Ceiling Fan. Fan control on Switch, what to do with light?

I am getting a ceiling fan replaced and looking for advice. I know this is a topic that has many threads that I have read, but still looking for direction.

My existing fan has no light and is controlled by a fan control switch on the wall. Originally I had planned to simply replace the fan and use a GE 3 speed Z-wave switch in the wall. The wife is now really wanting a fan with a light included. In looking at the options it appears that most folks are recommending the Hampton Bay Wink module from Home Depot and a community developed DTH

As I understand it this option while it would work would mean that my existing wall switch would not be needed.

I had thought about using the GE Fan control for fan and then possibly using a Z-wave micro dimmer in the light to control the light. Is this an option people have used previously ? Doing this would not leave me with an unneeded wall switch. I could also just put some smart bulbs in the fan and be done that way.

I do not want to go with something like the Bond because I want to keep it as simple as possible. Same goes for the Insteon option I have read about.

What is the latest thinking on a situation where the existing fan has a wall based motor control only and is being replaced with a fan light combo.

If you go with the in-canopy receiver you linked to above, you could replace the wall switch with this.


It comes with its own receiver, which would be redundant and you don’t need (can’t buy just the wall switch, unfortunately). Although it can install in your switch box, it still controls the fan and light wirelessly, so you’d have to wirenut the line and load wires together that you used to control with the old dumb switch.

Or the route you described should work fine too, if your wiring supports it. One thing to keep in mind is that the micro relay in the ceiling may not be able to turn on/off your light if SmartThings is down (there are some workarounds you’d have to take into account). The Hampton bay remote has both local RF control, and works with SmartThings, so even when ST is down, local (manual) control isn’t affected.

Edit: One problem with the Hampton bay remote and receiver package is that it’s rarely in stock at Home Depot. You have to be quick and order when they periodically restock (notification emails don’t seem to work, either).

If you only have a single switched power line going to the ceiling fan, you really won’t be able to use a micro switch or smart bulbs if you use a fan speed control switch at the wall. The fan speed control switch will also be controlling the power going to the micro switch or bulbs too. At the very least, you wouldn’t be able to turn on the lights without the fan being on. At the worst, you would destroy the micro switch or bulbs because they would not be receiving the AC power that they are designed for. If you have two separate power lines going to the ceiling fan, than either of these options would work or, you could add a second switch at the wall for the light.

I had a single power line going to ceiling fans with light kits in our bedroom and living room and could not find a a viable solution other than the Hampton Bay zigbee controller.

Why didn’t I think of that ! You are right.

My main approach honestly so far has been to try and talk my dear wife out of the need for a light on the fan :wink:

Looks like the Hampton approach with the wall Hampton Wall Unit may be the way to go.

The only problem with the Hampton Bay controller, as @marktheknife pointed out, is that they are only in stock every few months and sell out rather quickly. It took me the better part of a year to finally get the two I needed. I had signed up for Home Depot to email me but that didn’t work out so well. I missed them a couple times because I didn’t receive an email. I found out they were available from the forum here when someone posted that they were once again in stock.

Yeah, Out of Stock as of today.

Yeah, sorry if I wasn’t clear when I said “if your wiring supports it.”

You’d need to have another hot wire up there that’s not switched.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the zigbee radio for that receiver can give people a lot of trouble when trying to control with ST. Most people have solved reliability issues by adding an extra zigbee device that can repeat signals (basically any device that’s mains powered) near the fan.

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If you’ve got an attic space, it might not be hugely difficult to run a new wire from the switch to the fan junction box.

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Running new 12/3 or 14/3 is definitely the best option. Then you can either use 2 switches, or just the fan control with double taps to turn smart bulbs on and off. If that’s not possible and you need lights, get the Hampton Bay kit. I have 2 extras if you’re looking.

I have an electrician coming to mount the fan as it is in a high vaulted ceiling. I think I may end up having him run the new wire to keep all options on the table. at the end of the day.

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I would have added the second line if I had an attic space to get into.

If it’s a high vaulted ceiling, it’ll be a lot better to have the controls on the wall where they are accessable. Any controller mounted in a box out of reach will be difficult to reset or pair if your home controller changes.

I purchased three of the the Hampton Bay Universal 4-speed remotes with very positive results. As you have pointed out this essentially obsoletes the need for a wall switch, however it leaving the switch in place allows for a factory reset when required. Of coursed this could also be achieved by removing the switch and resetting through breaker, but that is a pain, in my situation.

Bottom line… I’m glad I left the switch.