Z-Wave Fan Control

Hey everyone,

I’m looking for anyone with experience in dealing with connecting ceiling fans to Z-wave wall switches (such as the GE 12730 Z-Wave Smart Fan Control). I understand the concept of having the fan wired to this switch for 3-speed control, but, in researching new fans for our home remodel, I’m coming across a lot of them who specify a ‘remote’ or ‘wall mount’ proprietary control.

In calling one of these companies (Monte Carlo Fans), their tech support claims that their fans can’t be setup with just a normal 3 wire setup to a ‘regular wall switch’ (I didn’t even mention Z-wave switches, as that usually makes their heads explode).

Does anyone have any experience with these more modern fans and this scenario? I can’t believe that these fans are expecting to be all wired ‘hot’ from the wall with no ability to be controlled by standard wiring?

Thanks for any advice…

You may have confused them by saying “regular wall switch.” Most people would interpret that as a light switch, and you can’t use a light switch for fan motor.

The GE 12730 fan control device is specifically designed for controlling multi speed fans. Not for controlling lights. It’s not a “regular wall switch.“ It’s a fan control switch.

Multi speed fan motors use different windings for the different speeds. A fan control switch will switch from one winding to another as it moves through the different speeds. That’s very different than the way a “regular wall switch“ works, which just increases the amount of current along a single path.

If you don’t want to bring up Z wave, I understand, but ask them about using it with a dumb wall mount fan control switch like one of the following:





If it will work with those, it should work with the GE fan control model. But again, not a light switch model, something specifically designed to control a three speed fan.

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my advice is don’t buy a proprietary fan. Tell them you won’t, and walk away.


Don’t most fan controllers vary the voltage that is applied, not the current?

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Just to clarify, as this confused me for a minute. You can use a standard wall switch, but not to vary the speed. If you do use a standard switch, you have to control the fan speed using the built-in pull chain, if equipped.

On another note, I have heard of a fan not working with a “standard” speed controlling switch as @jdroberts described. I know someone that purchased one. The fan had to be wired to a conventional switch, and the only way to control the speed is with an included remote that could be wall mounted. I would definitely stay away from those, as there are plenty of fans that work in the traditional way and with switches that @jdroberts described.


Thanks @Bry - I’ve also been seeing that too (power with a standard wall switch works, but the fans don’t work with a standard fan control switch - even the non Z-wave ones).

Vendors controlling speed with a proprietary remote. So far, fans from Fanimation seem to have standard 2 or 3-wire wall remotes, which would seem to indicate that they can be controlled with the GE Z-wave switch… the problem, as always, is that the WAF is lower when her choice of aesthetics in fans is limited and she likes the proprietary ones because they look cool. :smiley:

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Yes, thanks, my bad. Fixed above.

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I went through this with fans already purchased in our house. Opened the enclosure and saw there was a receiver that was wired to a wall switch with 2 wires. Then 3 wires from there wired to the fan as it split off power to the light fixture. Luckily I had 2 sets of wires going to the box for 2 switches so I removed receiver and wired the light fixture directly to one of the wall switches and the fan then directly wired to the fan control switch. All works like a charm.

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I recently installed a Monte Carlo in a bedroom. It comes with a proprietary canopy module and remote which expects constant 120v power. Through the remote and canopy module, it dims the light and fan. This said the canopy module on my fan is the exact size as the Hampton Bay Zigbee module. At some point I may switch it out for that instead so I can automate it. My recommendation is to verify the size and shape of the canopy module of the fan you plan to purchase to see if it’s the same size as the Hampton Bay Zigbee version. I was suggesting this to someone on this forum and her fan had a round canopy module where the HB wouldn’t fit. Obviously you are increasing the cost of your fan having to buy a new canopy module but it will allow you to automate it.

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I just went through this here at home. I tried, I might even say valiantly, to steer her towards a dumb fan with standard wiring so I could use a GE fan control. Ended up getting a Fanimation from Lowes. It is a DC fan with a proprietary remote. I am just going to use a GE on/off switch for the wall and keep the remote on the coffee table. The fan will always come on at the last speed so this should work alright.

She is happy because it will look nice. I at least get to automate the on/off part !

Steer Clear of the Monte Carlo fans. We just build a home, with everything z-wave GE switches and Aeon Labs sensors . Everythings has worked out great except for the Monte Carlo fans. When I called their customer support it was painful. The young man was nice and polite but did not understand how their own product worked or how to wire it.