How to Replace the Chain That Turns a Ceiling Fan On and Off

A busted pull string on a ceiling fan nearly always necessitates replacement of the on/off switch as a repair. A few versions do permit you to reattach the string, but you have to access the switch before deciding whether your fan is among them. Most likely, you will have to eliminate the switch before heading to a shop or searching online for a replacement part.

Turn off power to the ceiling fan by tripping the breaker at the home’s main electrical panel.

Climb a ladder to access the fan and open the cover plate at the base of the fan, at which pull string enters. The plate is usually held on to the remaining portion of the housing with three screws on the face of the box.

Unscrew the nut which retains the pull string and switch in position. You might require a wrench to loosen the nut.

Free the switch from in the housing, but do not detach any wires however. Check whether the string can be reattached. If this is the case, snap it back in place, put the nut back on and reassemble the access cover plate.

Draw a diagram or, better yet, snap a few pictures with your mobile phone. Pay particular attention to how the wires are connected to the switch, and in what order.

Detach the wires in the switch. They may be connected to feed wires with wire nuts. If so, bend the cable nuts counterclockwise to free up the wires. Some versions are wired directly into the switch. If that is true, avoid cutting the wires in the switch assembly. Insert a small screwdriver into the slot adjacent to every wire to pop them loose.

Notice the model number and brand of the ceiling fan in addition to how many rates it’s. Take this information, in addition to the old switch, to a home center so that you can match it up with a replacement part.

Determine how the wires attach to the new switch. Insert wires into slots on the switch in the specific order that they lined up on the old switch. When the new switch has terminals, twist each wire clockwise around the appropriate terminal and then tighten down the terminal screw. When the wires attach to feed wires with wire nuts, then strip about 1/2 inch of insulation in the switch wires and twist the appropriate switch wires along with the feed wires, then twist on a wire nut.

Slide the switch to the fan housing and reattach it with the nut in Step 3.

Reattach the housing cover, then turn the breaker back on.

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