Welcome everyone, the following is an illustrated step by step troubleshooting guide created by the #1 Phoenix electrician service & repair specialist Sharp Electric.

A homeowner called the #1 Phoenix electrician Sharp Electric LLC  with this electrical problem. “Every time the ceiling fan light kit switch is turned ON, all power is lost in that guest bedroom as well as the guest bathroom lights. The only way to restore power is by turning the light switch OFF and resetting the 15 amp circuit breaker at the main panel.”

Interested in learning what troubleshooting steps were utilized to find the electrical problem described above?

The purpose of the content below is to showcase one of the many troubleshooting processes Sharp Electric the #1 Phoenix electrician has developed & utilizes to troubleshoot and repair similar electrical scenarios. This not an instructional article and electricity should only be handled by qualified personal in conjunction of the appropriate testing equipment.

Step 1 )Familiarize yourself with the complete electrical system, by looking at the broad picture and asking the proper questions.

Bedroom with ceiling fan controlled by two wall switches
  • Does the fan have pull chain switches?

  • How do you operate the fan and its different features?

  • Is it a remote controlled fan?

  • Is the fan light kit controlled by 3 way switches?

  • Can you also replicate the electrical issue by operating the fan motor switch?

Step 2 ) Narrow down the electrical installation by answering the questions you now know the answer to.

  • Ceiling fan is controlled by 2 single pole switches. One switch controls the light and the other controls the fan motor.

  • The electrical issue can not be replicated by energizing the fan motor only the fan light switch.

  • The fan motor works and the circuit breaker does not trip when the motor is energized.

Step 3) Identify which electrical component(s) could potentially be causing the electrical problem and come up with a list of theories.

3 gang nail on switch box with Romex conductors
  • Theory A) Single pole switch that controls the fan light might be shorting out with the bare ground conductor in the switch box or the insulation on the red wire landed on the switch is compromised.

  • Theory B) The red wire that energizes the fan light kit might be shorting out with a grounded or grounding conductor at the ceiling fan terminations.

  • Theory C) The insulation of the red wire is compromised and an exposed portion of the wire is grounding itself at the metal ceiling fan box or the metallic body of the fan .

  • Theory D) The ceiling fan light kit fixture portion might be faulty. (Check for a bulb wattage limiter device, damaged wires inside light kit and finally check bulb sockets for electrical shorts with your multi-meter.)

Way In Over Your Head? Request Service Here

Step 4) Finally begin to perform tests on step 3 theories, start with the least labor intensive to troubleshoot.

Hugger 52" ceiling fan
  • Check if the ceiling fan light kit is the problem. Pull the light kit chain until it clicks once and turn the wall switch ON to see if the electrical issue can be replicated. In my specific scenario the circuit breaker would still trip even if the ceiling fan light kit was isolated from the circuit by turning off the pull chain switch. By performing this quick test I confirmed that the problem is not the fan light kit so this variable can be removed from the equation.

  • Check if the wiring at the light switch is the problem. Remove the switch face plate followed by the switch in question. Pay close attention to the bare ground wire and verify that it is not coming in contact with the live screws/terminals on the switch. Carefully inspect the red wire landed to the switch in question and make sure the insulation has not been compromised. If any physical damage is present apply electrical tape. In my specific scenario all the bare grounding conductors were tucked away onto the back of the switch box and the red wire was in good shape discarding this possibility.

  • Check the wiring insulation integrity as well as the wiring terminations between the fan wiring and the ceiling wiring. Depending on the ceiling fan type you are working with you might have to disassemble it completely or you might get lucky where you can simple remove 2-4 screws holding the ceiling canopy in place. This canopy cover allows you access the electrical connections without bring the whole ceiling fixture down. Do to the hugger style/flush mount ceiling fan I was working with, I was forced to disassemble it completely to access the electrical connections. Once disassemble it revealed that the red wire in charge of energizing the light kit was exposed and came in contact with the grounded metal box provided a direct path to ground thus resulting on a tripped circuit breaker every time it was energized.

I hope you found these guide created by your #1 Phoenix electrician Sharp Electric helpful. If you would like to learn more about common residential electrical problems click here.

Let us know via Instagram about your latest project and share pics and or comments about the toughest electrical problems you have encountered and are yet to resolve.

Until next time, friends.

Hector and Kathryn Torres (the power couple)


Call For Service Today