Can You Use A Dimmer Switch On A Ceiling Fan

Let’s say that you just purchased a new home and cannot wait to move in. You are going through the home to make a list of items that you might need to upgrade or fix. The lighting in certain rooms appears to be very bright and you think to yourself, why not put a dimmer switch in? Dimmer switches work great in bathroom lighting as you can change the brightness to meet your needs. Can you use a dimmer switch on a ceiling fan? It is not a good idea as the dimmer switch can overheat and cause a fire.

Let’s take a look below at some more details regarding the efficiency and need for a dimmer switch.

Dimmer switch on a wall is better for a light than a ceiling fan.

Are They Safe

The short answer is no. Dimmer switches on ceiling fans are not safe. Dimmer switches regulate voltage in the circuit. Fan controllers regulate amperage in the circuit. Because of this, dimmer switches cannot be used on the ceiling fan without having a variety of issues from short circuitry to fire. Some key areas that are different when you have a dimmer switch hooked up to your ceiling fan include slower speeds to the fan and noise. A slower fan typically generates a buzzing sound and can be annoyingly noisy. So, not only are dimmer switches unsafe for your ceiling fan, when they are installed, they immediately reduce the functionality of the ceiling fan.

How Much Does It Cost

Believe it or not, changing a dimmer switch can be relatively inexpensive. The average for a dimmer switch is $10 to $50 depending on make and model. Most electricians will charge you between $100 and $200 to install a light switch. Keep in mind that the previous wiring in the home might not address your needs when adding a dimmer switch. Hiring an electrician is key.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Check out the other dimmer switches in the house. If the dimmer switch is hot to the touch, then the wattage that it controls is more than that amount listed under the plate, so it is overloading and a fire hazard.

You also may want to check that the metal box is grounded in the home. This is important as surges in electricity in a box that is not grounded can go wherever it wants to and cause electrocution or death. You can check this with a voltage tester.

Lastly, if you look around your house and you see two-prong outlets, this is also a sign that the metal box is not grounded. Also, if you are trying to get insurance on the home, you won’t be able to with two-prong. So, you will need to switch all the outlets to three-prong where you will have the copper wire in that third slot that connects the grounding to the entire home.

Electrician installing a ceiling fan.

When Should I Call A Professional

Anytime you are dealing with electricity in your home, it is a great idea to consult a licensed electrician.  Knowing what wires were used in your home is important before making changes to your electrical outlets. You will want to check the type of outlet installed before replacing it with any other type of switch. This will avoid potential fire and disaster of the home. Lastly, call on your local home inspection team to conduct a full home inspection and provide you with a reputable licensed electrician.


While you are trying to save money on home upgrades, it is a good idea to not skimp when dealing with the safety of the home. Electric is an area that you want perfect. Anything that can start a fire should be treated with care. Hire your local home inspection team to comb through and check the wiring and electric outlets to ensure they are in good working condition. They can also tell you about the wires and how old they might be. The inspection team will give you a reputable licensed electrician to successfully upgrade your ceiling fans with the proper switches. Heartland Inspections services the great Minneapolis St. Paul and surrounding areas.