Posted 11/15/2012 17:45 (#2698984 - in reply to #2694571) Subject: Re: ceiling light /dimmer switch ?
A regular dimmer switch simply reduces the voltage. That works with lights, but will burn out a motor (and maybe burn down the house).
A fan speed controller is a much more complex electronic device that reduces the amperage to the motor without reducing the voltage.
Avoiding this kind of innocent mistake is one of the reasons many electricians feel that DIY electrical work should be banned. Look carefully at the packaging of the switches at the store. These days you will find an indication as to whether this switch is for a light, for a halogen light, or for a ceiling fan, or in a dual unit, for both with two different sliders in one unit.
One caution. All of these light and fan controls require that there be more than two wires coming down from the fan to the wall switch location. Check that out before you put the money out for a switch that you may not be able to install, unless you are ready to run a new wire through the walls and ceiling.