Do Universal Remotes Work on Ceiling Fans?

Older, pull-chain ceiling fan models require users to pull a chain switch to turn the lights and fan on and off and adjust the fan’s speed. In today’s world of home automation, these pull-chain ceiling fans are outdated and inconvenient. Many homeowners are looking to upgrade their ceiling fans to make them easier to control, and manufacturers are taking note.

Universal remotes will work on ceiling fans because today’s modern ceiling fan models have sensors that allow users to control the fans using a remote control. Users can even control the fans via their phone app as long as they install a receiver for it to work.

Read on to learn more about remote-controlled ceiling fans and how to control a pull-chain fan with a universal remote.

How Do Universal Ceiling Fan Remotes Work?

Today’s upgraded ceiling fans come equipped with built-in receivers. Remote controls that come with ceiling fans are programmed to the fans. This allows a user to adjust the fan’s lights and speeds without using a pull-chain or switch. Older ceiling fans don’t have these built-in receivers, but users can purchase universal ceiling fan remote kits to turn their pull-chain fan into a remote-controlled fan.

A universal ceiling fan remote transmits a signal to a receiver that a user installs in their ceiling fan’s canopy. The signal from the remote connects to the receiver and “tells” the fan what to do.

Universal remotes may also be used with newer ceiling fans if the included remote is misplaced. However, before purchasing one, ensure that it’s compatible with your ceiling fan’s brand.

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Using Universal Remotes With Old Ceiling Fans

As mentioned in the previous section, to turn a regular ceiling fan into a remote-controlled fan, you’ll need to purchase a separate receiver and remote kit.

I highly recommend the LPHUMEX Universal Ceiling Fan Remote Kit from This product offers fan, light, speed settings, and a timer. And it’s compatible with several top-name ceiling fan brands.

How To Install a Universal Remote Receiver

Once you’ve purchased the kit, you must install the receiver and then program the remote. Doing so requires basic technological and electrical skills, as you’ll need to change the wiring in the fan to install the receiver.

Follow the steps below to install a universal ceiling fan remote receiver:

  1. Turn on the fan’s power setting and set it to the highest speed. If the fan has an included light, ensure that the power is in the “On” position.
  2. Switch off any wall switches that control the fan. Turn off the breaker to the fan or switch off the main power supply.
  3. Remove the canopy covering the ceiling fan. To do this, you’ll need a screwdriver to remove the screws that secure the canopy to the fan.
  4. Adjust the DIP switch settings on the receiver. Make a note of the numbers you use.
  5. Fit the receiver into the base of the ceiling fan. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to wire the receiver into the fan. In some cases, you may not use all of the included wires.
  6. Reattach and secure the canopy. Ensure that all screws are tightly secured.
  7. Install new batteries in the remote control. Ensure that the batteries are correctly installed and that the lights on the remote are working.
  8. Turn the breaker back on. Turn on any wall switches that control the fan and light.
  9. Adjust the DIP switch settings on the remote. These settings should match the DIP switch settings that you made a note of in step four.
  10. Program the remote to the receiver. Use the programming instructions that came with the receiver kit. Usually, adjusting the DIP switch is enough to pair the two devices, but sometimes additional steps are required, depending on the manufacturer.
  11. Ensure that everything works properly. Once everything is installed correctly and programmed, you may begin using your fan immediately.

Troubleshooting a Remote-Controlled Ceiling Fan

If the ceiling fan or remote control stops working, you’ll need to do some troubleshooting. Below are a few tips on how to do that:

Check the Power

First, check the batteries to ensure they’re in good working condition. If not, replace the batteries with a fresh set and try again. 

If the batteries are fine, check the wall power switches for the fan and the light. Ensure that they are both in the “On” position. These switches should stay in the “On” position at all times, or else there will be no power to the fan or lights.

Suggested: Does a ceiling fan with remote a wall switch?

Reprogram the Universal Remote

Once you’ve checked the batteries and power switches, try reprogramming the remote control. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Use a small pin to press the reset button on the remote. 
  2. Use the manufacturer’s instructions to program the remote control again.

Check the Frequency Settings

If the batteries work, the power switches are on, and you’ve successfully programmed the remote to the receiver, but the ceiling fan still doesn’t work, then check the frequency settings. This requires some disassembly. The steps are as follows:

  1. Remove the canopy on the ceiling fan and check the DIP switch. 
  2. Ensure that the numbers match the DIP switch numbers on the universal remote. 
  3. If desired, you can try changing the DIP switch numbers using a ballpoint pen and gently sliding the sliders to create a new “code.” 
  4. Again, make a note of the code and change the code on the remote so that they align.
  5. Before putting the canopy back on, check for any loose wires and ensure all connections are secure.

If none of these measures work, reach out to the receiver/remote kit manufacturer for more instructions.

Ceiling Fans and Home Automation

Some newer ceiling fans have WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities. This allows the ceiling fans to connect to smart devices like Google Nest and Alexa. Some may even be controlled via a smartphone.

Hunter, a brand of ceiling fans, has smart ceiling fans that connect to smart home systems. Haiku is another brand that manufactures ceiling fans with WiFi capabilities.

With these technologically advanced ceiling fans, you can turn your phone into a universal remote. Simply download the app (recommended in the ceiling fan manufacturer’s instructions) and connect to the device via WiFi or Bluetooth.

From there, you can power your ceiling fan on and off. Some apps even allow users to schedule the fan based on household temperatures.


Home automation has changed the way that we live and will continue to do so in the future. With advancements in technology, we can now control home accessories, including ceiling fans, using remote controls, and even via our phones. 

Technology has even allowed us to take older household accessories and transform them into smart home devices using special adapters. Using a universal remote with a ceiling fan requires some basic tech skills—but having a fan that you can power with a remote, a phone, or a smart home device is worth the time it takes to install.



Matt moved to a location where the climate is hot and humid year round 8 years ago and got a bit obsessed with ceiling fans as an alternative or supplement to air-conditioning. He just wants the optimal ceiling fan and to get it to work the best for the specific situation. And now you can follow what he learned on

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