How to Replace a Paddle Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch

How can I fix the pull chain on my ceiling fan that broke off inside the switch? -Brad

Hi Brad,

With most pull chain fan switches, you’ll need to replace the switch, though on some models you may be able to reattach the chain. To replace the switch, you will need to know whether it operates the fan or light. If the switch goes to the fan, you will need to know how many speeds the fan has. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Start by turning off the circuit breaker to the fan.
  2. Next, remove the cover on the fan housing or the globe light so you can access the switch, and unscrew the nut on the outside of the switch that holds it on.
  3. Pull the switch out of the housing from the inside, leaving the wires attached.
  4. Examine the switch to see if the chain can be reattached.
  5. If not, carefully note the colors of the wires and the terminal each attaches to (take a picture with a digital camera or cell phone or draw a diagram of the switch).
  6. Detach the wires and take the switch—along with the model and make of the fan—with you to the home center for a replacement. Be sure to match the number of speeds, switch size, and wattage.
  7. To install the new switch if the wires attach directly to the terminals, bend each wire around the corresponding terminal in a clockwise direction, and tighten up the screws.
  8. If the switch has wires that attach using twist-on connectors (commonly called wire nuts), strip 1/2” to 3/4” of insulation from each wire, wrap them together in a clockwise direction, and twist the connector on in a clockwise direction so it is secure and the bare wire is covered.
  9. Insert the switch in the hole in the fan housing from the inside and thread the nut on the outside.
  10. Attach the housing cover or the globe light.
  11. Turn the breaker back on, and test the switch to see if it works.

Good luck with your project,



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32 Comments on “How to Replace a Paddle Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch”

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  • Maddie Says:
    October 21st, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    I installed both the chain mechanism for the blades and lights. I turned the breaker on and turned the switch on. Walla lights and blades work. Problem; I can’t turn the blades off with the chain. Why????

    Thank you.

  • Jonathan Adams Says:
    November 18th, 2017 at 1:15 am

    My lighting chain got sucked into the fan blades but did not rip off or break, just spun over the top of the blades. The fan then turned off on its own. When I unraveled the lighting chain after turning off my light switch, I’ve noticed my fan won’t spin anymore. I switched it to reverse & it spun on high, until I tried reversing it back to summer mode. Now it won’t spin on either. I’m wondering what could of possibly happened to my fan & why it does not work now. The lighting works without a problem, now I have a dead fan.

  • Gloria Says:
    September 29th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Replacing fan switch, 3 way fan with separate light switch, did as direction says and now fan won’t stop, to apart 3x to make sure connection is good, the low speed is faster than the old one,

  • Gloria Says:
    September 29th, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Fan 3speed with light, chain broke we purchase a 3 speed switch and we place wires where it shoukd be, now it dont turn off, turn power on and fan keeps turning, the low speed is faster than before but will not turn off. We purchase the switch from home depot with help from associate , please help

  • Bev Says:
    July 21st, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    I have Hunter Newburgh model 2059. Directions don’t tell me how to change fan circulation from winter to summer. One chain is for the light so what does the other chain do? I’ve pulled it but fan doesn’t change direction. Thanks for your help!!

  • Mark Says:
    April 23rd, 2017 at 11:50 am

    When I turn on the ceiling fan, I hear the power turn on but the fan doesn’t move. When I give the blade a nudge, it starts turning and stays on. When I turn it off the same thing happens again. It is happening with two of the Bolo By minkaAire ceiling fans in my house.

  • Ruth Stolaas Says:
    April 16th, 2017 at 9:54 am

    We have a chain to the light that will not pull to turn the light on. The fan works fine on all speeds. Do I need to take it apart and replace a switch?

  • Tim Peterson Says:
    April 14th, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I have Hunter ceiling fan, and it doesn’t work… The light works, but the fan doesn’t. I took the fan down and checked the fan switch. There is current at each of the speeds as I pull the fan cord. When I did a “bench check”, the low speed works, but in medium and high speed there is a buzzing or arcing sound coming from the motor. Is there a fix for this? Please let me know. Thanks!

  • Lou Curran Says:
    February 10th, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I have a broken blade, can it be replaced or is it totally ruined? Everything else works and I hate to get rid of it any suggestions?

  • Teen Choy Says:
    December 3rd, 2016 at 4:17 am

    Hi, the pull chain came off from my ceiling fan/light. Can I fix back the chain into the knob (for the lights), found on the base of the ceiling fan?

