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Old 10-17-2011, 12:26 PM   #1
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GFCI with 2 light switches in same box

I searched the forums and couldn't find a question quite like mine. But I apologize if I just overlooked it. Also, I apologize for my nubile issue.

In my bathroom, I currently have 2 overhead lights with two switches wired in one box. Whoever previously wired the bathroom must have hated humanity because there are no outlets present. I would like to wire in a GFCI outlet/2-switch combo in the box in its stead to bring it up to code etc. I know that I need to wire in the outlet before the switches in series. However, pulling the switches out made me realize I am over my head.

The current set up is there is a red wire running to the positive jack on each switch and then to the lights. Then, there is a blue wire running from the neutral jacks at the bottom of each switch and then out of the box. Also, there are a few white wires thumb-screwed off doing nothing in the box.

I read about GFCI in the instruction booklet and DIY sites, but I just can't figure out which wire does what and where to connect. Also, when I read "DO NOT USE GFCI UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES OR RISK BLOWING UP YOUR ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD" in some instructions, I hesitate to guess. My main issue is that I lack the proper test equipment to find this out on my own, and would rather not drop the dough for it.

Worst case scenario is that I could wire in a standard outlet with the switches and put in a GFCI at the breaker downstairs - if that makes it easier.

Thanks in advance for whoever decides to slum it and help me out.


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Old 10-17-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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I think you mean you want to use a combination device with 2 single ole switches on one yoke. You need to identify which is the hot wire feed to the switches; it should be the one connected to both switches. I suggest you buy a cheap multimeter (under $20) and you will have for the future. Do not buy a non-contact voltage tester (they have their purpose but they can confuse you)..

Turn power off.

Add a pigtail to the bundled whites and connect to the silver line terminal on the GFCI. Connect the hot feed to the brass line terminal.

Connect the hot feed to the terminal on the combo switch that has a brass tab between the 2 terminals. Connect the other 2 wires to the other side of the switch.

Connect all the bare grounds together and to the switch and receptacle.

Turn power on and test.

If all this is Greek to you, I suggest you hire an electrician.


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Old 10-18-2011, 05:45 PM   #3
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With all the different wire colors. I suggest that you find out whether the power feeding the lights is in a junction box in the lights or in the box with the switches. If the power is feeding to the lights first then you will need a little rewiring before you get an outlet in that box. You say nothing about a ground so this don't even sound to be code. No ground no GFCI or outlet possible to plug in there.
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