Ceiling fans and dimmer switches...

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the_bird

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Quick question for the peanut gallery. the_Bean wants a ceiling fan in her room. We've got a window AC, but she doesn't like her room THAT cool in the summer, she just wants a fan (the_Wife also wants to steal her AC for OUR room, and I don't want to buy a second unit...)

So, we picked one out, and I'm fine with installing it (I change out light fixtures all the time). BUT, do I need to also need to swap out her dimmer switch? Something in the back of my mind tells me that using the dimmer switch with the fan is going to burn out the fan's motor.... am I nuts?
 

BioBeing

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I've got fans on dimmer switches. We don't use the fans all the time, but they work. Set the unit on highest speed, and just control it with the dimmer. If you have a light kit with the fan you might need to get fancy with the wiring. In my bedroon for example, the dimmer works the fan, and we control the light by the pull chain on the fan. In my downstairs room, it was pre-wired to two switches, and we can control the fan from a dimmer and the light by a separate wall switch. One thing I do remember though is going through about 3 different dimmers to find one that worked the fan without emmitting a high pitched whine.
 

Bobby_M

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Here's the thing, you need to determine if the power source is in the ceiling box or in the wall switch box.

Remove the plate and screws on the dimmer and pull it out of the box. If you have a black and white connected there, it's likely that the power source is up in the ceiling box and a simple switch loop is run down to the switch. If that's the case, you can run the fan on its own always powered circuit and continue to use the dimmer's return line to connect to the fan's lights.

If the dimmer has two black wires connected and you see the white neutrals in the box wire nutted together, I'd assume the power comes into that box first, is switched, then continues up to the ceiling box. In that case, replace the dimmer with an on/off.
 

janzik

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About a month ago, I installed a ceiling fan with lights on a dimmer switch that was supposed to be specific for ceiling fan/light combos. It's not the one that came with the fan (it was a cheap small fan, because it was for a really small bedroom). A lot of places said not to use a dimmer switch on the fan because of something to do with the number of "poles" or something (I dont know what I'm talking about). I did all the wiring myself (including adding an extra outlet and whatnot) and it all has been working, knock on wood...
 

BierMuncher

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There are dedicated fan dimmers (Lowe's).

I have them on all my ceiling fans.

One caveat, with the dimmer dialed to slower speeds, you'll have some resister noise in the fans. This is especially true if you have a 3-speed chain pull on your fan and it's set to the highest setting.
 
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the_bird

the_bird

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See, I'm not interested in controlling the speed of the fan. I just like having the ability to dim the lights when we're getting ready for bed (and I don't want to burn the fan motor out, if that's a risk). I installed the dimmer a few years back (crap, almost five years now) when I gutted the room, and I *think* that the whites were nutted together in the outlet box.

I'll probably just swap out the dimmer for a regular on/off switch and get her a lamp for her nightstand for bedtime.
 

david_42

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Harbor Breeze and Hunter both make good fan control units that also have dimmers for the lights. You put the control box in the fan base and have a on-off switch in the wall. The remote sits on your headboard and lets you turn the light on/off and control the light level. I have the fan switched to the lowest setting (which is still faster than I like) and the remote gives me three slower speeds. With the Harbor Breeze unit, the lights will go on at your preset level, not max.

Only works with incandescent lights, but these are the only incandescents inside the house.
 

buckrogers71

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they sell switches that a handle dimming and speed control. We have that in my son's room and ours. It was very nice when the kids were babies.
 

zombie

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I've got one on the ceiling fan in my dining room.


Oddly, we almost never use the dimmer. Seemed like a good idea at the time though...
 
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