Is It Safe To Remove The Wattage Limiter In A Ceiling Fan?

Not only is it safe to remove a wattage limiter from your ceiling fan, but it’s also almost recommended if you are experiencing trouble concerning the lights connected to your fan. There is nothing as irritating as a light that flickers or an element that decides when to put you and your family in the dark. As long as you do not forget to turn off the electrical current to the ceiling fan before you start working on it, then all should be well.

It is safe to remove the wattage limiter from your ceiling fan. Just be sure to turn off the electricity before you remove it. The Department of Energy developed wattage limiters to limit the wattage used by a ceiling fan. Not all limiters work correctly and need to be removed.

The DOE (Department of Energy), in their Energy Policy Act of 2005, began the process of limiting the amount of wattage that your ceiling fan could use. The limit was set on a maximum of 190 watts for the bulbs in the light sockets. The DOE made the new ruling with the intent of saving energy. However, many consumers found the wattage limiters to be faulty. This article will explain how to safely remove a wattage limiter and highlight some of the legislation passed regarding your ceiling fan.

Why A Wattage Limiter In The First Place?

Following the instruction from the DOE, these limiters were added to all purchased electric ceiling fans, as per the Energy Policy Act of 2005. After revising this act, the instruction was that any ceiling fan manufactured on or after 2007 had to adhere to the following:

  • Speed controls had to be adjustable.
  • Fan speed controls had to be separate.
  • Fan’s action had to be reversible.
  • It is sold with a packaged bulb for each socket.
  • Energy Star Program requirements had to be met.

The DEO indicated on 11 January 2007, a final rule, that ceiling fan manufacturers were allowed to choose to follow one of several design pathways to ensure that their light kits are not capable of operating above 190-watts. Some manufacturers have implemented a circuit or fuse in their designs to prevent their product from working when you use too many watts.

After 2009, there was no more mention of wattage limiters, only that the lighting kit had to be set that it could not operate when passing the 190-watt limit. 

Why Are People Removing Their Wattage Limiters?

As you read through the manufacturer’s instruction manual, it will indicate that your wattage limit is 190-watt for the bulbs that you can use in the light sockets. The limiter will shut down the lights if you go over the maximum wattage allowed for your appliance.

Unfortunately, although the intentions of the DEO were probably good, the wattage limiters of many a ceiling fan started to cause the following:

  • Flickering/dim lights even when below the recommended wattage.
  • Stop the lights from working even when below recommended wattage.

Some consumers have also found that the wattage limiter’s cut-out wattage was set to less than the maximum of 190-watts. In a nutshell, people were not happy with this part of their ceiling fan and started removing them. 

How To Safely Remove The Wattage Limiter In Your Ceiling Fan?

Right, so you are finally going to do something about the blinky lights and too often ‘hello-darkness-my-old-friend’ moments that are usually orchestrated by your ceiling fan and its wattage limiter. Let us guide you in easy steps in how to remove this unwanted and unreliable box of malfunction.

What You Will Need:

  • Cordless Screwdriver
  • Needle-nose Plyers
  • Small Ladder

Step 1

  • With any electrical job, the most critical step is to turn off the electricity of the unit you are about to work on. 
  • If you are unsure of how to turn off the individual electric current to your ceiling fan, instead turn off your whole house’s electricity.

Step 2

  • Use the small ladder to comfortably reach the wiring box of the lighting unit on your ceiling fan.
  • Take the cordless screwdriver and remove the screws and open the lighting unit.

Step 3

  • Look for any blue and red wiring with either wire caps or screw caps attached to them.
  • Remove these caps.
  • Detach the wattage limiter (Grey or black box).

Step 4

  • Use the cordless screwdriver for popping the tabs on the wattage limiter box (typically three tabs).
  • Remove the black wire.

Step 5

  • Take the needle-nose pliers and proceed to strip the casing from the black wire.
  • Twist the black and blue wires together.
  • Use the wire/screw cap and attach the black wire to the blue wire.

Step 6

  • If you are faced with a clamping cap, use the inside of the pliers to clamp the cap shut.
  • If you have screw caps, proceed to screw the cap in a twisting motion to secure the wires.
  • Make sure that there are no visible bare wires.

Step 7

  • Attach the white wires together in the same way as detailed above in step 6.
  • Again, make sure that there a no visible bare wires and that all wires are capped.

Step 8

  • Test the lights to confirm that they are working perfectly.
  • Replace the housing onto the wiring box and screw it tightly.

The colors of the wires inside the wiring box may vary in color. Make sure to research your specific ceiling fan unit before taking out the wattage limiter.

If your lights are still not behaving in the way that they should after you have removed the wattage limiter, try the following:

  • Install new bulbs that are below the 190-watt threshold (switch to LED lights).
  • Make sure to screw them into the sockets firmly and that they are not moving around.

If the problem persists, it may be time to get a professional involved and sort out the electrical issues once and for all.


As you could see in the steps mentioned above, it’s easy and safe to remove the wattage limiter, and there is no law in place stating that you may not remove it. Ceiling fans that are manufactured today have circuits or fuses installed to monitor watt usage. 

Wattage limiters seem to be more of an inconvenience than of help if you consider how many people take theirs out. If there is no light at the end of the tunnel, give a local professional a shout.

Charles John

Experienced HVAC technician with 8 years of experience in the industry. Capable of handling all sorts of heating and cooling equipment as well as proficient in operational management, construction-related techniques such as preventative maintenance, electrical troubleshooting and AutoCAD

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