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Old 03-18-2012, 11:29 PM   #1
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


I am stuck trying to figure out how to wire my bathroom ceiling fan/light combo with vanity light.

Had some very good reading here:
Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan

...but I am afraid my situation is a bit different.

Here is the situation:
  • The fan/light combo is replacing what used to be just a light
  • The line power is located at the fan/light (kind of inconvenient)
  • The bathroom fan/light can be wired separately
  • There is also a vanity light on the wall
  • There is existing 14/3 wire between the ceiling fan/light and the wall vanity light
  • There is existing 14/3 wire between the vanity and the switch
  • There was previously just a single switch
  • There was also an outlet located at the switch

I am aiming to get the vanity light and the ceiling light on one switch, and the fan on a second switch. Is this possible?

Thanks very much for any insight anyone can offer. And if I made the above info too convoluted, let me know and I'll make an attempt at a diagram

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Old 03-19-2012, 01:21 AM   #2
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


No. You need one more wire from vanity to ceiling (neutral) to just make it work.

Two more to be code compliant. ( a neutral at switch )

Can you get a 14-2 from ceiling to switch?

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Old 03-19-2012, 07:15 AM   #3
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by domh View Post
  • There is also a vanity light on the wall
  • There was previously just a single switch
  • There was also an outlet located at the switch


I am aiming to get the vanity light and the ceiling light on one switch, and the fan on a second switch. Is this possible?
Thanks very much for any insight anyone can offer. And if I made the above info too convoluted, let me know and I'll make an attempt at a diagram
When you say there was previously just a single switch, did this single switch control both the current vanity light on the wall and whatever light the new fan/light combo is replacing?

Do you want the outlet to remain at the switch box?

Do you want to use a Double Toggle Switch or two separate switches to control the lights and fan independently?

Either way like mentioned above you will need another 14-2 cable ran from the vanity wall fixture to the ceiling fixture. One wire will need to be utilized from this new cable to power the fan.
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches-dual.jpg  

Last edited by hammerlane; 03-19-2012 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Thanks jammin and hammerlane for your responses.

To answer your questions:

1) The previous switch had both the vanity light and the ceiling light on it.

2) Ideally, I would like to put an outlet there (planning on a GFCI)

3) Initially, I purchased a double toggle, but after hearing a few "complaints" I suppose you could say, I opted for two full switches, and now have a 3-gang box in place.

I have read about switching the neutral to hot and then pigtailing that to the switches, and then running a black from one and a red from the other, but as you say, it seems that would only work if I didn't have the vanity connected.

The other approach I might mention is the fact that on the opposite side of the same wall, there is an outlet running on a different breaker. Rather than try and run another wire between the vanity and the ceiling, might it be easier for me to just tap into that (and disconnect from the current main line)?

Thanks again guys for your responses.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:23 AM   #5
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by domh View Post

The other approach I might mention is the fact that on the opposite side of the same wall, there is an outlet running on a different breaker. Rather than try and run another wire between the vanity and the ceiling, might it be easier for me to just tap into that (and disconnect from the current main line)?
You say you already have LINE power coming into the ceiling fixture. WHy are you suggesting tapping into the outlet on the opposite wall? What would this provide?

Your problem is you have a 3 conductor cable leaving the ceiling fixture.
One conductor is providing line power to switch.
One conductor is the return load power from switch to existing ceiling light.
One conductor is providing neutral for the vanity wall light.

You need a 4th conductor to provide load power for the fan motor. Kind of like diagram below.
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches-2-switch-one-lite-lite-one-fan.jpg  

Last edited by hammerlane; 03-19-2012 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:58 PM   #6
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
You say you already have LINE power coming into the ceiling fixture. WHy are you suggesting tapping into the outlet on the opposite wall? What would this provide?
To be perfectly honest... I had been trying a few things and had a visiting in-law insist he could get it to work. I don't recall what he did, but he had it wired such that if you took the hot from the other line I mentioned and use the 14/3 running up the wall, he actually managed to get it to work, though I can't imagine that approach being anywhere near code-compliant. I assume he was feeding the neutrals back into the first breaker, and then keeping the switches for the remaining wires. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.

Regardless, I see now that if I were to switch the whole works to that other breaker, it would face basically the same problem but in the reverse at the vanity. I had no problem getting a switch to work on the light, but the fan, of course, was not being switched, and would just stay on (not surprising). Somewhere in the back of my head I was thinking that if I relocated the line from the light to the switch, I could get it to work.

It's been a long weeked...

Thanks for the excellent diagram. I think I can run another 14/2 from the attic and down the wall to the vanity with relative ease. This is looking like the ideal method.

My next question, in that case, is will I be able to keep the outlet there?

I should also mention the line continues beyond the switch/outlet to another light/switch located in the hallway (i.e. it draws power from the same line (14/2)). I assume that if I can't have the outlet located alongside the switches, then I definitely won't be able to continue the line into the hallway...

Again, thanks for all the help. I feel like I can't see the forest for the trees at this point...
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:11 AM   #7
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Just wanted to say thanks again for the diagram and insight. I got it to work last night, no sweat. Ran the 14/2 from the combo to the vanity light. And now works like a charm.

Just need to tackle the outlet now..
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:50 PM   #8
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by domh View Post

Just need to tackle the outlet now..
where are you placing an outlet??
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:15 PM   #9
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
where are you placing an outlet??
I was planning on having the outlet be a part of the same box as the two switches (it is a 3-gang box).
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by domh View Post
I was planning on having the outlet be a part of the same box as the two switches (it is a 3-gang box).

Is there a neutral wire in that 3-gang box?
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:31 PM   #11
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Unfortunately there is not. That is the reason for me thinking I'd have to tap into the other branch, unless I opted to run the extra wire from the vanity (which would make for a HUGE job as opposed to a relatively smaller job).

It was not too big a deal getting from the ceiling to the vanity, because it was done in the attic for the most part. But from the vanity to the switchbox would require rounding a framing corner..
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:31 PM   #12
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


In your first post you stated in part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by domh View Post
  • There is existing 14/3 wire between the vanity and the switch
  • There was previously just a single switch
  • There was also an outlet located at the switch

So How was there an outlet at the switch without a neutral?

Last edited by hammerlane; 03-20-2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:47 PM   #13
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
So How was there an outlet at the switch without a neutral?
The 14/3 that was previously there is now the carrier for the line power (thought that was what your diagram described -- hope I didn't misinterpret it. That was previously the neutral.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:24 AM   #14
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


If you were up in the attic to run new 14-2 over and down to the vanity,
why can't you go over and down to the switch box?

You don't have to 'round a framing corner'. go over the top
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:32 AM   #15
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Controlling a fan/light combo AND a vanity with two switches


Quote:
Originally Posted by domh View Post
The 14/3 that was previously there is now the carrier for the line power (thought that was what your diagram described -- hope I didn't misinterpret it. That was previously the neutral.
You're right. Well at least you know what needs to be done to get the outlet there. Run a cable from the vanity wall light to the 3-gang box. Or run a cable from the ceiling fan to the 3-gang


Last edited by hammerlane; 03-21-2012 at 05:35 AM.
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