Ceiling fan

Rather than an on/off switch, would it be okay to install a dimmer switch to regulate the speed of the fan?

I tried it, and it does regulate the speed.

But will it damage the motor?

I’m positive that you can buy switches that are specially designed to accomodate ceiling fans with different speeds, and some let you dim the light and change the fan speed. I’m not sure I’d just throw any old dimmer switch on there. Maybe it’s OK, but I wouldn’t risk an electrical fire on a “maybe.”

You can also buy a wireless system with a remote to control both. Not too difficult to install and great if you’re putting this in a bedroom.

Thank you for your response.

It makes good sense to do as you suggest.


Indeed. Ordinary solid-state dimmers work by clipping the voltage peaks in order to regulate the amount of delivered power. This is fine for mainly resistive loads like lightbulbs; not so good with induction motors which tend to create large induced voltages when fed choppy voltage waveforms.

I have such a dimmer, made for ceiling fans. It differs from a lightbulb dimmer only in that the fastest speed is next to the off position. The fan will continue to run in the slowest position, but won’t start.

At lower speeds, the fan is a bit noisier than using the speed switch on the fan. I attribute this to harmonic content in the phase controlled waveform.