Submitted by Madams135 t3_126haxd in DIY

I have a large ceiling fan on my vaulted ceiling in my main entrance and a separate light fixture ~15ft further into the house where the ceiling becomes 9ft. My problem is that these seem to be wired together on a dual switch. There is a switch at the door entrance as well as the side wall that controls both simultaneously. So in order to have the large fan circulating air, the light fixture must always be on as well.

My current fix has been to just remove the bulbs out of the light fixture so that it can always be on in order to use the large fan to circulate air between both levels. I was thinking a quick fix could be smart bulbs, but the fixture is a 3 unit spotlight type that takes the small bulbs with 2 prongs. Need a good solution here.



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KennstduIngo t1_je9k8s7 wrote

It seems like your choices are either replace the light fixture with one that you can put smart bulbs in or pay an electrician to run some new wiring.

A lot of these answers don't seem to understand your question.


Madams135 OP t1_je9qvx6 wrote

But YOU understand me. Thanks for the feedback. I actually found some smart bulbs, so this is the easy "fix."


Just_wanna_talk t1_je9xiom wrote

You can also buy remote controllers where you wire in a receiver at the base of the fan and use a remote to control the fan and lights independently. This way you can also control the fan speed in addition if it's a 3 speed fan.


Oenonaut t1_jea35e7 wrote

That was my first thought, but on re-reading the fan and light are completely separate fixtures. I think what you're describing is intended to control the fan and lights in a single fixture.


Just_wanna_talk t1_jeb24b5 wrote

Depending on how it's wired it may still work if you interrupt the line with the receiver. But instead of the receiver controlling the lights in the fan itself it would control the separate light fixture.


BobbysWorldWar2 t1_jeaaw34 wrote

I had the same issue and this is what I did to fix it. Was going to be $400 to get a new wire ran without the drywall work. I ended up just getting a nicer big fan/light for $150 and replacing it myself.


Reallytalldude t1_jecphn7 wrote

Yep, that is exactly what my sparky installed for the same dilemma. I have one circuit that has both ceiling Down lights and a fan on the same light switch. He put in a remote control that operates both, so instead of flipping the switch I just use the remote - the switch stays always on.

Picture of said remote control:


Madams135 OP t1_jedqbfd wrote

Interesting. The fan has its own remote, but obviously just controls the fan. This doesn't fix the downright being always on. Thanks for sharing the pic.


amznfire t1_jeam6yt wrote

The problem even with smart bulbs is that if you cut power to the fan, the bulbs will lose power as well and thus disconnect from wifi.

Not sure how fast they reestablish wifi connection if you restore power to the fan and whether they go through some self check each time but this might be annoying as well as smart bulbs aren't designed to be fully powered off each time you turn off the lights.


compounding t1_jecga2g wrote

The solution if you still want to use the wall switch would be to permanently connect the power (take the switch out of the circuit entirely) and replace the wall receptacle with smart switches that are programmed to control the smart lights and a relay for the fan wirelessly.


TenderfootGungi t1_jea6vhy wrote

One of the few scenarios that smart bulbs instead of smart switched make sense.


Pinbrawler t1_jea5tj3 wrote

A remote or hunter makes a new wall switch that has light on/off/bright fan on/off/speed and full power. Only issue is it’s ugly af and off white. I use them and it works well for not running more wires for full control but still being able to adjust


Katters8811 t1_jebcsza wrote

There are a lot of different options and colors for these switches... definitely including white lol. Isn’t “Hunter” the brand name of some fans? So if it HAS to be brand specific for the one you have, maybe that’s the issue. People are getting these types of switches all over the place now (at least where I am in the US) and I’ve seen a huge variety and different colors. Never felt the need for one myself, so not sure about requirements. Mainly see them in newer houses or houses being renovated/updated. May be worth a look if you don’t like the color though!


Pinbrawler t1_jed305q wrote

Mine was through hunter, and they have a limited selection. It was a decently generic kit that installs a remote receiver in the fan unit and has the wall outlet with the remote. So I could see some other brands having correct colors


Katters8811 t1_jegu09n wrote

Yeah, back a few years ago I was looking to upgrade some ceiling fan/lights in my house and noticed hunter has an all around shockingly limited selection! They’re a great brand, but they seriously need to catch up selection-wise. Ones I’ve seen doing home renovations are pretty badass and there’s ones that u can attach the remote to, so it’s easy to put somewhere to keep up with it when you leave the room, then grab it back off the switch when you come into the room


SkooksOnReddit t1_jeb44ka wrote

That's how I solved it, sure I can't flip a switch to turn them off but I can turn them off in bed.


