My current ceiling fans are wired so that the wall switch turns on/off the light. The fan stays powered if the switch is on or off. You have to use a chain to turn the fan on and control the speed. From what I’m seeing all the switches for fans will only work if there is a fan power switch on the wall. Is this correct? What are my options? I do have a ir receiver installed on my family room fan that allows me to control the fan speeds and the light with a remote. Is there anything like similar that is also z-wave?
Read up on the options here.
Separate wall switches require an additional load wire; if you have separate switches already then you have one, otherwise you probably don’t.
If you don’t want to run new wire, the Home Decorators Wink controller is a good solution; it installs in the canopy, you would just need to make sure to have a Zigbee repeater nearby since the range is terrible.
Another option, since you already have an IR receiver, would be to use a Harmony Hub to integrate that receiver; if you have other devices in the same room that are IR controlled then you could potentially use it to automate those as well. I don’t have any personal experience with that but if you search you can find plenty of folks here who are using it.
Actually, thinking more about it, this assumption may not be valid. If power comes into the switch box, it may be split into two separate loads at that point - traditionally one on a black wire and one on a red wire. One would be controlled by the switch and the other would be connected to the line supplying the switch. If so, you would be able to control both by replacing the single gang box with a two gang and connecting one switch to each wire. It’s more work than replacing a switch but less than running new wiring.
Here’s some more discussion of this option:
You have to be careful about these assumptions. Often with ceiling fans, the power is run to the ceiling box itself. The fan runs on its own switch, and the light has a switch leg sent to your wall switch. If that’s the case there would be no neutral, and therefore most smart switches would not function.