Wiring question. Not sure what switch to control fan

Hi guys, I just purchased the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Single Pole/3-way Dimmer Switch Starter Kit. It includes the dimmer switch and the pico remote. In my living room I have a 3-way setup for my ceiling fan with lights. Left side of room has two switches and the right side of the room has two switches. One switch controls the lights on the fan and the other controls the actual fan. I’m going to put the new Caseta dimmer switches to control the lights on one side and the pico remote to control the lights on the other. What do I need to do to replace the fan switch? I’m looking to go cheap as possible while making it smart. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a Lutron switch if there are easier, cheaper options. Thanks guy!

Is the switch just a three-way switch? If that’s the case, any smart 3-way switch should do.

… edit … deleted. See below. @JDRoberts

At a minimum, you need a switch that is intended specifically for a fan due to it’s higher current requirements (compared with lighting).

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Some Zooz and some Lutron models can be set up using regular dumb switches with physical traveler wires.

However, as you may know, multi speed fans require switches specifically designed for that purpose. You can find those models discussed in the FAQ (this is a clickable link)

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That’s not really correct. While it’s true that the switch needs to support the current draw of the fan, the brand-name, most frequently used switches, such as Leviton and GE, will support a fan. The Leviton DZ15S-1BZ, for example, supports loads up to 1800 watts for motor (i.e. fan) loads. That’s 15A, likely the limit of the circuit the fan is on. The GE14291 has the same rating. These are both on/off switches that can also be used for lighting.

The “fan” switches that are available, such as the GE 14287 will also work, but you’ll pay a premium over the on’off switch. This “fan” switch is capable of controlling the fan speed in addition to turning it on and off.

So if you just want to be able to turn the fan on and off, get an on/off switch. If you want speed control as well, get a “fan” switch.

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The brand that I couldn’t recall was the Zooz. I don’t think their switch will work with a fan, though. It appears that their switch needs a 15W draw to work properly and I think you’ll only get that from a bulb. Additionally, their documentation states that it shouldn’t be used with a fan. So please disregard what I said about this switch.

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Yeah, poor wording on my part. I should have said, “intended for the current requirements that ceiling fans have”.

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I love this community. Thanks everyone! You’re all awesome. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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@Bry any recommendations for a cheap paddle switch that only does on off for the fan?

I’m not sure about the cheap part, lol. There are many users of the GE and Leviton here. The HomeSeer switches are also popular, as they have some features the others don’t. I personally don’t have any fans controlled by a smart switch.

@Bry let’s say I don’t care about controlling it from my phone and want a simple on off switch for the fan. Know of a good paddle switch that can handle a fan? Can’t be that expensive right for two switches or how does that work as an add on? Sorry I’m a noob. Thanks for taking the time to help.

I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying you don’t want a smart switch (i.e. you don’t want control via phone). If that’s the case, just get a mechanical paddle switch . . . Leviton, etc. You’ll need two 3-way switches. But you have switches now, right? If you don’t want a smart switch why aren’t you staying with what you have?

Yep. When you are evaluating a switch for a fan, you need one that is rated for an inductive (motor) load. Not all smart switches are so rated. You can’t base it on the current rating alone, since fans will probably be well under the max current rating.


Typically the specs will say the switch is rated for a “motor” and give a maximum horsepower along with the resistive max in amps

For example, the GE 14291 on/off switch gives a max load spec of

960W Incandescent, 1/2 HP Motor, 1800W (15A) Resistive
Wirelessly schedule and control any type of z-wave capable light bulbs, small appliances, fans or pumps

This can be used for most ceiling fans as an on/off switch, but does not offer speed control at the switch.

It lists for $10 less than the model which has fan speed control.

The similar Lutron switch which can be used as an on/off for fans below 3.6 A is model PD6ANS . Note that they are listing the max load for fans at about half that of the max for lighting for the same model. And again, this model doesn’t give you speed control at the switch, just on/off.

Although the master is more expensive than the GE model, you can use Picos for the auxiliary switches, so the cost of a three-way set up may be equal to or even less for the Lutron.

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@Bry Thanks so much for taking the time to help me. I really do appreciate it.

@JDRoberts As always, you’ve been extremely helpful. You have always been one of the best things about this community. Thanks again for being so dang awesome!

I think what I’m going to do is buy a dumb paddle switch for the fan and have the nice lutron switch for the lights. I don’t use the fan enough to justify the cost as of right now. Will this work for just the fan?

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Probably, but you need to check the exact specs on your fan to make sure there’s nothing weird about the draw.

Also, do you currently have an on/off switch for the fan in that position? If so, it should be fairly simple, but take “before” pictures of the fan wiring, including the back of the switch so you can see which screws the wires connect to, don’t just rely on memory.

And the other hand, if your current wall switch does do speed control, The wiring may be different, and that’s a whole different situation.

You can talk to Lutron support if you need to, I have always found them very helpful.

No, you need a THREE-WAY switch. When a switch is controlled from two locations a three-way switch is used. It has an extra terminal to facilitate connection to the other switch.


My bad, I just checked the load specs, I missed the 3 way issue. @bry is right that if you are using dumb switches to create a 3 way you need ones designed for that purpose.

By the way, on Amazon, the Honeywell version of the fan switch is often listed for the same price as the GE dimmers. Only a 5$ savings, but what the heck. I know the poster wanted a manual switch, but thought I’d share.

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@JDRoberts @bri maybe you can help me. I have a hunter ceiling fan setup 3 way in my living room. There are two switches on each side of the room for a total of 4 switches total. The two switches on the left control the fan while the other controls the lights on the fan. Same goes for the other side. I capped all the wires from one side and installed the Pico remote. On the other side I hooked up the switch. The switch lights up and acts like it’s working but the actual light doesn’t come on the fan. I know the light is working as it turns on if I bypass using the switch. I can’t get the lights to work with the Lutron switch though. I put a dumb 3 way switch in for the fan and it works great. I tried replacing the bulbs in the fan but that didn’t do anything. There only 25w bulbs. Any ideas why the switch and Pico look like they work but the light doesn’t come on? Are these switches compatible with a Hunter fan? Any help would be amazing.