Simple on/off switch for ceiling fan

I have a simple question I think. I have a ceiling fan that gets power from a simple on/off switch then I use chains to control fan speed and trim the light on and off. What smart switch would work to replace the current switch? Or can I list use any smart light switch? I am not trying to control speed or operate the light and fan independently with the smart switch I just want to control power to the fan like I do now.

GE makes a fan switch I use, I put the chain at full speed and then use the switch or voice or whatever to control the speed, works great


Do you have a light on your fan as well? That switch doesn’t show a light I don’t think. Just want to make sure the light will work too.

I do not have a light on my fan
Sorry I didn’t read your post good enough the first time

Might depend on what’s in the light switch box, it could have power up to the fan and light separately but more then likely it’s power up and inside the fan housing it splits off, you can search these forums for what others have had for solutions and see if they match what you want to do

Just a simple SmartSwitch will work for your purposes. If you have a neutral wire in the box then there are plenty of option…Zigbee, ZWave, toggle, rocker, etc…

If you do not have a neutral than your options are more limited.

You will be treating the light/fan as a regular on/off light.

However, there are also options for controlling both “Smartly”…look at the HamptonBay light/fan controller.

Many (most?) Smart switches are not rated for the current required to run a fan.

You’re best off using something specifically intended for a fan or other motor load

1 Like

I believe the problem is changing the speed…The OP is not looking to control the fan, just the on/off state of the switch which the OP will continue to adjust manually.

Do you have a suggestion for options?

I use those switches for the fans in my house with a custom device handler that adds low medium and high buttons to the ST app. I use them in conjunction with hue bulbs and switches. If your fans have 3 wire running to them you could do two smart switches and dumb bulbs. I have 3 wire but the light control is always hit for the hue bulbs and the breaker is required to shut off power to the fixture. This might not be ideal for everyone, but works for me

Not in all cases. The manual for the Zooz ZEN26 switches I have explicitly says “DON’T CONNECT THIS SWITCH TO FANS”

As @JDRoberts always says: the make and model matter

1 Like

Yep, you need a smart switch rated for a fan (i.e. motor) load. This one will do it: . It does a bit more than the on/off you’re looking for, but it will function as a simp.e on/off as well.


I retain the argument that “most” SmartSwitches don’t have an issue turning on/off a fan. However, SmartDimmers should NOT be used to control speed. Switches are rated, on average, for 15 Amps. Ceiling fans hardly draw 2 Amps at most.

I have 4 bathroom exhaust fans, an attic fan and a floor fan that all run off of regular GE SmartSwitches. I have never had an issue with any of them.

However, I do have 6 GE Fan Controllers to control my ceiling fans.

YMMV but math is math.

True, but math isn’t physics. :wink:

The issue with the motor is not the running draw rate of 2A, but rather the inrush current when the motor starts up.

This is rarely a problem with a simple on/off extractor fan. but it is often a problem with any variable speed fan, because the physics are different, and inrush current is insanely high relative to the running draw.

This is why Zooz has their warnings about fans, but it applies to any brand not manufactured to control a variable speed motor.


I can find a number of people in their 80s who have smoked cigarettes every day for 65 years and don’t have cancer. That doesn’t mean that smoking doesn’t create an increased risk for cancer. So anecdotal reports about someone who hasn’t had a problem doesn’t change the specification. just sayin’… :wink:


I will regress here. However, I don’t have any sudden urges to change out my SmartSwitches to control regular on/off fans… The initial draw is not hitting anywhere near 15 Amps.

Agree, you have to be careful.
Running amps is not the same as starting amps “LRA”. There is always an amp surge when you start an electric motor. I have a simple pull chain ceiling fan without lights that is always at the fastest speed and I use a Lutron Caseta Fan switch, obviously rated for fans. In addition it has 4 speeds but most of the time I use it as a plain on/off switch. Unlike the Caseta Lutron light switches, it does not work w/Smartthings however, you can create schedules within the Lutron app, add a pico remote, control it from your phone, etc. The Lutron App is excellent and very reliable.

1 Like

You all just cost me 1 hour of my life. I had to do some research on this and found that regular home ceiling fans do not use many Amps at all. The start-up amperage is no more than than three times the max Amps so giving the benefit of doubt, lets just say about 3 Amps. Most SmartSwitches are rated at 15 Amps. I’m sorry guys but I call BS.

I know I said I would regress but again, the issue isn’t turning on/off a fan motor with a regular SmartSwitch, it is “Controlling” the speed of a motor with a SmartDimmer. This is a no no. If you want to control the speed then you should use a Smart Fan Controller.

A SmartSwitch is just a relay. A relay that is rated at 15 Amps. Dimmers are a totally different story.

Ceiling fan technology has changed in the recent years and all of the ones sold right now are really efficient. That being said, many of our customers still have older fans and most of all, exhaust fans used with smart switches. We found that the majority of the switches we service under warranty (both wall switches and plugs from all of the manufacturers we’ve ever carried including GE, Zooz, Aeotec, Qubino, or Enerwave) have been used with some type of inductive load.

It’s not so much about the initial spike (though sometimes it is, especially for devices that draw up to 40 times the amount of power they’re rated for at start-up) but about frequent power drops and unstable current states that can damage the electronics in any smart switch or plug. At the end of the day, they’re not only mechanical relays though all of these devices have a built-in relay. But it’s just one of the components of a smart switch affected by what’s going on with the current. As @JDRoberts said, not all smokers get cancer, and usually it’s a matter of bad luck.

So we don’t recommend using a light wall switch with inductive loads if you want to save yourself from the hassle of replacing it in the future.


Can’t argue with facts! (While I’m puffing on a smoke) :man_facepalming:t4:

Everyone can learn no matter how strong their “opinion” may be.

Today, I’ve learned a lot.

Thanks to everyone for a teachable moment.


What do you recommend then?