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How do I Choose the Best Ceiling Fan Switch?

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  • Written By: Terrie Brockmann
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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When choosing the best ceiling fan switch, a person should first determine his or her needs, the fan's capabilities, and the market choices that are available for that fan design. Some people want a simple wall switch, while others prefer the convenience of hand-held wireless remotes. Many types of wall switches are capable of controlling a fan and the fan's light. Generally, it is advisable to contact the fan's manufacturer to purchase a switch that is compatible with it. A buyer needs to be aware that not all fan switches are interchangeable, nor are all fans able to support all switch types.

Some of the common types of ceiling fan switches include switches on the fan, variable speed switches, and pull-chain switches. The newer innovations add in digital and remote control switches. Each type of switch has advantages and disadvantages that a person needs to consider before installing one. When replacing existing switches, it is advisable to consult the manufacturer or an electrician, as certain variables, such as fan speed, are different with different fan designs.

The common wall switches are available as standard toggle on-off switches and as dimmer switches. The dimmer types include the glider or slide control style and the rotary dial style. Many styles of ceiling fan wall controls regulate the fan and its light. Some will change the blade rotation, but frequently a pull chain on the fan accomplishes that. A simple wall switch is the least expensive alternative.

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Another type of wall switch is the digital or electronic style. These controls offer more features. Some of these have sensors that track room temperature changes and adjust the fan's speed accordingly. Various companies offer a feature that turns the light off when the room is unoccupied. Designers are continuously adding new features; therefore, it is advisable to check out the latest fans and fan switches on the market.

A ceiling fan switch may help home owners save money on utility bills. Some switches can turn a light off when no one is in the room. Simpler dimmer types also help save money by reducing the amount of electricity a light uses while it is in the dimmed mode. Not all are compatible with energy-efficient light bulbs, and a person should consult the owner's manual before installing light bulbs.

When buying a replacement ceiling fan switch, a person should research to see which switch will work with the existing ceiling fan. Read the fan company's user manual thoroughly for the specifics that the fan requires. Researching different manufacturers' switches on the Internet may reveal problems or suggest better alternatives. A few of the complaints that buyers have reported are that some remote controls drain batteries quickly and that some controls give the wrong readouts, such as showing that the fan is off when it is actually running.

Before a person replaces a defective ceiling fan switch, he or she may want to consult the owner's manual or an electrician. Sometimes a wireless remote needs to be set to another channel in order to work properly. For example, a ceiling fan switch may receive interference from another wireless appliance. A person may be able to remedy this by changing channels, which the owner's manual will list.

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