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merlanvp 07-25-2010 08:00 PM

Bathroom fan replacement reveals...a mess
I have a 1969-built house in vic. Pittsburgh, PA. Some previous owner added a bath fan (w/o permit) on the same switched line as the bath lights and vented it into the attic. When I went to replace the noisy fan with a quieter one, I discovered a rats maze of electrical wiring...

My original intent was to install a new switch and a new line for a new quieter fan. As it is a new switch, the town said I needed a permit so I drew a plan and got a permit.

My problem is the mess I discovered in the attic when I got up there...causing me to consider replacement of the fan only and to cancel the permit.

Pushmatic panel in the basement, bathroom on second floor. Same branch circuit feeds bathroom, 1/2 of one bedroom's outlets, and another bedroom's outlets and lights. BUT, the branch circuit is a 15 amp circuit, and has a mix of Al 12/3, Al 10/3, and Cu 12/3 wiring. Additionally I discovered 3 hidden junction boxes in the attic with their access panels plastered over in the bathroom and one not grounded!

I have room for one 20 Amp GFCI pushmatic breaker in the panel (all other slots taken).

Should I:
1) replace the fan and call it quits in the bathroom and cancel that portion of the permit? This presumes that replacement of like item does not constitute a need for a permit.

2) install the switch with Cu 12/3 and rewire the fan to the new switch...and get the inspector to focus ONLY on my modifications?

3a) run a new 20 Amp GFCI branch circuit up the outside of the house from the basement to the attic for the bathroom and totally rewire the bathroom from the attic using Cu 12/3? I need to add another outlet anyway as we are planning on adding a second sink and the one outlet is too far from the second sink to meet the NEC 2008 code requirement. I could then totalyl strip out the contents of the hidden jboxes, wire to jboxes affixed to vertical 2x4s (so they don't get lost future insulation work).

3b) cut the links between the bedrooms and the bathroom, insert new jboxes affixed to vertical 2x4s (so they don't get lost future insulation work), and link the two bedrooms on that single 15 Amp circuit using the Ideal Al-Cu purple wirenuts and Cu 14/3. The bedrooms all appear to be using Al 12/3 from my cable tracing--hence the need for Al-Cu wire nuts.

3c) get the inspector to inspect all of 3a and 3b [will have to update my permit schematics]

4) do something else entirely?


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