How to Identify Wiring in a Ceiling Fan

Installing or replacing a ceiling fan is a fairly easy home improvement task. Many homeowners are wary of performing the job themselves because the project involves electrical wiring connections. While these wires may seem intimidating at first, identifying wires that perform certain functions is easy due to the standard color coding used on electrical wiring. Ceiling fans have either three or four main electrical wires that connect the fan to the home's electrical system.

Ceiling fans have three or four main wires.
  1. Locate the building's main fuse box and turn off the power for the room in which the ceiling fan is located.

  2. Position a ladder underneath the ceiling fan and climb up on it to access the fan.

  3. Remove the light globe from the fan, if applicable, by loosening the screws on either side of the metal housing just above the light globe. Also remove the light bulb from the socket to prevent breakage.

  4. Remove the existing ceiling fan from the ceiling by removing the screws located on the outside of the fan housing, near the ceiling. Detach the main fan motor from the ceiling by gently pulling it downward. Then, detach the ceiling mount by removing the screws located in the ceiling.

  5. Locate the black wire, which is the main wire that supplies electricity to the fan itself. This wire starts at the main power box, runs to to the wall switch, and then connects to the ceiling fan.

  6. Look for a wire that is either blue or red. This wire supplies electricity from the main power box to the light in the fan, if it has one.

  7. Locate a wire that is white. This is the neutral wire and functions as the return route for the electrical circuit once electricity leaves the fan. It connects to the grounding conductor at the main panel. Any excess power currents, caused by shorts or power spikes, are sent through this wire to the main power transformer.

  8. Look for a wire that is either green, or copper colored. This is the ground wire, which attaches to a metal part of the socket to prevent electrical charge buildup.