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Old 06-16-2009, 05:31 PM   #1
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220v to 110v conversion


I have a question here. I pulled out an old exhaust fan/heat lamp combo unit from the bathroom ceiling. I want to install a fan/light combo. All the ducting work is easy enough, but the old unit was 220 and the new is 110. I know the red and black are both hot, white is neutral, ground is ground, etc. Can I use the black to run the light and the red to run the fan, and pigtail the white to cover both? Running new wiring is not an option, unless I want to trench the walls, and I don't want to. So my basic question is, can a 220 be split into two 110 lines?

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Old 06-16-2009, 05:40 PM   #2
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220v to 110v conversion


Yes you can do that. Just make sure its two single pole breakers

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Old 06-16-2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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220v to 110v conversion


Actually, by sharing the neutral, you're creating a multiwire branch circuit, so you'd want to keep it on the double-pole breaker.
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:51 PM   #4
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220v to 110v conversion


Yes I agree if your going to use a GFCI or an Arch fault breaker.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:22 PM   #5
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220v to 110v conversion


Are you sure the old unit was 220v ? It's just that I have never seen a light/fan unit that was 220v, but it could be. Could it be that you had a light/fan unit that had the light fed from one 110v breaker in the panel and on one switch say with the red wire, and the fan fed from a different 110v breaker in the panel and on a separate switch say with the black wire and they were on separate breakers and bus bars in the panel, and they shared a common neutral and ground, therefore when you checked the red/black wires you would be reading 220 volts. I believe I would double check all the way back to the panel, and check for any labels on the old light/fan unit for the voltage on this one. I've wired light/fan combos this way so they would each be on their own respective switch and fed from opposite bus bars, yet each application (light/fan) would only be 110 volt. Good Luck, David
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:18 PM   #6
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220v to 110v conversion


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Could it be that you had a light/fan unit that had the light fed from one 110v breaker in the panel and on one switch say with the red wire, and the fan fed from a different 110v breaker in the panel and on a separate switch say with the black wire
Agreed, good chance Thurman is right. Definitely verify this before wiring up the new fixture.

Or, just use one circuit. If the new fixture isn't a heat lamp, it isn't going to draw much.

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Actually, by sharing the neutral, you're creating a multiwire branch circuit, so you'd want to keep it on the double-pole breaker.
Though if it was indeed a 240V fixture it would already be on a double pole breaker (or hopefully so).

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Yes I agree if your going to use a GFCI or an Arch fault breaker.
Has nothing to do with AFCI or GFCI. A MWBC should be on a double-pole breaker. It is required under the 2008 NEC, and is just a good idea anyhow.

Last edited by ScottR; 06-16-2009 at 07:33 PM. Reason: Added bold to the last sentence for dSilanskas' benefit.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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220v to 110v conversion


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and is just a good idea anyhow.
To each there own
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:28 PM   #8
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220v to 110v conversion


Thurman......It wasn't a fan and light ....it was a fan and heat.

If the 120/240 volt circuit only supplied the old fan/ heat lamp which would almost be certain, i'm not sure why you would want to have a double pole breaker involved to supply a 120 volt light/ fan combo. Your talking less than 5 amps total.

From the sound of it you have a 3 conductor cable coming from the panel to a switchbox in the bath, something like 12/3G NM-b would be common. Simply use one single pole breaker and abandon one hot wire (cap it at the panel and at the switch box) and use the neutral and ground as is.

At the switchbox your 3 conductor cable should continue to the fixture. At the switchbox use both hot wires in the cable going to the fixture and two single pole switches or a combo switch (2 switches on a single yoke). Connect the constant hot from the breaker to the combo switch or use pigtails if two switches. Leave the neutral alone and connect all grounds properly. Connect the two switchleg hots to the switches or combo switch.

Something like this.....
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220v to 110v conversion-bath-fan-1.jpg  
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Last edited by Stubbie; 06-16-2009 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:33 PM   #9
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220v to 110v conversion


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Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
Yes I agree if your going to use a GFCI or an Arch fault breaker.

Sorry I'm not following
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:40 PM   #10
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220v to 110v conversion


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Originally Posted by rddrappo View Post
I have a question here. I pulled out an old exhaust fan/heat lamp combo unit from the bathroom ceiling. I want to install a fan/light combo. All the ducting work is easy enough, but the old unit was 220 and the new is 110. I know the red and black are both hot, white is neutral, ground is ground, etc. Can I use the black to run the light and the red to run the fan, and pigtail the white to cover both? Running new wiring is not an option, unless I want to trench the walls, and I don't want to. So my basic question is, can a 220 be split into two 110 lines?
Are the fan and heat lamp separately switched? It is highly unlikely that this is a 220V circuit. Take a meter, put one lead on the red, one on the black. Select "AC Voltage." If it reads 240V then it is a 240V. Any other reading and it isn't. Probably, it's 120V and split somewhere and run to the heat lamp/fan. 120V is all there is, but somewhere a red and black is connected to a black, and then each goes through a separate switch and on to the fan or lamp. The neutral serves both, and since the total amperage is going through the same breaker, there is no problem with overloading the neutral. This is the way a ceiling fan with a light is wired. 12-2 come in, gets split with 12-3, and runs to the fan/light through separate switches using only one neutral.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:05 PM   #11
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220v to 110v conversion


Stubbie-you may kick my buttocks, just once. I did over read that one. Forgive my 60 year old bifocaled eyes, please. But, I thought I had a good idea. OH, Stubs, I'm retired GM/UAW skill trades.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:08 PM   #12
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220v to 110v conversion


I will agree that this very well may be a 120 volt circuit ( I made the assumption OP new what 240 volts was.....) There are a few 120/240 volt fan/heat lamp combinations out there but newer and many older units are almost always 120 volt and around 12 amps.

Regardless... the diagram is accurate though he may not have the 3 conductor from panel to switchbox. But I think he can figure it out. A few more questions probably should have been asked for clarification. Looks like they have been asked so lets see what he has....l
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:09 PM   #13
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220v to 110v conversion


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Stubbie-you may kick my buttocks, just once. I did over read that one. Forgive my 60 year old bifocaled eyes, please. But, I thought I had a good idea. OH, Stubs, I'm retired GM/UAW skill trades.

Actually I think you're going to end up correct in that it is 120 volts.....
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:52 PM   #14
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220v to 110v conversion


Ok, after completely dismantling everything, it turns out it's a 220 wire running as 110. The red wire is not hot and just coiled up behind the switches. Forgive me if my explanations are not proper, but I'm a tilesetter trying to help a friend with some wiring. Anyway, if I ignore the red wire altogether, what kind of breaker should it be on? Maybe it's been fine all this time, but I'm going to make sure it's proper. Tomorrow I will trace the wire back to the panel and see if it's a double or single pole, and what amperage it's rated for. Can someone tell me what I want it to be? Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:58 PM   #15
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220v to 110v conversion


I would think a 20 amp single pole breaker would be more than enough if it's a dedicated circuit. Someone please double check me though because I don't have a lot of experience with fan/light combo's.

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