CloudMage1 t1_jebuxas wrote

there is no easy hard wire fix. smart bulbs would be the easiest. put an alexa in there and turn it on and off that way. you could also buy one of the "add on" remotes for ceiling fans and light fixtures to the light fixture wiring. then you could mount the remote to the wall and use it to turn the light on and off. that just requires wiring it into the top of the light fixture.

but smart bulbs would be my go to. i use them everywhere anyways.


lukkyfukky t1_jea4oem wrote

Smart bulbs def the way to go. I can turn mine on/off from anywhere w my phone as long as the switch is on. Def not worth the hassle of rewiring shit.


9174619472 t1_jeaeonq wrote

I have a similar and am rubbing Phillips hue smart bulbs and switch.

The switch is great. I stuck it on the wall next to existing switches.


Ryantdunn t1_jecjyz9 wrote

Smart bulbs will turn on every time you switch it off and on again which is a bit annoying. Are the pull cords missing? Usually the fan unit is all on one wall switch and you change the lights and fan setting with the pull cords.


MetaverseRealty t1_je9zult wrote

smart bulbs wouldn't fix this entirely, since they would power on and off with the fan switch

the fan and or switch are definitely wired incorrectly


Bgrngod t1_jeaik8c wrote

Yeah, exactly.

When the switches are in the "off" position, then the bulbs will only ever be off because they have no power. The OP can still have the lights off with the fan on, but cannot have the lights on with the fan off. Maybe that's fine for OP though?

I'd pull open both wall switches to see what the wiring looks like. Maybe they do have independent wires but were linked together or something weird.


KennstduIngo t1_jeatry8 wrote

True. You would likely want to replace the fan with one that can be remotely controlled (or add a remote control , possible) and then just leave that switch on all the time.


itdumbass t1_jea5z8y wrote

This is it. You have a fan and a light wired together, on 3-way switches. Either re-wire, or leave the fan on and use controllable bulbs. Recognize that the smart bulbs might get confused if you switch off/on the fan sometimes; they may end up back in pairing mode. Not a big issue, but it can be annoying.


harrybalsania t1_jeamk58 wrote

You can also get a fan that has a radio control switch and is wireless. Those are great for these situations if you don’t want smart bulbs.


KennstduIngo t1_jeat0b3 wrote

That is not the situation here though. The fan and a completely separate light fixture are on the same switch. OP wants to turn on the fan without turning on the light fixture. There is nothing you can do with the fan to enable keeping the other light fixture off while the fan has power.


Reyway t1_je9b90h wrote

You would need to know how they are wired, most likely someone goofed the wiring. You will have to follow the wires and see where they split since they should be wired parallel.

The switches are most likely located before the split, removing the switches and putting them on the seperate splits should allow you to turn the ceiling fan and light fixture on and off individually.


Oenonaut t1_jea3jwl wrote

From the OP description, I suspect the fan was added at a later time by a previous owner, replacing one light in a switched set. If that's the case there probably wouldn't be a split, correct?


imnotsoho t1_jediq68 wrote

And if they messed the wiring up, did they install a ceiling fan box? That fan might be living on borrowed time.


Reyway t1_jea6zcl wrote

Should still be since lights are also wired parallel.


Reyway t1_jedtawj wrote

Not sure why i am getting down voted. If the lights aren't wired parallel, the lights after the first one won't get the required voltage to operate optimally.

The split will probably be closer to the lights which would make re-doing the wiring difficult since your would need to run wires to the split for the switch.

I would like an explanation why someone would think this information is wrong?


John-Miami t1_je9aesh wrote

You might be able to use this device

About this item

This kit converts regular ceiling fan into a remote controllable one.

This remote control is designed to separately control your ceiling fan speed and light.

The screen displays HI, MED, LOW, OFF modes to control the fan speed and off.

It has both fan and light timer button to program the fan and light.

The thermostatic button on the transmitter will automatically set fan when pressed


dank953 t1_je9sbwa wrote

I've also used these in this situation. They work well.


craigcoffman t1_je9f4gl wrote

Isn't there two switches on the fan itself? Pull chains typically. One turns the lights on/off, the other sets the fan speed & on/off.


Callec254 t1_je9k9ls wrote

Yes. But every house I've ever owned, the master bedroom has them wired to two separate switches, and then every other fan in the house has them wired to the same switch. I've never understood this, like how much harder could it possibly be to do them all to two switches?


craigcoffman t1_je9kkak wrote

If installing a fan in an older home, 'two switches' requires installing a new box in the wall (for room for the second switch) & then running another wire from the switchbox to the fan (so as to have control over both fan & light independently). Most homeowner don't want o do this, so they hook it up like you see & then use the pull chains.


delia_ann t1_jea2sm6 wrote

It doesn’t require a new box, just a dual switch. But it’s true no one wants to run the wiring. It’s obnoxious how hard it is to actually find a fan now that’s meant for standard 3-wire setups.