  • kathy l. Says:
    September 25th, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    The cord that turns on my ceiling fan (fan) on broke so someone disconnected the ceiling fan wires so only that the light can be used but the fan stays off. How do I go about reconnecting the fan wires, so that both the light and the fan on my ceiling fan work?

  • tom Says:
    July 30th, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    My ceiling fan has 4 lights on it and 2 separate chains. One for fan and one for lights. The light chain broke off when pulled. The lights are all attached to the hub yet the screw in screw out is in the center of the hub. How do I replace the light chain?

  • Megan Says:
    May 12th, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I have a ceiling fan with a lighted canopy (nightlight type bulbs)
    The light switch is broken and needs to be replaced. Do I start
    by taking off the light kit? Obviously I will pull the breaker down first 🙂
    I need some advice…
    Thanks, Megan

  • Ginger Pullen Says:
    November 25th, 2015 at 7:29 am

    When I turn on the wall switch to the ceiling fan it goes “bzzzzzzztt” and the breaker on the basement gets turned off. WHat do I do about that?

  • Marie Says:
    November 6th, 2015 at 5:45 am

    I have a question about replacing a pull chain switch on my ceiling fan to repair the light. The current switch has one red wire & one black wire. I have purchased a new switch,
    but it has 2 black wires, no red. My wires colors on my fan are 1 white, 1 purple, 1 brown, 1 black, 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 blue, 1 orange plus a 2 wire capacitor. Can I use it anyway ?

  • Glenn Says:
    October 28th, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    The ceiling fan light switch is connected, and when pulled it comes on. The light switch pulled on, but the chain stays out and doesn’t retract to switch to the second setting. How would I fix this? and would I need to replace the switch?

  • Donna Says:
    September 30th, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    The fan speed pull chain stuck. How do I get it loose without taking fan apart?

  • phyllis Says:
    September 5th, 2015 at 11:06 am

    the pull chain on my ceiling fan broke off inside the pull chain switch. took the switch apart and now don’t know how to put it back together correctly or should I just get a new switch ?

  • Ray Says:
    July 24th, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    fan speed pull chain stuck. How do I get it loose without taking fan apart?

  • randy t Says:
    July 16th, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    i am replacing a ceiling fan pull chain switch. the old has a black,purple,and grey wire. my replacement stitch has black,red, and blue wire. what is the sequence for reattaching wires?

  • JS Says:
    June 29th, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    The chain broke turning on the ceiling fan light it’s attached center below. How should I replace the chain. Please let me know this.

  • Jeanette Riggs Says:
    June 26th, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    We cannot get the the cover off the fan housing. The screws have phillips’ heads, but they don’t unscrew. Help!

  • Tom Says:
    June 23rd, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Made job very simple to complete. Difficulty was obtaining the part. Very helpful.

  • dan johnson Says:
    May 29th, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    My ceiling fan has 3 speeds but is only working on high. Is there a way to repair it?

  • daniel marsh Says:
    May 19th, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I am trying to find how to wire inside the fan and light using pull chains. Please, send me the link.


  • Ric Says:
    April 10th, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Replacing the light switch on my ceiling fan. Has 2 wires (Green & Black). New swittch has 3 (blue, red & black) How do I connect the new switch?

  • Linda Says:
    February 28th, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    My ceiling fan has 3 speeds but is only working on high. Is there a way to repair it, or do I replace the whole fan?. Looks like the fan is about 13 years old.
    Thanks for your help

  • you know Says:
    January 14th, 2015 at 3:02 am

    my chain can be reattached but my problem is when took the pull chain cover off, everything came out flying. so i would like to know how the inside was originally was. plz can someone help? i do not need to buy a new one.

  • Andy Says:
    November 3rd, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    The light on a new fan with pull chain switches would not turn off so I changed the light switch and now it is almost flashing on and off. It will dim to nothing then come back full on. How do you troubleshoot this? Should I just replace the switch again?

  • johnnicosia Says:
    August 6th, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    The overhead fan in my kitchen will not turn on but the attached light will go on. How can I fix the fan?

  • shirley Says:
    June 25th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    my fan switch did not work when I open the light cover to remove the fan switch the switch fall apart and I have 4 wires 2 black, 1 purple, 1 red, but my switch has 1 black, 1 brown, 1 purple and 1 gray what go to what ?

  • Joan Says:
    June 22nd, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Hello; I have a question about replacing a pull chain switch on my ceiling fan to repair the light. The current switch has one red wire & one black wire. I have purchased a new switch,
    but it has 2 black wires, no red. Can I use it anyway ?
    Thank you

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How to Replace a Paddle Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch