How to Repair a Pull Chain for a Ceiling Fan Light

Written by abaigeal quinn
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A pull chain assembly on a fan looks like a simple device. Although replacing a broken chain is not difficult, repairing it with the correct pull chain can be a bit of a challenge. There are numerous configurations on the market for ceiling fan lights, some with simple switch configurations and others which are a bit trickier to replace. The number of fan speeds, ability to reverse the fan speed with a pull of the chain, and number of wires connecting the device will determine which replacement chain you must purchase for your ceiling fan light.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ladder or chair
  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Tape
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Replacement chain
  • Soldering iron (optional)

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  1. 1

    Turn off all electricity to your ceiling fan unit.

  2. 2

    Use a ladder or stool to climb up to the ceiling fan light.

  3. 3

    Take off the switch housing cover by removing the screws located on either the bottom or sides of the housing unit.

  4. 4

    Label the wires with tape in relation to their position on the chain and make proper notes before removing the chain from the wiring.

  5. 5

    Unscrew the brass finial (small, crown-shaped fitting) on the outside of the housing unit to disengage the chain.

  6. 6

    Disconnect the wires from the chain. Insert a small screwdriver into the slots on the chain next to each wire and pry them off with needle-nose pliers.

  7. 7

    Reconnect the wires on the new chain in the proper order.

  8. 8

    Slide the pull chain back through the housing unit and replace the finial cap.

  9. 9

    Tighten the screws back into the housing unit to reattach the housing cap.

  10. 10

    Climb down carefully and return electricity to your ceiling fan light. Test the chain to ensure it is operating correctly.

Tips and warnings

  • Some pull chains will need to have the wires soldered to them. Notice if the assembly was soldered when you remove the old chain.
  • Always repair pull chains by purchasing the correct pull chain assembly for your ceiling fan light. Bring the chain and your notes to the hardware store or contact the manufacturer for the correct replacement part.

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