Just_wanna_talk t1_je9xn04 wrote

Most of them are probably wired for regular light fixtures and have a fan put in afterwards.


UnePetiteMontre t1_je9vw9g wrote

Well, we had the same issue with our house. And here's what we did:

We snaked new cables in the wall for the fan, and we bought and installed a new light switch that has a timer on one side, and a normal switch on the other. We had to enlarge the wall to fit this bigger switch, and we had to make all the relevant connections with the cables. It was actually fairly easy, surprisingly. Of course, I did that with someone that has over 35 years of experience working in the construction industry, so your mileage may vary.


rsherid28 t1_je9tnm0 wrote

Install a two channel relay wherever the feed to the light/fan splits to both devices. Look into the UL listed Shelly brand relays that can be wired in device junction boxes. You would wire the physical switch to the switch input on the channel you want to turn on/off (eg fan). The other switch input on the relay can be controlled via the shelly app and uses Wi-Fi (no hub required). Might confuse the next home owner but does what you need.

If you need help understanding the wiring, I can send you a little diagram.


BrodyBuster t1_je98ssc wrote

That’s going to depend on your fan make and model. Some fans don’t have separate wiring for the light and fan, others do. IF your fan fixture has independent wiring, then you’ll need to run another power line to the fixture and add a new switch for that power line at the location of your choice. The difficult part will be running a new power line to the fixture without tearing up the drywall.


Ok_Television_9348 t1_je9kyhq wrote

Are you describing GU10 light bulbs? They make GU10 smart light bulbs.

I suspect they only ran one hot wire from the switch to the fan/light.


Madams135 OP t1_je9l8ox wrote

Yes I just assumed, but found some in a search! Oops. Yea, not worth my trouble to try to fis this wiring 30 ft in the air.


FerretChrist t1_jeadce6 wrote

If you intend to buy Philips Hue bulbs, you'll need to change a buried setting in the app, otherwise by default they'll come on whenever they get power, i.e. whenever you turn on your fan.

If you're buying some other brand, check that they have this feature. It might be that they turn on by default as soon as they get power, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Of course, if you're literally leaving the fan on permanently, this is less of an issue. Naturally this also means your solution gives you no way to have the lights on without the fan, if that bothers you.


Madams135 OP t1_jedr9qm wrote

Great points. Luckily I have a remote for the fan, so I can leave the switch on and still control the fan and its individual light, while allowing the other down light fixture to be kept on. Thanks for the good feedback.


FerretChrist t1_jedt508 wrote

Excellent, with the remote for the fan it should all work out perfectly then!

Don't get addicted to the smart lighting, I liked mine so much I ended up kitting the whole house out with them. ;)


TickTockWorkshop t1_je9pekr wrote

I think the fan was wired this way because the installer didn’t want to have to run a new switch line

You can get smart switches as well as smart bulbs. You swap the cables from the light straight into a little box (Or split them into two individual boxes), then you have a number of switch lines that can go to whatever you want. The advantage of this is that you stand a good chance of tucking all of this away in the ceiling, without having to do any major re-wiring. Replace the old switch with a smart switch and you can control things as you please. The components aren’t expensive. $50 job.


Madams135 OP t1_je9r5wq wrote

Thanks! I'll have to look into this a bit more.


TickTockWorkshop t1_je9t8su wrote

There’s a huge number of different options, this isn’t the only solution. If you look for ‘Home Assistant’ videos on YouTube, you’ll get an idea of the sort of components that are out there and how easy they are to install.


armorer1984 t1_je9a7gs wrote

The first step is finding the lazy piece of s**t that only ran one line from the wall box to the ceiling box. Step two is beating them with a bat until they don't do it again.

You'll need to run a second line from the wall box to the ceiling to have seperate light and fan power. That is, if your fan supports it. Most do.


craigcoffman t1_je9kr23 wrote

That 'lazy p.o.s.' was probably the previous homeowner. They probably didn't have the know how or the determination to add a switch & run wire.


Madams135 OP t1_je9r0ol wrote

I think you hit the nail on the head. Assuming this wasn't originally a fan, but just another light.


