How to Bypass Pull Chain on Ceiling Fan: 9 Step Fix

A ceiling fan is an excellent addition to almost any room and has been shown to reduce heating and cooling bills. In some buildings, the fan is operated by a wall switch. In most, however, it is still operated in an old-fashioned manner with a chain, which is liable to eventually break. Bypassing the ceiling fan pull chain is a relatively simple task that only requires a few tools and a little bit of time.

How to Bypass Pull Chain on Ceiling Fan

The process is fairly simple if you need to add a pull chain to a ceiling fan. Just follow these steps to get your fan working again in no time.

Required Tools and Supplies to Bypass a Ceiling Fan Pull Chain

The list of supplies you need is relatively short. Some of the items are optional.

  • Pull chain extender or pull chain switch kit
  • Screwdriver
  • Step ladder or stool
  • Wirecutter
  • Wire nuts


  • Pliers
  • Rag

Whether you need a pull chain switch kit or an extender depends on where the pull chain broke. It is good to assess the situation before you begin the project to determine what you need. All of the supplies are available at any hardware or home supply store.

1. Cut Off the Power to the Ceiling Fan

Flip the wall switch to the ceiling fan to “off” and then turn off that circuit breaker that controls the fan.

2. Unscrew the Metal Collar

Step onto the ladder and try unscrewing the metal collar counterclockwise with your fingers. If you’re unable to, wrap a soft rag around the metal collar to protect it and use pliers to loosen the collar.

3. Open the Fan Base

If there are any light bulbs, remove them. With your screwdriver, remove the screws from the ceiling fan motor base. Pull off the removable lower section. Let it hang by its wires to the fan base.

4. Locate and Pull Down the Pull Chain

Find the small plastic unit (usually with a clear side) that is the ceiling fan pull chain switch. Three or four wires likely attach it to the fan. Carefully pull the unit down.

5. Cut the Wires

Use the wire cutters to cut off the wires, leaving at least two inches attached to the ceiling fan base. This will simplify the process of attaching the ceiling fan pull chain replacement.

6. Attach the New Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch

Strip the wires’ plastic to expose the copper wire. Be careful to match the wiring of the new ceiling fan pull chain switch to the wiring of the fan, twist the wires together, and use a plastic wire nut to top off each connection.

7. Thread the Pull Chain

Carefully press the switch back into the base of the ceiling fan, and then thread the pull chain through the housing hole.

8. Ceiling the Fan Pull Chain Replacement

By hand, retighten the metal collar and reattach the ceiling fan’s lower section. If you remove light bulbs, put them back.

9. Test by Turning on the Ceiling Fan With the Chain

Flip the circuit breaker and turn the power back on at the wall switch. Then carefully tug the ceiling fan pull chain to test it.

Additional Questions and Concerns

Although the process of installing a ceiling fan pull chain replacement is relatively simple, as with any DIY project, you might encounter elements you didn’t anticipate, or you have questions.

What To Do If Your Ceiling Fan Pull Switch Is Not Working?

If your fan isn’t working or if the ceiling fan pull chain is stuck, WD40 might not be the answer. Although many use WD40 as their “go-to” for lubricating mechanical parts, it is primarily intended as a solvent to remove corrosion. Consult your owner’s manual to determine what the recommended lubricant is.

Do You Need to Replace the Chain If It Breaks Midway?

If your ceiling fan chain breaks at the midpoint, it breaks outside the fan housing. It is visible, accessible, and easy to remedy. Just buy and attach an extension chain.

Can You Convert a Pull Chain Fan to a Wall Switch?

Yes. Although the process is more in-depth than merely putting a pull chain back on a ceiling fan, it can be done. You will need to install a ceiling fan wall switch and probably run the wires from the fan to the switch. In many cases, it might be better to call a professional.

What If You Want to Bypass a 3 Speed Fan Switch?

If you want to control the fan speed from a ceiling fan wall switch, you will need to install a 3-speed fan control rather than a regular wall switch.

In Conclusion

Ceiling fan pull chains are seen as a little old-fashioned. So, if you would prefer to update your ceiling fan by converting it to a wall switch, you aren’t alone. The process of bypassing and converting your pull chain fan to a wall switch is more complicated than some DIY projects. If you feel uncomfortable, you should hire a professional to ensure the result safely functions.

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