Is it OK to use 12-3 awg to wire a ceiling fan and light?


In a 2000 era home in Georgia, I replaced an overhead lighting fixture with a combo ceiling fan and light. (Yes, I reinforced the junction box appropriately.)

The wiring was simple enough, the power supply is via the switch box (now two switches). The question is: For the wiring that runs between the switch box and the fan & light, can I use a single 3-conductor cable instead of two 2-conductor cables? Electrically, it works. Safety and code issues?

Ground and neutral connect through the switch box to both fan and light. I split the incoming hot (black) to supply both switches, then on the outbound side I ran one switched hot for the fan (via the red), and the switched hot for the light (via the black).

It's not just that I'm cheap (I am). The rationale for doing this is that it was easier to pull a replacement single 3-conductor wire rather than pull a second 2-conductor...

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Ceiling fans reduce the costs of heating and cooling your home. All modern ceiling fans are reversible. Operating in the clockwise direction -- the updraft direction -- during the winter months, they help circulate the warm air throughout the room, reducing the length of time your furnace needs to run. Run in the counterclockwise direction, they help cool your home in the summer months by producing a gentle downward flow of cool air. Modern ceiling fans draw so little current that they can easily be connected to an existing outlet without worry of overloading the circuit.

Turn off the circuit breaker serving the outlet circuit that you will be connecting to. Check the outlet with the noncontact voltage tester to be sure you have turned off the correct breaker.

Mark the spot on the ceiling where the fan is to be installed. Use the stud finder to locate the two adjacent joists and mark a spot halfway between them to locate the fan box. Draw an outline around the fan box...

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Here is a quesion from a site visitor asking how to wire a ceiling fan and light kit with separate control switches for the fan and the light.

Question: I would like to wire two ceiling fans — the power comes into the box first — I would also like to have two separate switches for lights and fans. Any diagrams would be helpful. Thanks for your help.

Answer: In the question above, I am assuming that this is a new installation, and as I understand the question, the power now comes in to the first ceiling box intended for mounting the ceiling fan. In roughing in wiring for a ceiling box that has a potential to have a ceiling fan installed either now, or in the future, it prudent to wire the circuit for separate control of the fan and the light kit on individual switches.

Make sure you mount the ceiling outlet boxes firmly, and with extra support so as to handle the additional weight of the fan. Check with your local electrical and building inspector, as well as...

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You probably can, if it's copper to copper. Copper to Aluminum is not recommended without special care. But, it also depends on the length of the run of the wire, for one thing.

Consider any future uses for this application. I know that 14 is cheaper but if you run it any distance, you may wish you'd went with the 12.

Count up the potential watts used and figure in the watts in reserve on that circuit to be on the safe side.

Make sure everything is properly connected hot/hot, neutral and ground. You don't want to get the hot wire mixed up with the neutral or you defeat the purpose of the neutral/ground system.

You can probably do this simple job yourself without problem and let it be a weekend project. But, always remember to treat dead wires as if they were live. Always double check the status of a wire you're going to be touching.

And, it depends on where you live, you may very well be able to do it yourself, but if you ever decide to sell your...

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Do you think you have the right skills to install a ceiling fan in your room? Installing a ceiling fan can be categorized into two main functions.

Assembling: screwing blades with motor then attaching it to the downrod, followed by mountingWiring: connecting wires to the motor

Most of the tasks in the first category are easy, time consuming though, because you can assemble parts with minimal instructions. Almost everyone knows how to assemble and mount a ceiling fan (that’s quite easy). But wiring requires some effort – balancing yourself on the ladder, then handling the tools and using them accurately – only experts can do it quick.

Ceiling fan, with its heavy motor and the metal housing isn’t easy to handle when you’re on the ladder wiring it up. However, manufacturers have made it a little easier for you to avoid this difficulty.

There is a built-in hook that’ll hang off the mounting plate.Alternatively, the ceiling junction box may have a wired central...
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Watch video of this step.

If you have access from above, you can make and install your own support brace using a length of 2x4 lumber nailed to the ceiling joists on both sides of the box location (Image 2). Position the brace directly above the ceiling box. From below, use wood screws to attach the ceiling box securely to the brace.

If you do not have access to work above the ceiling, you can install an expanding metal brace from below to support the ceiling box and fan. First, remove the existing box, then insert the brace up through the hole and secure it in position by ratcheting the mechanism into place. As the ratchet is turned from below, arms on the brace extend until they contact the ceiling joists on both sides of the hole (Image 3 demonstration). The spikes on the arms anchor securely into the wood. Some braces are available with a ceiling box attached, or you can attach the existing ceiling box to the brace.

This method also may be used to mount a...

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Now this is making way more sense. Thank you for the picture. It clarifies that you've got two black hot wires and a white neutral wire feeding your fan-light combo. No tan and no grey.

