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Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: December 07, 2017 09:37PM
Installed two new ceiling fans, running off the same old dimmer switch. Old fans would hum if dimmer was not up to 100%, and the new ones do too. Old switch is rated for 600W but says for incandescent bulbs only, so I want to replace it with a real fan speed control switch that does not hum. Only problem is I can't seem to find one rated high enough.

Each new fan pulls up to 45W at max speed, and has (2) 60w bulbs, so 165w per fan, or 330w max for both. Popular Lutron switches are rated for 1.5A (180w) or 2A (240w). So not quite enough.

Fans are not wired for separate light control, but I can use the pull chains to modulate that as needed. Do not anticipate using the lights often, or even the fans all that much, but I want to make sure the switch can handle it without causing any hum.

Did find a "fully variable fan control" 5A model but reviews say it's not a true fan control and causes hum...

Am considering replacing the 60w incandescent bulbs with LEDs, which run 12w each, so 24w for the lights per fan instead of 120w, total draw on the switch = (45x2)+(12x4) = 138w. Pretty much solves the problem, but that's at least $20 for the LEDs, and since I want to replace the dimmer anyway why not get one that can handle up to 330w? Does such a switch exist?
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: December 07, 2017 09:43PM
Hmm. I've avoided 'dimmer controls' on fans after a near fire. I use the pull chains to change the speeds. I've also used those 'remote controls' for lights and speed that works pretty well. Usually a motor capable light switch will do the trick.
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: GGD
Date: December 07, 2017 09:48PM
Quote
mikebw
Am considering replacing the 60w incandescent bulbs with LEDs, which run 12w each, so 24w for the lights per fan instead of 120w, total draw on the switch = (45x2)+(12x4) = 138w. Pretty much solves the problem, but that's at least $20 for the LEDs, and since I want to replace the dimmer anyway why not get one that can handle up to 330w? Does such a switch exist?

I would think that LEDs would handle vibration a lot better than incandescent bulbs, as an added benefit. $5/bulb for LEDs seems high.
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: billb
Date: December 07, 2017 09:56PM
After repeatedly matching dimmers with loads I've switched to just using LED to save money and don't bother with dimmers. Same as cbelt. KISS engineering. Most dimmers waste electricity in the form of heat and it only multiplies as you increase loads. To heck with dimmers.
The room needs a mood light ? Buy a mood light. KISS again.
Most fans come with fan speed controls these days. Either a pull chain switch or a handy dandy remote, some even with reverse fan mode.

Probably don't need a light dimmer for these new "smart" LED lamps that change color and do all manner of things lights aren't supposed to do all by the whims of your iphone app.



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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: Carm
Date: December 07, 2017 10:10PM
I moved to wireless fan controls with LED bulbs in living room and master bedroom. Saves from having to wire another switch. Costco special $99. Other rooms have lower priced ceiling fans with pull chains. I have a couple of remote kits to change them to wireless, just haven't gotten around to change them.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2017 10:30PM by Carm.
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: sekker
Date: December 07, 2017 10:14PM
Maybe try adding Hue bulbs for wifi control via a home automation hub?
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: December 08, 2017 04:30AM
DO NOT USE A SEPARATE DIMMER SWITCH WITH A CEILING FAN!

nuff said.

The only way a dimmer will work properly, is if the lights are on a separate circuit. If you're real handy, have at it and wire up separate circuits for the lights and the fan, otherwise get a ceiling fan w/ a wireless remote, or use the pull chain, or other on-fixture control to change settings. Dimmer switches and ceiling fans are simply not a good mix.
==
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: December 08, 2017 07:42AM
Appreciate the comments, but I am not looking for a "dimmer switch". Want a fan control switch, which has 3-speed settings (and off) and will not cause hum.

This 1.5A one that I mentioned before has several reviewers who confirm that it does not cause the fans motors to hum.

Also, the bulbs are E12 candelabra type, so not as cheap or common as A19.

Will definitely look in to the remote control option.

Changing the wiring is not really an option since these fans are on the ceiling of the middle floor. I'd have to pull up the carpet and subfloor from above to get at that, or tear down drywall on the ceiling.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2017 08:35AM by mikebw.
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: flareslow
Date: December 08, 2017 09:49AM
Dimmers operate from off to dimmest to full on; fan controllers operate from off to high to slowest. Fans need high power initially to get started.
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Re: Help me find a fan control switch?
Posted by: Carm
Date: December 08, 2017 04:37PM
I completely understand your dilemma mikebw, your best option short of getting a new ceiling fan is a remote control kit. Dimmers do get hot. If you know anything about resistance and voltage. It's gonna get hot when it restricts voltage to the motor and/or lights. Most remote kits have dimmer option built in if your ceiling fan light has the dimmer option. A universal kit on Amazon cost about $23. Should be the same at local HD or Lowes. Lowes had a kit for $50, for that price, you are better off just getting a new fan with remote control built in if you are a costco or sams member. I know Costco has a ceiling fan with remote starting at $79
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