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Old 10-18-2009, 04:41 PM   #1
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


I'm replacing a bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater in my house with Broan model. The bathroom wiring has it's own dedicated 20A circuit, and had an older 3-switch wall plate. I removed both the old unit and wall plate and was planning on replacing with new ones.

According to the new unit wiring and new switch, I need a 2-wire (plus ground) input running from subpanel to switch and 2-wire (plus ground) and 3-wire (plus ground) running from the switch to the unit to operate properly. I'm struggling with gaining access to the header board and drilling a new hole to run the needed extra wire. Apparently there was a remodel at some point and the existing wires are drilled through at an angle, I've not been able to run the new wire so far.

So, if the old unit only had two 2-wires running and operated properly, any ideas on how it was wired? I'm stumped and haven't had any luck searching online. Don't want to break down and hire someone just yet. I know I could do this if I could get the extra wire run, but just looking at options. Wish I had paid more attention to original wiring, but I thought I'd be re-doing anyway. Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 10-18-2009, 04:46 PM   #2
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


If the old unit only had 2 wires (switch leg and neutral) running to it then all three functions had to be either all off, or all on at the same time. Is that how it operated before?

There is no problem with wiring the fan and light portion to turn on together, but you will want that extra switch leg to let the heater run only when you want it.

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Old 10-18-2009, 04:50 PM   #3
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That's the weird thing, the old unit as was ble to operate the light, fan, heater independently using each switch. Even though is only had two 12/2 wires running to it....I want to keep that functionality. Which was why I was planning on running a 12/3 wire...but since I'm struggling I thought I'd rewire the way it was before. So it begs the question, how the heck was it working before?
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:04 PM   #4
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


Inside the electrical box attached to the old unit, how many wires were entering? Only 2 plus ground? And what switches controlled the other functions?
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:25 PM   #5
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


Redlos you still there?
This is intriguing. The only thing I can think of is that there is another cable running to that unit that you just haven't discovered yet. It should all become obvious when you trace the switches that were running the other operations.
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:34 PM   #6
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


Sorry, had to take care of the 4 yr old. No I'm 100% positive there were only two 12/2 wires running to the original unit. I have another heater/fan/light in the master bath, but can't get access to it (vaulted ceiling). I'll try to post pics of the older switch and unit, I seem to recall a lot of legs tied together inside the unit, is there any way it could have been controlled by the neutrals? Sorry but while I', overly handy, home electricity is not my strongsuit
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:40 PM   #7
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I hope they were not being controlled by the neutrals-that's dangerous.

Were the switches that controlled the various functions typical looking switches that were separated or were they part of a control where they were all connected together?

Yeah pics would help.
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:47 PM   #8
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About to post some pics
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:56 PM   #9
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Added photos to the Photos Section, trying to figure out how to post in thread...sorry, first time to site
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:57 PM   #10
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


Pics of switch
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring-switch_front.jpg   Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring-switch-back.jpg.jpg  
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:00 PM   #11
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


So if the "safe" wiring is to use a 12/2 & 12/3, I'll figure out a way to get the new wire thru the ceiling and wall and run as the Broan diagram shows. I was just stumped as to how it worked before...adm I also assume the other fan is wired the exact same way. If it's really unsafe, I'll have to address. Granted it's likely been operating as is for the past 15 years or so....
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:01 PM   #12
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bump...
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:03 PM   #13
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OK that's a start. Those black wires on the back appear to provide power from 1 individual switch to another. But I still think that inside the box that this switch came from, there should be 3 individual switch legs that all run up to the fan unit. Please post a pic of the inside of the box that switch came out of.
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:05 PM   #14
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by Redlos View Post
So if the "safe" wiring is to use a 12/2 & 12/3, I'll figure out a way to get the new wire thru the ceiling and wall and run as the Broan diagram shows. I was just stumped as to how it worked before...adm I also assume the other fan is wired the exact same way. If it's really unsafe, I'll have to address. Granted it's likely been operating as is for the past 15 years or so....
My thinking is that there is already another cable running to the box that you just haven't noticed. The end of which will be the extra switch legs in the box the switch came from. (probably just out of site and laying near the fan location)
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:07 PM   #15
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Bathroom light/exhaust fan/heater wiring


Redlos - you should consult an electrician.

Anyone besides rs....

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