Wiring 101


Senior Member
I'm putting in a ceiling fan and it currently has one switch for the light. I want to add a second switch to the setup but need wiring help. I'm going to run a new piece of 14-2 from the light box to the wall switch right now. What I need to know is how do I wire the fan to the new switch? I've done this but it's been so long. I would think I could run a wire from the existing light switch to the new switch for power. Does this sound correct? TIA
See if THIS makes any sense (drew it up quickly so make sure it's correct).

This should be your scenario as it is the most common.

But as Wayne said, it really depends on where you initial power source is.
You need to run a piece of 3 conductor (with ground 4 total ) to each 3 way switch.

Run the hot from the breaker to the common on one of the switches.

The common from the other switch goes to the black wire on the light .

The other two wires run between the other two terminals on the switches...doesn't matter which.

neutral ain't involved in the switches at all... goes straight to the light.
Hey Rupp;

Saw you latest posting in HS land. I really don't know what to tell you on this one. I'm a little nervous giving any advice now that you said you found a white tied to a black wire (would be hard to troubleshoot this remotely).


If power is being fed at the light fixture, then there is probably a standard 14/2 (black,white,bare/green) that runs down to the switch. Essentially that supplies power to the wall switch and brings switched power back up to the fan/light. So one leg is always hot, one is switched hot, so somewhere you will get a black/white nutted together.
Yes, that is probably the scenario, I'm just a little nervous giving advice not knowing the entire situation.

I guess he could always disconnect the 14-2 black wire on the bundle where the white wire was attached (sounds like the switch source is being fed via the white wire from his description), then measure AC voltage between this black wire and the neutral connection at the light box and see if the switch turns this black wire's voltage on and off. That would give a little more confidence of the situation.
New description:

There are 4 romex wires coming into the light box. This gets complex but I'll attempt to describe it. All of the blacks are tied together except for the black coming from the switch. All of the whites are tied together except for one white that is tied into the blacks. I don't think I can describe this and may just forget about it.
BSR another drawing for a beginer would be nice :)
Rupp said:
There are 4 romex wires coming into the light box.
4 sounds like more than is needed, so we need to figure out what they are for.
1) power feed from breaker panel
2) to/from single wall switch for control
3) feed to a wall outlet ?? (just because it was a convenient source of power for the electrician?)
4) another outlet ??

we have one fan with light kit, all controlled by a single standard switch, right?

is there another switch that may control another wall outlet?
turn off the breaker and find out what else is de energized.

Probably other lights and maybe receptacles.

What you describe sounds like the branch circuit going to this particular box and on to other things.

Romex only has white, black, and ground. It's common to hook the white wire from the switch to the hots from the breaker... thst identifies the switch wire and leaves you with a black returning from the switch, and a white from the neutral to hook up your light, or fan or whatever.
OK, here is an attempt at figuring out your scenario. I didn't draw the other romex lines as I believe they are just going to other cicruits.

As long as you tie the neutral and ground of the fan/light to the major white and gnd bundles, and are able to find the "switched" feed from the already in place switch, this should work.

BUT, let's let others "throw darts" at this schematic and get their opinions.

Again, I only put one minute's thought into this as I'm leaving for work and don't have a lot of time right now... ;)


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BTW, if your light switch box does not have a neutral and you want to put automated switches in their you could always use the white wire from your new romex run. Just connect the white end to the white bundle in the light box and cap off the white wire end in the light switch box (till you need it).
apparently I misunderstood you.

I thought you wanted to be able to turn the light on/off from two different locations.
If you want to turn the fan and the light on/off seperately from one location, BSR is the "blueprintin' man".

The only dart I'd throw is that the designation for romex is the number of current carrying conductors. 14/3 has 3 conductors AND an additional ground. !4/2 has 2 conductors AND an additional ground. Flexible cord is not designated that way: 14/3 SJO has 3... period.

If you don't need a neutral you could use 14/3 (romex) to the switch box.

I'll go away now.