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Old 12-07-2010, 12:14 PM   #1
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GFCI Question


I am installing a bathroom exhaust fan above the shower, so it will need to be on a GFCI circuit. The simplest circuit for me to use is a 20 amp line that currently goes to a single outlet for a treadmill. If I use that circuit, I could either put a GFCI breaker in the panel and run the new circuit from a junction box in the basement, or I could install a GFCI outlet in that new junction box and connect the fan to the load of the outlet, leaving the treadmill off of the GFCI circuit.

I'm leaning toward option #2, because: a) it is cheaper, and b) I'm afraid that if the treadmill is on the GFCI circuit it will trip when it starts up.

Does that make sense?

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:21 PM   #2
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Is there already a switch on the wall for the exhaust fan?

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Old 12-07-2010, 01:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by brric View Post
Is there already a switch on the wall for the exhaust fan?
No, I plan to run a switch leg from the basement. But now that I've drawn it out, I see that I have another question. From what I've read, I think the answer to my first question is to keep the treadmill off of the GFCI circuit. So I'll have a junction box in the basement from which a 3 wire cable will run to the timer/switch (it requires a neutral wire), and a 2 wire cable will run to the fan. Do I connect the circuit first to the GFCI and feed the switch off of the load side, or do I go to the switch first and connect the return from the switch to the line side of the GFCI and the fan to the load?

If that doesn't make sense, I can try to draw a diagram.

Last edited by Steve in CT; 12-07-2010 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:44 PM   #4
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I would send the power to the GFCI and take the load from there to the switch.
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:53 PM   #5
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Have you already installed the fan? My bath fan that I installed in the shower trips the gfci about 1/3 of the time, when shutting the fan OFF. You may want to put the fan outside of the shower to avoid this nuisance.
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by brric View Post
I would send the power to the GFCI and take the load from there to the switch.
Just so I'm clear on that: the hot and neutral wires off the load side of the GFCI would go to the switch, the return would go the fan along with a neutral off the load side of the GFCI.

Did I get that right?
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
Have you already installed the fan? My bath fan that I installed in the shower trips the gfci about 1/3 of the time, when shutting the fan OFF. You may want to put the fan outside of the shower to avoid this nuisance.
Have you replaced the GFCI? Maybe it's just defective.

My only other option for a location would have the fan venting under the deck that is off an upstairs bedroom. So I'm hoping that I don't have that problem. What make/model GFCI do you have? (I'll try to avoid it).
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in CT View Post
Just so I'm clear on that: the hot and neutral wires off the load side of the GFCI would go to the switch, the return would go the fan along with a neutral off the load side of the GFCI.

Did I get that right?
I don't know what you mean by return. A hot, a neutral and a ground go from the GFCI to the switch, the hot and neutral leaving the load side of the GFCI. At the switch, the hot from the GFCI load is connected to one switch terminal. The other switch terminal takes the hot to the fan. The white neutrals are wire-nutted together at the switch box and carried on to the fan as are the grounding conductors.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by brric View Post
I don't know what you mean by return. A hot, a neutral and a ground go from the GFCI to the switch, the hot and neutral leaving the load side of the GFCI. At the switch, the hot from the GFCI load is connected to one switch terminal. The other switch terminal takes the hot to the fan. The white neutrals are wire-nutted together at the switch box and carried on to the fan as are the grounding conductors.
Because I will be connecting the switch to the fan via a junction box in the basement, the "return" was the third wire in the 3 wire cable between that junction box and the switch. It is the switched hot wire that will go to the fan. Similarly I would join the 2 neutrals on the load side of the GFCI instead of in the switch box. I've taken a shot at diagramming it.

GFCI Question-gfci-fan.jpg

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Last edited by Steve in CT; 12-07-2010 at 05:48 PM.
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