If you’ve ever gone to a friend’s house and noticed how much cooler their ceiling fan is than yours, you may have wondered why. What could they possibly be doing differently?
Well, the answer is actually pretty simple: dimmer switches.
It can be hard to know exactly why your ceiling fan isn’t working as well as it could be—but when you know what dimmers are, you’ll understand why!
If you have a ceiling fan in your house and you’re thinking about installing a dimmer switch, you might be wondering what happens when you use a dimmer switch with a ceiling fan. Do you need to worry about safety? Is it even possible?
Well, we’re here to tell you that yes, it is possible, and here’s why:
What Is A Dimmer Switch?
Before we move into what dimmer switches do with ceiling fans, let’s understand what they are actually.
Dimmer switches are typically made of plastic or metal and have two or more wires coming out of them. The wires are connected to the fan’s power source, and the other end of the wire connects to a light bulb or another light device that will control the brightness of the light in your room.
Because this type of switch doesn’t have an actual circuit breaker like regular switches, you should never use it with an extension cord or power strip. If you do, it could lead to overheating and fire hazards due to excessive heat buildup in your home’s wiring system.
Do they have to do something with ceiling fans? Of course, they come in specific forms to control ceiling fan speeds.
Dimmers switches can be installed on any standard wall switch and enable you to control your fan’s speed from anywhere in your house by simply adjusting the brightness of the light source.
They come in two main forms: direct-wire (or “dw”) and remote-wire (or “rw”).
- Dw dimmers connect directly from the wall box to your ceiling fan; they’re typically mounted on a wall close to where they will be installed in your home.
- Rw dimmers are connected through a remote control—typically installed on top of your existing switch box. They provide you with greater flexibility in terms of where you can install them.
Can You Control A Ceiling Fan With A Dimmer Switch?
The quick answer is yes! You certainly can. Because dimmers are used for more than just lighting, they can also control ceiling fans.
Dimming a light is simple; you turn the knob so that the light gets dimmer until it becomes too dark to see. When you turn off the light at night, you return it to full brightness.
But what about your ceiling fans?
Dimmers can control the speed of a ceiling fan because they have motors that spin around and circulate air in your home or office when they are turned on.
What Happens When You Use a Dimmer Switch With a Ceiling Fan?
When you use a dimmer switch with your ceiling fan, you can control the speed of the blades. This is beneficial for those who have older fans that need to be replaced but are tired of having to change the speed on their remote control manually.
When you’re trying to decide which dimmer switch is best for your ceiling fan, it can be tough. There are so many different options out there that it’s hard to know what to choose.
If you’re installing a dimmer switch on your own, you need to make sure that you use the right one for your ceiling fan—and not just any old dimmer switch will do!
What Type Of The Switch Should Be Used With Ceiling Fans?
If you’re looking to install a ceiling fan in your home, it’s important to make sure that the fan motor and dimmer switch are compatible. Luckily, there are only two options: standard dimmers or switches specifically designed for ceiling fans.
Here are 3 best dimmer switches for ceiling fans that work with modern fans and have been rated over 4 stars by customers who used them.
SFSQ-F-WH Skylark Fan Control
- Easy to install in as little as 15 minutes.
- Three-speed automatic timer.
- Perfect way to eliminate your need for pull chains.
- It may not control more than one fan at a time.
Lutron Maestro LED+ Fan Control and Light Dimmer
- Easy installation.
- Dimmer works well with many different kinds of lights and bulbs.
- Works with all kinds of switches (single pole and multi-pole).
- It has an elegant design that looks great in any room
- Does not work with a hunter fan
- If not installed properly, it may cause continuous off and on movement of fan
TREATLIFE Smart Ceiling Fan Control and Light Switch
- Voice control with Alexa and Google Home & Samsung SmartThings.
- Fully programmable, you can set it to turn on at sunrise, sunset, or when your phone rings.
- It has an elegant design that looks great in any room
- Some customers found irregular functioning of three modes of light brightness.
Common Problems With Dimmer Switch On The Ceiling Fans
The following are some of the common issues that some people encounter when connecting a fan to a dimmer switch:
The dimmer switch is turned off and the ceiling fan is not turning on
This problem may be caused by a faulty dimmer switch, or it could be caused by a broken wire in the wiring. If you have an outdoor light kit with a dimmer switch, try replacing the whole thing instead of just rewiring your house.
The light is blinking or has a flickering light
This happens when the power supply to the lamp is interrupted (like during an electrical storm), or if there are too many lights on at once and they’re making too much noise for the bulb to keep working properly.
The ceiling fan is making a clicking noise when it’s on
This could be a sign that something has broken inside your ceiling fan motor or perhaps a loose wire causing friction and damage over time which will eventually lead to an issue like this happening again later down the line if not fixed right away!
When you turn the switch on, there is no power to the light fixture
If you have a dimmer switch on your ceiling fan, then chances are that it’s not working properly. This can happen if the wall switch that controls your lights has been damaged or if there is a problem with the wiring between them.
There is smoke coming out of the fan
The most common cause of this problem is a faulty switch or broken wires inside of your ceiling fan or light fixture. Sometimes this will only happen when someone has turned it on after they’ve been smoking in their house—if so, then they just need to wait until they’ve finished smoking before turning it on again!
Dimmer Switch Vs Fan Speed Control Switch
Is dimmer switch and fan speed control the same thing? If not, then what’s the difference between a dimmer switch and a fan speed control?
However, in specialized forms of dimmer switches, both light dimmers and fan speed control are integrated into a single unit or switch, as shown in the figure below, and this connection supports both light and fan speed levels through a single source!
Read: How to install ceiling fans without existing wiring, if you are thinking to add dimmers for controlling fan speed!
Risks of Using a Dimmer Switch for Ceiling Fans
- A standard dimmer switch for ceiling fans can work in reverse, and the fan will suddenly stop spinning.
- If you use a dimmer switch for ceiling fans, it might not work or may turn off suddenly when there is no need for it to be on at all times.
- A dimmer switch for ceiling fans may fail after a few years of regular use, rendering the fan useless until it is replaced with another one that has been tested and approved by the manufacturer of the fan itself.
Also Read: How To Troubleshoot A Ceiling Fan
Looking To Buy A Ceiling Fan? Read Our Guide:
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Is My Dimmer Switch Compatible With Ceiling Fans?
If you’re looking to add a dimmer switch to one of your existing ceiling fans, it’s important that you check with the manufacturer about whether or not their product will work with your existing ceiling fan.
This is because there are different kinds of dimmers in different brands and models, so it can be difficult to find out what makes a particular one compatible with other brands’ products.
Dimmer switches are no doubt very useful to manage the light intensities of ceiling fans. But to use them for controlling ceiling fan speed, you need a specialized model of dimmer switches. Only this way you can use dimmer switches for ceiling fan speed control that comes less dangerous and less risky!