Use the extension cord trick to determine whether the box is grounded or not. Since that's the only test you need to do now, there's no need to open up the switch box, nor to wire-nut anything together there.

Let us know what you learn from that.

BTW, looking at the holes for the device-mounting screws, it does look like a metal box. And those look like #10 holes, so the box should be rated to support the weight of a fan.

Tech note: You need to contact bare metal with the probe on the box to tell whether it's a path to ground or not. Those shiny holes look like a good place to do that!

Edit to add: First, the fact that you have two blacks and a white between the ceiling and the wall switch pretty much guarantees that that run is made in conduit with wires...

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–Check local regulations for restrictions and permit requirements before beginning electrical work–

The diagrams on this page are for wiring a ceiling fan and light kit often used in a living room or bedroom. Wiring arrangements for an electrical source at the switch and at the ceiling fixture are included, as well as controls for fan speed, light dimmer and a single-pole switch hardwired to control the light with a pull chain.

Wiring diagrams for a bathroom exhaust fan can be found at the bottom of the page. These include a timer to control the fan, a single-pole switch controlling the fan, and an exhaust fan and light fixture wired on two different switches.

NOTE: The hot wire to the fan in a fan/light kit will usually be black and the light wire will be blue. The white wire is usually the neutral which is always connected directly to the source neutral, either at the source or through a splice in the switch box. The white wire may also be used to carry...

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Thank you for the replies Tom

1) Sure, this shouldn't be a problem. More than likely the hot feed into the existing switch with the red switched loop output resides on the same circuit as the fan switch circuit feed. You can confirm this using a 2-prong AC voltage tester or an AC voltmeter.

2) You can temporarily turn the circuit breaker to the OFF position and back out the wall switches. Visually look at the hot circuit feed and most likely it will be jumpered/pigtailed from one switch to the other. Thus, the same circuit.

Using the same equipment ground and neutral is not a problem and is done all the time.

3) Basically, all you are doing with the separate fixture is extending the circuit to another downstream load. This is no different than extending a receptacle circuit and adding another receptacle.

However, you do need to be aware of the additional wattage that the new fixture will generate.

4) If your circuit is a 15 amp breaker, the...

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If voltage drop is a concern, I install the larger conductors for the entire run to keep voltage drop to the minimum.

Dozer's and Solar's comments puzzled me at first. If it's a long run, and you want to reduce voltage drop, why wouldn't you want to use the larger size all the way to the end?

But after some thought I can see an instance in which the practice of upsizing for only part of the run would make sense - where it was the greatest part of the length and enough to reduce the voltage drop as required.

An example would be a detatched garage 100 ft from the house. You are installing a 20a circuit for a couple of receptacles and lighting. A 100' run of 12-2 at 120v would have over 6% voltage drop at 20a. So, you might upsize to #10 for the buried portion, changing to #12 in the garage itself to make the wiring easier.

Personally, I think I'd still carry the #10 on through, but that's me. I can see how some folks would want to use the more...

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In the Kitchen area they have to be 20 amp circuit and it must have 4.0mmІ {#12 AWG } conductor or cable but for the receptale it can be duplex as Joe did explain real clear on it and that is correct for USA side however in Canada no it is not correct it must have T-slotted recpetale on 20 amp circuits { that is Canada Electrical code }

For any exceptions no there is none in USA kitchen circuit you can use 15A duplex recetpales that not a issue with 20 amp circuits however if singleplex no that have to be 20 amp singleplex receptale { it little more harder to find it but many big box store do stock it anyway }

Just make sure watch the spacing on the kitchen receptales.

For garage receptale it MUST be on GFCI { either GFCI breaker or GFCI receptale { at the first recepatle on the circuit }
Oh yeah the extempts are gone if you are on 2008 NEC code cycle unless there is specfic local requirement they will let you know { check the city or county...

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I am new here and joined due to this particular discussion. I am an electrical contractor and recently bought a miller thunderbolt ac dc stick welder that I plan on wiring a receptacle for. The cable feeding the unit is only #10 AWG 3 conductor with what looks to be a 30 amp cord end attached (could have been added later--I bought it used. The welder input power is listed at 240 volt 46 amps if I remember right. My plan was to run #6 AWG wire and terminate to a 50 amp 3 wire twist lock receptacle. I would also replace the male cord end and wire on the welder to #6 wire and a different 50 amp cord end.

The fella named rcmjr had a good question. He asked what size wire should I run for a 50 amp circuit? Well typically without considering Art 630 of the NEC we would run #6 THHN wire to the receptacle unless special circumstances are present such as a long run (over 100 foot), or it is feeding a motor or other instance. If you wanted to go what I would consider "over and above"...

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