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Old 08-30-2012, 05:38 AM   #1
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


So my home came with a central exhaust fan system for the bathrooms which runs 24/7. There are currently no switches to turn it on or off, just a rheostat switch to control its speed near it in the furnace room. I would like to wire a timer switch in each bathroom for it along with a 24hour scheduled timer to mount near the fan so that I can have it run periodically. I'm fairly comfortable on electrical work but this is slightly over my head on how to wire it up. I drew up a rough schematic which I'll attach, please tell me if this would even work or if it would be safe. I planned on using 14/2 and 14/3 wire for the project... Thanks a bunch!

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Old 08-30-2012, 06:16 AM   #2
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


You dont need neutrals at the switchs,
A three way switch arrangement is best,
The timer can be put in parallel to the three way switch arrangement.
Your drawing is confusing.
Are you familiar with three way switching ?

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Old 08-30-2012, 06:24 AM   #3
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


Yeah I'm familiar with three way switching but the problem with my setup if I were to do that is that the fan is nearly silent, so it would be difficult to know if you should flip the switch to turn it on or not. I figured I would install timers so everything shuts down on their own and you know that the fan is in fact running when you push the button on the wall. Sorry about the drawing, do you think you are able to get the idea of it? Am I OK having the switched hot leads hooked up like they are where more than one will be active at times?
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:49 AM   #4
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


Hint: Do not show the ground wires when drawing a diagram. (Unless the purpose of the diagram is to show ground connections and grounding conductors.) Ground wires are all connected together wherever they come together (in a box or wherever).

Nowadays (2011 National Electric Code) a neutral needs to be run to every box including switch boxes. It does not have to be connected to anything at the destination, if not needed yet for a timer or a dimmer or a continuation to another box from there.

Question: When the rheostat is on low, do you want all switches to connect low power to the fan or all the switches except the one next to the rheostat to still apply full power to the fan?
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-30-2012 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:50 PM   #5
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by ebnub View Post
Yeah I'm familiar with three way switching but the problem with my setup if I were to do that is that the fan is nearly silent, so it would be difficult to know if you should flip the switch to turn it on or not. I figured I would install timers so everything shuts down on their own and you know that the fan is in fact running when you push the button on the wall. Sorry about the drawing, do you think you are able to get the idea of it? Am I OK having the switched hot leads hooked up like they are where more than one will be active at times?

If you do have a neutral at each switch,
you could have a indicator lamp at each switch,
these lights would tell at a glance if it is on or off !
easy as !

This is what we use in australia,
You could put up a dual gang plate,
with a switch mechinism and a power indicator.



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Last edited by dmxtothemax; 08-30-2012 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:47 PM   #6
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


I would reccomend low voltage control. It would ultimately mean cheaper wire. You could use a simple push switch to turn on a time delay relay. One button in each bath.

You could use simple doorbell wire
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


This is over complicated, I would install a timer in each bathroom, get rid of the fan speed control, and be done with this nonsense... you walk into the bathroom turn the bath fan on and you walk out...

I would use a 15,30,45,60 min timer...
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:05 PM   #8
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


If you utilize timers like that, you certainly need a neutral at each location. This is one of the reasons why the newer editions of the Code requires the presence of a neutral wire at each wall switch location.

You will need a 3-wire cable (w/ground) from each timer switch to the central fan.

Simply wire all the blacks, reds, and whites together!

The black wires are the hot feed
The red wires are the fan feed -- connect the black fan lead to this bunch.
The whites are neutral
etc.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:24 AM   #9
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
This is over complicated, I would install a timer in each bathroom, get rid of the fan speed control, and be done with this nonsense... you walk into the bathroom turn the bath fan on and you walk out...

I would use a 15,30,45,60 min timer...
The electronic verison is not bad at all and myself I am pretty much old school guy just use the wind up timer and wired both timer in parallel set up so either timer is on the fan stay on until one of the two or both are done with timeing and switch off then the fan stay off.

Merci,
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:40 AM   #10
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


That timer is pretty much what I'm going to be doing stickboy! Here's a new diagram that I think makes more sense. All I really am looking for from you guys is reassurance that my diagram would be a safe circuit to put together. Like I think I said before, I'm still learning

I'm running 14/3 to the timers and 14/2 to the regular switches. The regular switches will be in gang boxes with normal wall outlets.. would I be safe using the neutral from those outlets in the future if I decide to put timers in there as well? The neutral on those outlets is off a different breaker than the fan circuit.

OK and here's the new diagram:
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:02 AM   #11
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by ebnub View Post
That timer is pretty much what I'm going to be doing stickboy! Here's a new diagram that I think makes more sense. All I really am looking for from you guys is reassurance that my diagram would be a safe circuit to put together. Like I think I said before, I'm still learning

I'm running 14/3 to the timers and 14/2 to the regular switches. The regular switches will be in gang boxes with normal wall outlets.. would I be safe using the neutral from those outlets in the future if I decide to put timers in there as well? The neutral on those outlets is off a different breaker than the fan circuit.

OK and here's the new diagram:
just let the fan run 24/7.... it probably wont cost much more..... What was the intention of the 24-hour daily timer? just to re-circ air? Your diagram will work, and I like the wire nuts you drew in.

Last edited by stickboy1375; 08-31-2012 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:24 AM   #12
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


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just let the fan run 24/7.... it probably wont cost much more..... What was the intention of the 24-hour daily timer? just to re-circ air? Your diagram will work, and I like the wire nuts you drew in.

No the fan won't cost much to run 24/7 at 20 watts, but what it is doing is sucking out all the conditioned air. On hot days if I let it run 24/7 my upstairs level will be slightly humid because of it. If I unplug it the humidity dissipates within an hour. I felt the exhaust from the fan yesterday and it felt ice cold as I stood in the 90F heat and with good force too.

Yeah I figured I could set the 24 hour timer to be on for a couple hours here and there to allow the fan to do what the builder intended by having it as a passive air exchanger of sorts. Maybe in the morning after we leave the house and later in the evening after dinner or so. And they're happy wire nuts my friend, happy ones. Happy.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:24 AM   #13
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


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just let the fan run 24/7.... it probably wont cost much more.....
In terms of running the fan, no. But if it is exhausting conditioned air to the outside 24/7, then it will increase his heating/cooling bills.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:26 AM   #14
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


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Originally Posted by ebnub View Post
No the fan won't cost much to run 24/7 at 20 watts, but what it is doing is sucking out all the conditioned air. On hot days if I let it run 24/7 my upstairs level will be slightly humid because of it. If I unplug it the humidity dissipates within an hour. I felt the exhaust from the fan yesterday and it felt ice cold as I stood in the 90F heat and with good force too.

Yeah I figured I could set the 24 hour timer to be on for a couple hours here and there to allow the fan to do what the builder intended by having it as a passive air exchanger of sorts. Maybe in the morning after we leave the house and later in the evening after dinner or so. And they're happy wire nuts my friend, happy ones. Happy.
Gotcha!
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:31 AM   #15
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Attempting to wire central exhaust fan to multiple switches


So in the future if I decide to swap those push button timers where the switches are can I use the neutral wire off the adjacent outlets? If I did this the neutral wire would be coming off a completely different breaker than the fan circuit.

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