How to Convert a Remote Control Ceiling Fan to Switch Operation

Ceiling fans can be a wonderful addition to your home because they provide air circulation and cooling properties at a lower cost than expensive air conditioning options. Fans are also great for shoulder seasons when you aren't quite ready for air conditioning.

Ceiling Fan on Porch
credit: KURJANPHOTO/iStock/GettyImages
How to Convert a Remote Control Ceiling Fan to Switch Operation

Although some fans are operated with a remote control, you might not wish to use them in that way. Fortunately, converting remote control-operated ceiling fans to switch-operated fans is a fairly simple project for most ceiling fan models and can be accomplished by most homeowners.

Before You Begin

Before beginning any electrical project, you should turn off power at the breaker for safety reasons. In addition, use a non-contact voltage tester before touching any wires. Use the voltage tester to check wires in the ceiling and wires in the fan. None should be live if you have properly turned off the power at the breaker level. If the voltage tester indicates any level of voltage, do not proceed.

Disassembling the Ceiling Fan

Next, locate the box that contains the fan's wiring. Often this will be situated in a hanging bracket on the ceiling. Open the box and identify the remote receiver. Depending on your fan, this part may be circular or a triangle. It should have wires connected on two sides. If the receiver's wires are attached to other wires within the box, remove any twist ties or wire nuts and undo the wire connections so that the receiver is no longer attached. Then, remove the remote receiver completely.

To hardwire your ceiling fan you will need to connect the fan's power supply to the hard-wiring in your ceiling. This will enable the fan to function via a wall switch. In most instances, the wires inside of a power box are color-coded. Look at the wires attached to the fan and the wires in your ceiling. You will need to match white fan wires with white ceiling wires and black with black; other wires may be green or red. Always be sure to match like with like.

Use wire nuts to connect like wires together. If the power box is metal, use a pigtail connector to terminate the ends of the run of wires. When you have completed this step, gently replace all wires so that they are back within the power box. Then, put all parts of the ceiling fan back onto the ceiling and reattach any screws or bolts that had been holding it in place.

Final Steps

Once you have completely finished reassembling the fan, turn the circuit breaker to its on position. Test the remote control. It should no longer work. Flip on the switch you've connected the ceiling fan to. The fan should now turn off and on when you flip the switch. If this does not occur, you will need to turn power off at the breaker again and take another look at your wire connections. Remember to use your voltage tester once the breaker is off and before touching the wiring.