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What Is The Red Wire On Ceiling Fan – [Detailed Explanation]

The red wire on a ceiling fan is the wire that connects to the switch, which turns power on and off for your ceiling fan. It also allows independent control of the light fixture.

The red main or live wire is what supplies electricity from the source or outlet to the fan by connecting with red secondary or blue wire from ceiling fan’s light kit to turn it on!

When you install a ceiling fan, it’s important to know how to connect the red wire to the switch so that you can turn on and off your fan properly. Otherwise, your fan might be running all the time or not at all!

If you don’t know how it all works, don’t worry! We’ll walk you through it from all possible ways in this article!

detailed explanation of how the red wire works in a ceiling fan
Image Credits: airflowacademy.com

What Does A Red Wire Do?

The red wire is the hot power wire. It carries the electricity to the light switch, which activates the light.

Red wire is a positive in the circuit, responsible for carrying current from main source to connected appliances
Red wire is a positive in the circuit, responsible for carrying current from main source to connected appliances

When you see red wires, you may be wondering what they’re for.

The answer is that they’re there to help protect your device from being damaged by the circuit.

But let’s first figure out the difference between the main live wire and the light switch red wire. This will make it easier for you to understand which wire is for which purpose!

Main live (hot) red wire

  • It is typically made up of outdoor and indoor electrical wiring that carries electricity from an electrical panel to each room in a home.
  • This wire can be hard-wired or dedicated to supplying electricity to certain rooms only.

Light switch red wire

  • The light switch red wire carries electricity from the power source to the light and appliance outlets.
  • It can be used for any device that requires electricity, such as a lamp or a ceiling fan.

That’s not all they do, though!

Red and blue ceiling fan wires can be confusing, as they both serve similar purposes, i.e. controlling the lights.

Differences Between Red Wires & Blue Wire

Primary Red Wire

The red primary wire (live or hot) originates from the ceiling fan junction box or main outlet. It works as an electricity source for light kits on ceiling fans.

According to AskTheElectrician, these red wires from the ceiling connect with the blue wire coming from the fan to make lights function properly.

Blue Wire

The blue wire is indicated as a source for lamps or light if they’re present on ceiling fans. This wire provide a connection for the red main or hot wires, so let light kits brighten up the room!

Secondary Red Wire

Red secondary wires are seen as an alternative to be used in place of blue wires. They work the same as blue wires and make light kits function properly by connecting with the main red wire coming from the fan junction box.

Do I Need Red Wire For The Ceiling Fan?

The red wire is a power wire to ensure your ceiling fan has enough energy to run.

It’s always important to connect the red wire from your wall socket or plug to the red terminal on the ceiling fan. Since it’s always attached to the red wire at one point or another in the process of installing or repairing a fan.

The function of the red wire is to keep your ceiling fan from turning on if there’s a short circuit.

If there’s no power flowing through these wires, then it won’t work. And you’ll need to call an electrician if this happens.

Do You Have To Connect The Red Wire?

Yes, you do have to connect the red wire to ceiling fans.

That’s because, the primary red wire controls the fan speed and light. It works when the red secondary or blue wire is connected to the red main wire.

If a fan has a light to it and you want to run both at the same time, connect a red wire to the two white wires coming from your switch box. If a fan only has one switch wired to it, then use a black and white wire instead of a red one.

diagram of wiring ceiling fan and lights with a single switch
Image Credit: homedepot.com

Before you start connecting the red wires to your ceiling fan, there are a couple of things you should know.

First, if you’re going to use a switch instead of a light fixture with your fans, you’ll need to connect the red wires from your ceiling fan to the switch.

The second thing is that if you have an outdoor light socket connected to your ceiling fan (which means it’s connected with white wires), make sure that you connect the red wire before attaching it to the outdoor light socket.

This will ensure that when it comes time for installation and wiring up your house or business premises, everything goes smoothly!

Can I Connect Red And Black Wires Together?

If you are not sure where the wires are coming from or where they are going, you should not connect them together.

This is because you might damage your fan or the light socket if you do so.

Red wire = Power to light kit
Black wire = Carry power to fan

The best thing to do is to use a multimeter (a device that measures electrical current and voltage) to test the wires before connecting them together. You can buy one from any electronics store or online.

How Do You Wire A Ceiling Fan With A Red Wire?

The easiest way to wire a ceiling fan with a red wire is to use an existing circuit and simply add a new connection.

diagram of how to Wire A Ceiling Fan With A Red Wire
diagram of wiring a Ceiling fan with a red wire

Step 1

Find the existing wall switch, and ensure it’s working before continuing. If you don’t know what your breaker box looks like, consult your local electrical inspector.

Step 2

Install a junction box underneath the junction box in your ceiling, and then connect the two wires from your new switch to those two wires in the junction box.

Step 3

Wire up the other side of your switch (this will be black) in exactly the same way as before, connecting it to both black wires in the junction box.

Step 4

Connect all other necessary switches or devices that use power from this circuit into their own dedicated circuits somewhere else in your house—or buy them separate dedicated boxes for their use and save yourself some money!

Where Do You Connect The Red Wire On A Ceiling Fan With A Remote Control?

To connect the red wire on a ceiling fan with the remote control, you must first identify where it is located.

Where Do You Connect The Red Wire On A Ceiling Fan With A Remote Control

This can be done by looking at the fan’s nameplate or the wires connecting to it.

The red wire is typically located in the middle of the two larger wires (usually green and white).

Once you have identified where this wire is located, you can use an electrical tape or string to connect one end of your wire to each terminal on your light switch.

This will allow you to control your ceiling fan with your remote control.

Read: How To Install A Ceiling Fan Without Existing Wiring? [Detailed Guide]

What Is The Function Of Different Wires For A Ceiling Fan?

  • Black Wire: It is for the fan. It carries power to the blades and spins them.
  • Red Wire: Is responsible to carry power to light kit from the resource. These wires are common in 240-volt outlets.
  • Blue Wire: Is for the light, if light is included with the fan. Blue wires are usually included in ceiling fans that have lights as well, so they can be used to route power from the fan to the lights (in some fans, the red secondary wire is used as an alternative to blue wires).
  • White Wire: Is neutral. It serves as a ground reference point for electrical components in your home and helps you identify if anything is faulty.
  • Green Wire: Is for ground or earth (negative). Green wires are used when installing an outlet or a fixture and provide an electrical path from one part of your house to another part of it.

Read: How To Wire A Ceiling Fan [Detailed Guide]

Also Read: How To Troubleshoot A Ceiling Fan


There are actually multiple reasons why you might see this red colored wire in your fan’s wiring. This is the wire that carries electricity from the electrical outlet to the motor. It is also important to understand how this wire works and what it does so you can properly maintain and repair your ceiling fan.

Want to buy a ceiling fan? Here’s your complete buying guide!

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