PandasWhoLoveToLimbo t1_jeacwc9 wrote

In that case, while you're poking around up there you should also check that the ceiling electrical box that they mounted it on is rated for fan use. It needs to be either drilled into a ceiling stud, or bracketed between two ceiling studs with a metal bar, and if it was originally a light then the builder probably wouldn't have bothered to secure it super well. If its the wrong type of mount then your fan could fall at any time.


armorer1984 t1_je9qt4k wrote

I am a non-discriminatory accuser. Doesn't matter who it is. Contractor, homeowner, "a buddy who....", none are immune in my eyes. If you're gonna do something, do it at least 3/4 assed. Not running that second 14/2 is 1/16th assed at best.


Ramen576 t1_jeagxth wrote

Sorry to be that guy, but I am sure you mean 14/3. 14/2 is how this guy got stuck asking us for help in the first place. :)


armorer1984 t1_jealru7 wrote

Dang fat finger.


imnotsoho t1_jedj4wr wrote

Either one 14-3 or 2 14-2s. Both give you enough wires, one is easier and cheaper.


abakedapplepie t1_je9vb1a wrote

The most correct answer is to run 3-wire from the switch to the fan, or at least check and see if you already have 3-wire and it was just tied together.

If you only h ave 2-wire going to the fan, there should be enough room in the canopy for a controller module.

You should look into a remote-controlled or smart fan controllers, they sell some that have an in-canopy module with separate controlled outputs for lights and fan speed.

Non-smart radio frequency Hunter brand remote controller

Example smart controller Another example smart controller

There is also a device that I have personally been waiting to buy but will seemingly never get back in stock, the Innovelli smart controller

You can also use the OEM remote controller such as the Hunter above with the Bond device that adds smart control to your RF fan controllers

One other option is to use Shelly smart relays inside the fan canopy connected to the lights and the fan motor, this will work if the canopy is not sized to fit a full sized fan controller inside.


Bighorn21 t1_jea3y4f wrote

I see that you have already gotten some good answers. As to why this was done, assuming one was installed after the other and they just tapped into whatever wire they could find. It was lazy and unfortunate.


anonanon1313 t1_jea92my wrote

I think smart switches/appliances/controllers/fixtures are the way of the future, so I'd lean into that rather than rewiring.


Hobywony t1_jeacgap wrote

Clap on, clap off?


RustySheriffsBadge1 t1_jeaehiy wrote

I just had this very same issue!!

You’ll need to run new electrical wire from your ceiling fan down to an switch. It needs its own wire separate from the lights.

In the light switch gang box there will be a line from the house. You can to tap into that for power and add a new switch and a dual gang box. This is all pretty easy to do. Watch a few YouTube videos to familiarize yourself with the process.


imnotsoho t1_jedjb0x wrote

Sounds easy, but OP has a TALL vaulted ceiling. Those usually don't have much room to work in, sometimes they do but my living room only has about 2 feet of space, don't want to try to crawl through there.


CanadianBaconMTL t1_jedcszl wrote

Fiy There are adapters to that type of bulb connecter to the normal ones.


imnotsoho t1_jedia1n wrote

I am confused by your terminology. What is a dual switch? And then you say there is another switch that controls both of them?

Are there 2 switches in one box and only one of those switches control the 2 fixtures? And that switch is a 3-way switch that is also wired to the other switch by the door that is also a 3-way switch, that is how 3-way switches work.

My house was built in 2006 and required 3 conductor wires for ceiling fans so there would be separate switches for fan and light, mine only use one as we have remotes, but the wires are there. See if you have 3-conductor wire at either of those switches - black, red, and white. If you have that you may be able to rewire, and replace switches so each switch only controls one fixture.

So if you have 3-conductor to the fan, you could use the black to feed the ceiling fan and use the remote to switch light/fan. Then use the red conductor, reconnected to only provide power as it bypasses the fan, to feed the other light.


johnr588 t1_je9rqgu wrote

Not an Electrician but I think you can replace the 14/2 with a 14/3 and change out to a two gang box with two switches. That's what I did to our bath fan light combo. I put the fan on its own timer switch.


Bldaz t1_je9szlp wrote

With only one power line in. The easiest way is to buy a universal remote . you will be able to turn on & off both. They run About 30-50 bucks and of course some wiring at the fan support box


1972USAGuy54872 t1_je9t7e1 wrote

The simplest solution would be to add a light bulb type pull chain. It should be available at any hardware store or home improvement center. The switch screws into light fixture as a bulb 💡 would & the bulb into the switch. Add long enough chain or cord to make it easy to reach.


breich t1_je9xp2n wrote

Install a second switch but make sure your ceiling fan actually supports that. Usually a ceiling fan that has lights on it will have two hot wires that can go to separate controls. When you pull out the existing switch you should be able to quickly determine whether you are or are not set up for that.


