Idea for controlling patio light/fan

Here's what I've got in a new house. My patio has a pair of ceiling fans (2) with lights and they're controlled by a 4 way set of light switches (3 dumb switches). Their are neutral wires at the switches.

Here's what I want to do. Control the fans independently of the lights. Need suggestions on hardware.

I've checked out that new Inovelli fan switch that's available for pre-order, and unfortunately it doesn't handle multi-pole installs. I am thinking about getting that one for some of the bedrooms though, looks awesome.

Is there any combo of hardware that anyone can suggest to get separate control of the lights and fans? I'm kind of stumped and thinking I might just need to have an electrician come run another loop just for controlling the fans. I'd be ok if the 4 way switches only controlled the lights and I had to add another single switch for the fans as two of the three switch locations would only ever need to turn the lights on and off, not the fans.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Edit: I have several zwave dimmers, switches, and aux switches still on hand if that can be worked into an idea :slight_smile:

I would go wit the Hampton Bay Zigbee fan Remote. You can install the canopy unit each fan and then control them both together from the remote or from Hubitat. This device doesn't require a separate line from the switchbox to the fan for the lights vs. the fan.

That will be the #1 determining factor. Do you have switches that currently control the fan/lights independently? Or do you have a switch that controls all of the power to the fan and then have to pull the chain to turn the light off if you wan the fan on too?


Sorry it's not a simple setup to explain, but let me try to clarify. There's only 1 line going to both fixtures and that's power for the fans and lights. That line is controlled by 3 separate dumb switches (a 4 way switch set).

I did look at the Hampton Bay Zigbee fan remote, and it's definitely an option. But I think it would end up with requiring the lights to be on to turn either of the fans on.

No, that is incorrect. You would get two of the sets of remotes and canopy units. Each would control a separate fan/light combo. You would not be able to use the Zooz fan switch as you only have a single power line going to your switches. The Hampton Bay and Inovelli are based on single power line and a device that goes into the canopy. That is where the differentiation between lights and fan speed come in. But you would need one canopy unit per fan.

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I guess that wasn't worded well. What I meant was that the 3 way switches will have to be on all the time for that unit to work which effectively disables even controlling the lights from the other switches. I just don't think the Hampton Bay zigbee device is the right way to tackle a pair of ceiling fans that are currently simultaneously controlled by a 4 way set of switches.

You would remove the switches and use the included remotes. The two units can be tired together so that the remotes control both of the hampton bay units.

Since there is only one power line going from your switch to the fan, you have no other option currently until the Inovelli device is released. In that case, you would have one wall switch paired to one canopy device and then tie them together in HE.

But hey, I've only been investigating how to automate my ceiling fans for 3 years and thoroughly researched every available fan device on the market. What would I know. Best of luck!

@Ryan780 I appreciate the suggestions, but I think you're missing the fact that the fixtures are controlled by a 4 way set of switches. Not just 1 switch. There are 3 switches, at 3 different doorways, in 3 different rooms that control the patio fixtures. If it was one switch, then it wouldn't be that big a deal to just cover it up and use the remote mounted to the wall. But for WAF, ideally I need to retain control of at least the lights from all 3 switch locations. Even if I could find and pair extra remotes, the idea of mounting at least 3 (and maybe 6, 3 locations x 2 fans) remotes to get these both automated AND separately controlled seems a little goofy. It just seems like a lot to go wrong or get out of sync or otherwise have problems.

Also like I said previously, I'd already looked at the new Inovelli switch that's in pre-order and it DOES NOT support auxiliary switches (ie 3 or 4 way switch scenario) so it's ruled out, unfortunately. I also couldn't find anywhere if it would support more than one canopy unit from a single switch, which I'm kind of doubting it can do.

The 2 options you've discussed are great for rooms with a single ceiling fan fixture with a single switch operating them, neither will work in my situation though.

If those are really the best options right now, I'm leaning toward getting an electrician involved to just run a new power loop to physically control the fans separately. Keeping the lights on the existing 4 way setup and replace that with my regular zwave switches and then using something like the GE Fan dimmer switch at just the main patio access door with that new power loop to control the fans.

I use the Hampton Bay Canopy controller. In my dining room I removed the on/off wall switch and installed the wall mount remote over the switch.

My wife likes the local control and I get to automate the fan.

You could use two of these and the two remotes that come with the canopy controller. Another option are the Lutron Pico remotes if you don't mind adding another hub.

Am I missing something . . . once you have the wireless controller wired up in the canopy of the fan, you can have as many wireless remotes as you want, wherever you want . . . you could put blank plates over all those old wall boxes or, better yet, mount the remotes there.

If you're already a Caséta Smart Bridge Pro owner, then you can just add a Caséta fan controller for the two fans, and then use lighting Picos for the remote locations. Does that make sense, or am I missing something? I know the Caséta fan controller only controls the fan, but you can just put in smart bulbs, tie the hot and load together for the lights and then use a pico next to the fan controller in a gang plate with a pico mounting bracket.

For the remote locations, you put two picos in place if you want. One is the custom pico for fans, and the other is a regular pico. Or if you want to piss off your family, use a single pico and have push for light, hold for fan. :wink:

If you don't already have the Caséta Smart Bridge Pro, well then you would need to buy that too.

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Or put Inovelli switches there in smart-mode to control the lights as normal, just with Hampton bay doing the switch work :slight_smile: