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What switch? Ceiling Fan/Light Combo

DRB

Member
Many of my rooms have a ceiling fan/light combo. What if any type of switch is appriocate? I don't believe I can use a dimmer, but what about the switches for florecesent lights, will that work? I think I read somewhere that a fan/light should not be used together, possible hum and other problems? Is there is a easy work around that dosen't require rewiring the lights? Also what about bathroom[vent] fan/light combos?

While were on lights, can you use the regular dimmer switch for fixtures with a halogen bulb?

And finially, the last light switch question. I have one switch that controls five floresent fixtures and a small string of low-volture lights. Will a florecent switch be OK?

Thanks
DRB
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
DRB:

Let me give this a shot:

Many of my rooms have a ceiling fan/light combo. What if any type of switch is appriocate? I don't believe I can use a dimmer, but what about the switches for florecesent lights, will that work?

You are correct in you can not use a dimmer because the one switch will control both the light AND the fan. Therefore dimmers are out.

I really like this switch. I would check out Martin's site at http://automatedoutlet.com and see if he carries this, or has something similar. This switch will control resistive loads and fluorescent lighting. Also note: THIS SWITCH REQUIRES A NEUTRAL WIRE!! I mention this because if you don't have one in your switch's gang box (white wire usually), you are out of luck switching this fan with X-10 control.

I think I read somewhere that a fan/light should not be used together, possible hum and other problems?

Not sure what you mean here as I am not experienced with controlling ceiling fans remotely. I do know that this switch will not cause your fan to hum as stated in Smarthome's description (in the above link)
Remotely control your ceiling fan from any X10 controller. Because there is no dimming, there will be no fan hum. The SwitchLinc Relay in no way alters the electricity going to the fan's motor.

Is there is a easy work around that dosen't require rewiring the lights

If you mean is there an easy work around that will let you control both the fan and light separately, I don't know of one. You could always put one of those X-10 controls for the light that mount in a junction box to control the light, but it's control status would also depend on having the main switch on, so not sure if it is worth the expense (I beleive these things are expensive).


Also what about bathroom[vent] fan/light combos?

Well, seems to me this would have the same situation as the fan/light combination above.

While were on lights, can you use the regular dimmer switch for fixtures with a halogen bulb?

I honestly don't know, but my first inclination would be to answer NO here. I believe this subject is covered on the HS boards and I'll try to search there if I get some time tonight (since I am really not sure about this).

I have one switch that controls five floresent fixtures and a small string of low-volture lights. Will a florecent switch be OK?

Hopefully you mean that the fluorescent lighting and the TRANSFORMER for the low voltage lighting are using the same switched circuit. If this is the case, yes the above switch should work. Just make sure you do not exceed the amperage and wattage limitations.

Regards,

BSR
 

AutomatedOutlet

Senior Member
Nice job BSR!

DRB,

A few additional points.

For ceiling fans you have a couple of choices if you really want to do it right without the potential to hum or cause damage to the fan motors.

The switch BSR mentioned is a great one for ceiling fans. It will turn them on or off. Switches of this type generally cost between $33 and $73. The best switch for ceiling fans is the Lightolier 3-speed ceiling fan controller. It is more money than these other options - $93

You've mentioned about fan/light switches. I do not believe that there is a combo switch switch it that's what you are talking about. If this is how it's configured, you only other option would be using in-line modules for the fan and lighting and install a multi-button keypad. You will need to find an appropriate place to install the in-line modules as well.

Low voltage and halogen lights are not an issue for the better light switches. If you do have lighting with electric transformers on them, you will probably need in-line filters to absorb some of the noise that these types of fixture produce. Magnetic transformers usually are not an issue.

If you are running transformer based lighting, there may be some switch de-rating needed - up to 50% - not usually an issue though.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
The best switch for ceiling fans is the Lightolier 3-speed ceiling fan controller.

Martin:

If he put one of these switches in does it install in the ceiling fan's "junction box" in the ceiling, so it goes just to the fan and not the light??

BSR
 

DRB

Member
Thanks, BSR & Martin for your responces.

Just a few quick questions to be sure:

The best switch for ceiling fans is the Lightolier 3-speed ceiling fan controller

Unless there is something special about this switch, as BSR asks, will this switch work? This fan is fan/light combo. So this switch would mainly control the lights. Just double checking so you know what this switch will be used for.

Low voltage and halogen lights are not an issue for the better light switches

Does this mean I could use either type of switch? [dimmer/or florcescent]


My low-volt lighting is running on a electrical transformer. I think I just plugged the transformer into a basement electrial outlet. Would I then be able to use a plug in filter from smarthome, or dose the run after the transformer need the filtering? If the plug in filter would do the trick, what size [amps?]

If you are running transformer based lighting, there may be some switch de-rating needed - up to 50% - not usually an issue though.

Not sure at all what you mean about this.

Thanks again
DRB
 

ericvic

Active Member
DRB,

If you have one switch on the wall for both the fan and light then you can only use one relay type switch in the wall or in-line modules at the actual fan. If you go with in-line modules then you would have to have some sort of transmitter to control the in-line modules to turn them on and off and you wouldn't want to use the wall switch because if you turned off the wall switch then you wouldn't be able to turn them on again with X-10. I had this problem at my apartment, in my house I'm rewiring all the light/fan combos to have separate switches for the lights and fan. That is the best option in my opinion and not that costly even if you have an electrician do it (depending on your house construction).

Hope that didn't just confuse you more.

Eric
 

jlehnert

Active Member
I don't believe you ever said if the light/fan combination used a single wall switch for on/off or a speed/light combo unit. The former is usually a retrofit situation where someone has replaced a ceiling light with a fan/light. The wall swtich turns off everything, while the pull chains on the fan control the light and the fan speed (assuming the wall switch is on). If this is the case, you can control the light by putting an in-line module up in the mounting box for the fan, but you're SOL for controlling the fan speed remotedly without major re-wiring.

If you have a fan/light control (usually fan speed on a slider with an on/off switch at the bottom) then you can do the job properly with a minimum amount of work. Best way is to get a dual gang "old work" box to replace the current box on the wall, then connect the Lightolier mentioned above to the fan, then connect any good dimmer to the light. Whistle for more specific directions if needed.

The same logic applies to bathroom fans, but I wouldn't waste money on lightolier for the fan. Any good appliance switch (on/off) will work fine for the fan.
 

DRB

Member
I don't believe you ever said if the light/fan combination used a single wall switch

I may not have said it, but yea I meant it.

This is how my fan light works:

The fan always has power reguardless of the light switch postion, pull the chain and you cycle from off, low, medium, high, to off again. The switch controls the light, but the power from the fan also comes thru the switch. This was a Huntington ceiling fan/light that did did replace a regular ceiling light fixture. There was special instructions to wire the fan/light to make it operate this way. This makes me think that I may be able to do something.

DRB
 
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