Cheap_Office_6774 t1_je9yx6f wrote

Buy a fan that is remote controlled and only needs one power source.


hawkmech67 t1_jea1bew wrote

There are inline remote control units you can attach to the fixtures.


colinstalter t1_jea48hp wrote

I had this problem and an electrician ran a separate line for the fan. Just fished it through.


thrasherht t1_jea980k wrote

I would replace the light fixture with a smart bulb that has a remote, and then a fan that also has a wireless remote, and mount both to a wall next to the normal switch.

Then cover that switch so those are always on.


sonofa-ijit t1_jea9h3a wrote

Replace it with one that is controlled by remote. Nearly all of them are now.


PandasWhoLoveToLimbo t1_jeac6u4 wrote

Does the fan have a battery powered remote that controls lights/ fan separately? If not, look up the model and see if you can order one. If the model is remote capable, you can either use your existing one or pair a new one, and then use a Bond Smart Bridge to mimic that dumb remote's signal and network it into your smart home network. Works great for two ceiling fans in my home.

If your fan model is not remote capable then pull the switch off the wall (after cutting power at your breaker box) and see if there's an unused red wire in there. That's what's usually used to control the fan, while black is for the light. Whoever vaulted the ceiling may have just connected both to the black wire at the fan and not bothered with separate switches on the wall, and hopefully there's an unused red sitting there waiting for you. If it's not there then its a hassle to run one for someone who's inexperienced, so at that point I would just replace the fan with a smart one or use the remote method discussed above.


dice1111 t1_jeadn3e wrote

Had the same problem. I ended up getting a remote fan and mounting the remote next to the switch. Make sure you get a remote fan that doesn't "click".


Woodchuckcan t1_jeaeb1h wrote

I can turn my lights and fan on and off independently using the pull chain on each.


elislider t1_jeafk0y wrote

Have you looked inside the boxes for both switches at the wiring? No way to know if there’s an easier answer without investigating the wiring


owlpellet t1_jealshy wrote

You can get a smart bulbs (plus hub? idk) that have stick-on or in-wall wireless switches that mimic wall switches. Then you could probably open the existing switch box and wire the light to be always "hot" and control with wireless. (If they're in series, that won't work without new wiring.) Hire someone if that seems complicated.


rvgoingtohavefun t1_jeam30z wrote

I'd be sure it isn't actually just wired dumb. Look at what you have in the box for the ceiling fan and for the lights. There may be a way around it. If you haven't cracked the boxes open you can't know for sure.

If smart bulbs don't do it for you, there are devices that install inline with a fan/light combo to control them separately with a remote. It is typically used for cases where a single switch controlled a light and fan combo. The thing (typically) would install in the fan canopy.


noeljb t1_jeaot97 wrote

If it is not wired incorrectly then your alternate fixes are to get a remote module for fans. once wired correctly, ( don't ask) you can turn switch on and control light and fan separately. Other option is to get really long pull chains and control them separately with the switches that normally come on ceiling fans.


EvilDan69 t1_jeb0c0t wrote

The cheapest and easiest is to get smart bulbs. Turn it on with an app or smart speaker, or google home, or siri or alexa etc.


practicating t1_jebjo7h wrote

Gu10 bulbs are available as smart bulbs. Ikea and hue both have offerings.

I have odd switches in one of my rooms too. I bypassed the switch and stuck a hue remote next to it. Comes with double sided tape for easy mounting. Controls 3 different lights in 3 different fixtures.


anormalgeek t1_jec4p4f wrote

Just install one of those "universal ceiling fan remote controls". Most hardware stores sell them.


You'll have to use a ladder to get up there at least once to install the receiver, but after that, the power stays "on" at the switch and the remote actually turns the fan/lights on and off.


KRed75 t1_jec97yx wrote

WiFi Smart Bulbs and WiFi Ceiling Fan Controller would be your easiest solution. You can then control the fan from the app, the remote and / or a smart home assistant such as Alexa or Google Assistant. You can control the bulbs with the app, and / or your smart home assistant.

I recommend the Cync by GE or Philips Hue Wiz WiFi Bulbs. I've tried many smart bulbs and but these have been 100% reliable for me.


upkeepdavid t1_jecfacr wrote

Sonoff makes a fan module that may work depending on if it has a remote.


Greta-Iceberg t1_jecjbb4 wrote

One ladder trip with something like this could do the trick.


j-steve- t1_jea3v1i wrote

Is there no remote control for the fan? That seems odd.

If there is a remote, you're golden: leave the switch on all the time, replace the bulbs with smart bulbs, and buy a smart radio controller for the fan.