Electrical Wiring in the Home/Ceiling Fan Problem


I'm replacing a ceiling fan. I have three black & three white wires coming out of the ceiling and connecting to the respective white, black and blue wires of the fan. For some reason, the wall switch is now inverted so the fan is on with the switch off and when I flip it up, the breaker trips. What did I do wrong? When I took the first fan down it was impossible to see the wires so they pulled free of the connectors and I had to connect all blacks to each other and all whites to each other but I may be mistaken in doing that.

You should never remove all the connectors, just the ones going to the fan. Always hook the new fan up the same way old fan was hooked up.

One of the cable containing a black and white is a switch loop. Both wires are hot.  To figure out which cable that is, turn the power off at the breaker box. Then use a continuity tester (available for a few dollars at any home center) and check the continuity between the black and white for each cable.  When you find the cable that has continuity with the switch on, and none with the switch off, you have found the switch loop.  Connect the white wire of the switch loop to the black wire of the fan.  Put a piece of black tape on that white wire to show it is a hot wire.  Then connect the remaining white wires together, and the remaining black wires together.  
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


Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.