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How To Easily Repair Or Replace Your Ceiling Fan Chain

Mar 17, 2023

When altering a ceiling fan's speed, reversing the fan's spinning direction, or turning lights off and on, these adjustments can be made by pulling a chain or flipping a switch. Should the chain break, though, you will need to repair it before you can adjust these settings again. Occasionally, fixing a ceiling fan chain can be a quick job by adding a new length to the broken piece. More often, though, it requires you to access the wiring to replace the pull chain switch box.

If you can install the ceiling fan, you could almost certainly repair the chain. If it breaks inside the housing, which is the most common area for a break, you need to be comfortable working with the wiring, which you had to do during the installation process. You must also know how to turn off the circuit breaker that controls its power. You never want to work on the wiring for the ceiling fan without being certain that the circuit breaker is off.

It doesn't matter if the piece that broke controls the lights or the speed at which the blades spin, as both follow a similar repair process.

Sometimes, the chain will break in a spot where you can see a little bit of the chain still extending from the fan. If so, consider yourself lucky! This is the easiest ceiling fan chain repair that you can do. Unfortunately, it rarely breaks this way. Because it rubs on the opening where it disappears into the housing, this friction weakens it over time. Frequently, when it breaks, it snaps at this friction spot, and the remaining piece disappears inside the housing.

Before beginning the ceiling fan repair process, turn it off at the light switch on the wall when you can see a little bit of the chain. Because you are not opening the housing, you should not need to shut off the circuit breaker for the fan.

When you can still see a segment of the ceiling fan chain, you can simply attach a replacement to the remaining part. Purchase a new segment from your hardware store. This replacement should have a connector clasp on the end, which can slide over the last bead on the remaining piece to secure it. You can follow this process to lengthen a piece that's simply too short to reach comfortably.

If the remaining piece of chain disappears into the housing, you have a far longer repair job on your hands. Start by turning off the circuit breaker on your electrical panel that serves the ceiling fan. This is the safest way to avoid a potential shock.

If your ceiling fan has a light kit, you'll need to remove the light bulbs, light shades, and the segment with the light kit. Remove the screws holding the base in place, which should expose the wiring. Look for the switch with the broken chain. The switch should be a tiny plastic box, and some remaining chains may extend from the box. If you can attach a new piece to any remaining piece, try this to lengthen it again.

You can purchase a replacement pull chain switch from a hardware store when no piece is visible. Inside the ceiling fan, the pull switch should attach to the interior with a few electrical wires. Clip or disconnect the wires to free the existing switch box. Then attach the clipped or disconnected wires from the ceiling fan to the new switch you purchased. Pull the chain from the switch through the hole in the housing's base. Replace the parts you removed earlier. Then adjust the length to your liking.