Reversing Ceiling Fan Polarity/Direction

I’m wondering if anyone has any creative suggestions for more easily reversing a ceiling fan’s polarity/direction without having to climb on a ladder with a pole and manually nudging a switch over.

I gather that the main reason why most ceiling fans don’t include a separate wall switch for direction is because rapidly switching the polarity can lead to blowing a fuse or tripping a breaker. However, it would be wonderful if there was a way (smart toggle switch or relay possibly?) for doing this?

It would probably require disassembling part of the fan and checking how/what the switch actually does. Especially with some of the newer DC motor fans it is not likely as simple as reversing the polarity, but since on most fans it is just a switch it should be possible to put a relay (dry contact relay switch maybe) to do it. Somewhat surprising that it is not really discussed much, probably because of the disassembly needed for it.

Also, oddly, I did a bunch of searching for it online and really did not find any relevant discussions about people having done it. Probably in part that the amount of time to install something to do it would be far more than anyone would ever spend actually flipping the switch even if they have to get out ladders and such. It only gets done twice a year and some people use that as a chance to finally wipe the dust off the blades as well.


And change the batteries in the smoke detectors.


But I will be the first to admit that there are many projects in my house that, taken objectively, have used far more time than they have ever saved. Or cost more than a commercial version... or what they could possibly ever save by knowing. But I still have them or spent the time making them.

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Lol. It was simply a thought: “why doesn’t this exist?!?”
I just grabbed an extendable pole last night and pulled the switches over. Smart solution for a dumb problem...

My house setup is a strange in that I have cathedral ceilings upstairs in two bedrooms and that the fans are difficult to reach. Combine that with being very busy, this kept getting put off. This weather has also been strange in that we’ve had temps in the 20s and also in the 60s so a smart switch or relay that could alternate automatically based on temp fluctuations could help with comfort, lower the carbon footprint, and also to lower bills.

I have a fan like this as well. The only reason to switch the fan direction in the winter is to eliminate the "breeze" the occupants might feel. Since this particular fan is so high up and typically only run at low speed, there isn't enough air movement at my level for me to feel anything. So, I just leave it blowing down all year round.

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I suppose reverse both directions really only achieve the same result with one being a direct breeze. But I the fans do make a huge difference. Every time I’m up on a ladder with cathedral ceilings, I start sweating bullets.

Most of my fans are fairly dumb/simple, but we have one big, expensive, fancy fan in our living room that has a fancy remote, and you can reverse direction with the remote.

Unfortunately, we bought it 6 months too early. They later released a version that was also zigbee-enabled. But it's too big and expensive to replace, so it gets to stay dumb with a fancy remote. (I did manage to get my broadlink transmitter to turn the fan's light on/off, so there's that.)

The broadlink can probably control the other functions as well. Do you have your broadlink added into your Hubitat? It has proven very useful for controlling our robot vacuums. Too bad the app and driver appear to have been removed.

I tried it a number of times, but the rf commands that the fan uses are kind've jumbled up. For example, I could send it a command to start turning. But then when I sent a command to turn the light on, the fan would stop turning. My hunch is that they are set up kind've like:

command1: light on, fan stopped
command2: light off, fan stopped
command3: light on, fan low
command4: light off, fan low

And the remote has a memory of current states, because it has indicator lights. So when you press a button on the remote, it updates it's internal state/lights, then sends a single command to the fan that transfers the entire state.

To follow up on this: I think it would be doable if I made a virtual device that completely modeled the remote, and then either used RM or a custom app to send all the different commands to the Broadlink driver. I'd have to record every single combination.

It's probably doable. It just hasn't gotten near the top of my list yet.

Because recording those commands would be very difficult. To record a command with the broadlink driver, it requires multiple button presses on the remote. But if each button press is changing the internal state of the remote... ¯\(ツ)

Crap. This is going to end up as my weekend project, isn't it? :smiley:


That would be my bet. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Do you have one of those Big A$$ Fans (their name brand, not mine...)?
Unfortunately, I don’t think that most of these have a reverse switch with a remote that works like that and I don’t think universal remotes with their relays have the reverse function built in.

No, mine is a (Home Depot) Home Decorators Collection.

Here's what we have:

Interestingly, it looks like the zigbee version is no longer offered. Maybe because Wink going downhill. Now they're offering the same one I have, but packaged with a Bond hub.

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That’s pretty slick looking. It kinda reminds me of BAF but less industrial which IMO is better.

What does everyone think of using one these? Control Module. It allows energizing two different circuits. I'm thinking that a rule could be written to turn 'on' one if you need the fan to blow down and the other for the fan to blow up. I also found Corporate Drivers and this site.

Just curious on your thought?

I guess that product didn’t take off as the link is dead lol.
Interesting however—a smart switch or relay that alternates two different circuits?