Evaluation and repair of electrical/mechanical apparatus. Electrical and mechanical repairs, trouble shooting including, vibration and balance issues. About.com provides this service, and the huge costs to provide help on about any subject. They provide the servers, the people to vet the experts, costs that would be the same as operating a good sized business, They should be appreciated for what they do, the huge costs and the great help they provide for free, Electric motor questions, can be answered here but there is a dedicated category that has other experts to help and add to a solution. Other common questions, are noises in the walls, breakers tripping, devices not starting or shutting down for no apparent reason, smoke alarms buzzing, thermostat change outs, or sizing wire or needing information for a new project, but anything can be resolved, anything, with enough effort and patience, DIY, with electrical is possible, but in most cases the use of a simple ohm meter or volt meter is needed, they can be purchased at any hardware store for a few bucks. If you have smoke, or smell smoke, don't be writing me, call 911 the Fire Department has no problem looking for smoke smells, better then spraying water on a blazing fire. DO NOT GET CAUGHT INVESTIGATING AND TRAPPED IN A BASEMENT LOOKING FOR A BLOWER FAILING< As to the tip jar, it is up to you, it is appreciated, every expert spends out of pocket that I know, we spend on IP time, computer wear, printing documents, books, and of course our time, but if we prevent a $400 service call, we did well,

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10 plus years, various Technical Schools, followed by Industrial College Credit and non Credit Courses, electronics courses, experience in most any electrical apparatus, electric motors and generators, AC OR DC, fractional to above 5000HP, other electrical apparatus, slip rings, sleeve [plain] bearings, lubrication, identification-no data plate, control components, service and sales. I have continued night schools for decades, the list is extensive. I have been in the business of repairing most anything with wires or mechanical parts for decades, I have some helpful hints and directions you won't have to dig up. Or hopefully not have to pay a huge service call invoice to find.

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