How to Add a Wall Switch to a Ceiling Fixture
Time Required: 2-4 hours
Adding a wall switch to a ceiling fixture can be done in a matter of hours. The biggest challenge is planning the cable route and running it from the fixture to the new wall switch position. If the wall is heavily insulated, push conduit through the insulation and then feed wires or cable through the conduit. This project guide will walk you through the process of installing the switch, including wiring both the switch and the fan. See the video above for more specific instructions.
Turn off power at the circuit breaker panel box. Use a voltage tester to ensure power is off at the outlet. Plan a cable path that crosses as few studs or joists as possible. You may have to cut an access hole to run cable through framing with a fish tape.
Run the cable from the ceiling fixture down to the switch location. Pull the cable through into the switch box and secure it to the wall.
Tip: For more details on fishing electrical wire through a wall, see our video.
To wire the ceiling fixture to the new wall switch, first connect the copper grounding wire to the fixture. After removing the black wire to the fixture’s lead, splice it into the new white wire. Mark this wire black. Then splice the fixture’s black lead into the new black wire.
Connect black, white and copper ground wire to the new switch. This grounding wire should lead to a neutral bar in the service panel.
Tip: From the service panel, heavy-gauge copper grounding wire should run to one or a combination of the following: Cold water pipe, grounding rods driven at least 10 feet in the ground or a metal plate sink in a footing.