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Old 12-08-2007, 10:19 PM   #1
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Bathroom problem

I realize the title of this post doesn't sound like much of an electrical problem, but anyways...I have done very basic electric work in the past and I am not very up to speed on the terminology. I simply wanted to change the color of my outlet in the bathroom, which I have done in the past but I can't get the new or old one to work the way it did. I have a single switch along side a Leviton GFCI outlet. The vanity light and the bathroom fan operated on the same switch. Here's where it get's tricky for me (please excuse my description). The wiring that appears to come from the main box are a white wire and a red wire. The red wire is stripped in the middle (not cut) and bent around a gold screw on the right side of the light switch if you're looking at it. That same wire continues on to the outlet next to it and goes into the side that reads "hot wire" on the bottom right side. There is an orange wire that is coming from the line that seems to be going to the vanity light, which is connected to the black screw on the light switch. There is another red wire that comes from a line that I can't determine where it leads unless I tear off all of the drywall. This red wire goes into the same connection as the other red wire which is stripped in the middle and is wrapped around the gold screw on the light switch. The white wire that leads to the vanity is connected to the GFCI outlet in the terminal reading "white wire". there is another white wire on the same side on the bottom of this outlet which is nutted together with all of the other white wires. The wiring at the vanity light hasn't changed so I odn't think there's a need for me to give a terrible explanation of that wiring situation. Does this make any sense? This is the outlet that worked in the past, but when reconnected, doesn't. Any help is greatly appreciated. Let me know if clarification is needed.



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Old 12-09-2007, 05:54 AM   #2
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Where are you located?


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Old 12-09-2007, 08:26 AM   #3
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makes perfect sense.
The red wire with the strip in the middle is power in. It is feeding power to the switch and the receptacle. The other red wire is power out to some other device. The orange wire is switched power to you light or what ever the switch used to control.
The white wires are neutral.
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:27 AM   #4
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Are you replacing the switch and the receptacle? Is this the only switch that controls the light? I ask that because single pole switches do not have a balck and gold screw, but 3-ways do. Is it possible you have the incorrect switch?

Make sure the connections to the GFCI receptacle are on the LINE side not the LOAD side. An incorrectly wired GFCI will not work.
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:45 AM   #5
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Are you sure you connected everything back the way it was?

Did you press the GFCI reset button and then the test button to see if the GFCI itself works? Sometimes the reset button has to be pushed in quite a ways to catch.

Are all the wires held in place, directly or indirectly, by screws or screw clamps? Wires that are pushed into the backs of switches or receptacles and supposedly stick in place are responsible for many loose connections in homes. You will want to gently undo those wires and reattach them using the screw terminals. You may need some six inch lengths of wire (pigtails) of matching colors and some extra wire nuts to combine wires since each screw can hold only one wire.

A GFCI receptacle has four terminals, two dark and two light. One dark-light pair is for the incoming power feed (line) and the other is for additional parts of the circuit also to be protected by the GFCI (load). Can you better describe how your wires were connected and which terminals if any were unused?

You mention that your switch has a dark screw and a light screw. For simple (non-three-way) light/fan control, if there is a second light screw on the other side, the latter should be unused namely not used to connect a second wire in lieu of pigtails.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-09-2007 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:55 AM   #6
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Where they have conduit.


EDIT: Just saw Allans post so will add this for more information

You most likely have your gfci wired incorrectly, did you pay attention to the gfci line and load connections? Leviton Smartlock gfci's will not work if wired to the load side terminals with the incoming power wire. My guess is you have your power (red) coming from the switch hooked to the load terminal instead of the line terminal.

Last edited by Stubbie; 12-09-2007 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:04 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot.

This is a great help to me. I have not had a chance to get in there and play around with the wires yet this morning, but it sounds to me like I might need to go the store today and get some additional wires (pigtails?) I am from the Chicago area to answer the question about location. I have only one switch that controls both the fan and the vanity light. I only disconnected the outlet & this is when the problem occurred so I think it makes sense to start there with all of these suggestions. Thanks again & I will make sure to let you know if it worked.


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