Installing/Wiring new ceiling fans, what dumb fans do I get to work best with the GE 14287 switch?

fan
z-wave

#1

I’m preparing to install ceiling fans in 3 bedrooms.

What I have: Each bedroom has a switch that controls an outlet (on the same wall as the switch). No light fixtures or fans in the ceiling.

What I want: A “dumb” dimmer switch to control the lights on the ceiling fan. A Z-wave 14287 GE Fan switch to control the fan speed on the fan. Make the existing outlet stay hot.

This will be the first time I’ve ever used any home automation device so please excuse any dumb questions!

Questions:

  1. I know I’ll need a neutral wire at the switch for the GE smart switch to work. But do I just need the neutral wire going to the ceiling fan (shouldn’t be a problem because I’m putting in new wiring for the fan anyway)? OR, do I need a neutral wire at the switch already (coming from the service panel)?

  2. What do I need to look for in a fan? I’ve read that I should only get fans with AC motors. But what about fans with a remote (I don’t actually care for or want to use the remote, I just need to know if those will work with the z-wave switch)? What about fans with a pull string to control fan speed? Most of the fans at the local big box store seem to come with a remote.

  3. Will the z-wave switch work manually before I set up a ST hub? Since these will be the first devices I’m setting up, I don’t know that I’ll have the ST hub up and running before the electrician install the switches and fans.


(Eric) #2

excellent questions.

  1. You want pretty much any fan that does NOT come with a wireless NOR wired controller. It should only have pull-chains on the fan housing. This arrangement is most-likely to be the equipment that will not interfere with the normal operation of GE 14287 . Plus, the fan will probably be cheaper than the others.

Failing to find a fan like above, you may be able to butcher the wiring in a fan with a controller, but it might suck.

  1. you always pull neutral now, at the wallswitch, even if you don’t need it. for your dumb switch that you won’t be using. Your electrician would probably pull it to the switch anyway, I think required code since NEC-2011 but make sure. Cuz you will want it someday.

  2. see #0.

  3. probably - not really sure. Instructions will probably say so.


#3

Regarding the neutral wire at the switch: the reason I asked is because I don’t want to pull a new wire from the service panel (if I don’t have to), and I haven’t opened the switch up to see if a neutral wire exist there yet.

Ideally, all the work is done within the room itself and in the attic.


(Eric) #4

Assuming you have a ceiling light now, extending neutral to the switch is not far. If you have access to unfinished attic then it’s not hard to get from light to the switch.

If you run ANY new wire then you should go ahead and do the neutral too - it’s the best performing solution. The GE needs it - otherwise would you stick it in the fan housing? I’m not seeing your alternative.

A ceiling fan does not require a new circuit to replace a light - current is less than 2 amps on high, most fans are more like 1 - I mean in the USA, 120V


#5

Sorry, to clarify, I have no light in the ceiling now. My question is whether I only have to run new wire from the switch up to the ceiling (ideal), or if I have to go all the way back to the panel and run a new wire from there to the switch (a lot more involved).


(MarkTr) #6

The fan is going to need a neutral wire to operate. The straightforward way (electrically) would be to run 2-wire from the panel (or an existing circuit) to the switch box, and then 3-wire to the fan. Have you figured out how the existing switched outlet is wired at the switch box? If you’re lucky the neutral is already there.

If you plan to bring power in at the fixture and were only using dumb switches, I guess you could have run 3-wire to the switch box with line on the black wire, and your fan load and light load coming back on the white and red wires. However, since you need neutral for the smart switch, you now need four wires - two for line and neutral from the fixture to the switch, and two for fan load and light load returning to the ceiling box. Not sure whether there are any code issues with that approach…if you have questions it might be good to consult an electrician.