09:42PM | 05/30/07
Member Since: 05/30/07
1 lifetime posts
I have a wall switch in my home that controls an electrical outlet in the same room.

I am thinking of installing a rotary knob fan speed control switch in that box to control a nice antique fan I will be using which will be plugged into the controlled outlet. I am thinking of doing this because the fan only runs on 1 speed & I would like to be able to regulate it so I can slow it down to a more comfortable speed.

My concern is that some tell me that motors can be damaged by using "dimmers" or "rheostatic controllers". Others tell me that the resistance can cause the motor or the switch itself to overheat.

It is to my understanding that special control switches designed specifically for ceiling fans are better & safer to use on fans than ordinary light dimmers.

So my question is, will I be risking fire, motor damage or switch overheating, or any other kind of danger if I use a ceiling fan speed control switch to regulate an antique table fan rather than a ceiling fan? - Is there a difference between the motors in this situation?



doug seibert

09:24AM | 05/31/07
Member Since: 08/10/02
843 lifetime posts
You'll need to change both the fan/plug and receptacle to some type of matching twist-lock.....Code restricts controlling/dimming standard receptacles

"...measure once.....cut twice....throw that one away and cut a new one...."


12:11PM | 05/31/07
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
Before wiring this up, you should test whether that antique fan motor will actually work at variable speeds via a dimmer. Many motors, even modern ones, won't.

Many motors are designed to work properly only in a small range -- trying to run them at less than that power causes problems. Including stalling, burning out the motor, and even possibly starting a fire!

Check it out BEFORE going to all the effort of wiring it all.


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