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Old 05-07-2012, 10:56 PM   #1
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


We had one of those snowball projects come about. You know, the kind where you do one seemingly small task that turns into another, and another, and before you know it your bathroom is down to 2x4's with no sink, vanity, tub, or toilet. Hey, sometimes when you get into these older houses, starting over just makes more sense, right? We moved in around January so we're getting the ball rolling with some projects here.

With the walls bare, I decided to reroute the wiring a bit as it didn't make complete sense to me. First of all, the light switch for the room and fan was all but in the shower area. Very scary... didn't like that whatsoever. There was also an outlet/switch at the sink that wasn't GFCI, which of course was another "ehh" thing. I'll describe it best I can...

Original setup:

Light switch @ door - overhead light above shower.
Light switch @ door - overhead fan outside of shower.

Light switch @ sink - light above vanity.
Outlet 1x @ sink - on wall just above sink.

Desired setup:

Light switch in hallway outside bathroom door - overhead light AND vanity light together.
Light switch in hallway outside bathroom door - overhead fan outside of shower.

Outlet @ sink 2x GFCI


That way there's essentially no light switches within the bathroom, only outside the bathroom. Due to the placement of the closet and shower, you'd have to walk halfway into the rather small bathroom to turn on the light, or, put it where it was, which is almost in the shower stall. I dislike both ideas, so I want it outside. The light switch/outlet at the vanity was a really old one, where it had 1 outlet and 1 switch right on the same unit.

I was doing some reading and people were saying it's smart to daisy chain all bathroom/kitchen items off of a GFCI outlet so the entire strand is protected. So I ended up finding the "inbound" power line to that room and hooked it in to the GFCI outlet. Then, as a test, I took a line over to the light switch, combined with the overhead light above shower. It looked like this:

Inbound power line - GFCI outlet - light switch - overhead light above shower.

When the switch was in the off position, I threw the breaker, came upstairs, and the light was on...?? I turn the switch off, back on, no light. I go check the breaker and it was exactly in the middle point. I was able to replicate this several times.

So... am I on the right track? Is it smart to daisy chain the fan and two lights off of the GFCI outlet? Likewise, am I doing the correct pattern? The GFCI outlet has two "out" pairs on the back, which go to whatever is next on the path. I suppose what my end result, if my train of thought is correct, would be:



Inbound power line - GFCI outlet - port 1 out - light switch - overhead light + vanity lights
- port 2 out - light switch - overhead fan

Thanks ahead of time for any and all help!


Last edited by roasted; 05-07-2012 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:59 PM   #2
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


Has your panel been up graded?
Is all your wiring new romex with ground all the way back to the panel?

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Old 05-07-2012, 11:02 PM   #3
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Has your panel been up graded?
Is all your wiring new romex with ground all the way back to the panel?
The panel is 200 amp. We got a house inspection just prior to signing the contract on the house back in January. The inspector had good things to say about it.

The house was done in 2 prong outlets, but the wiring has a ground. Further reading suggested this was common for a short time in the 50s. Our house was built in '58.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:27 AM   #4
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


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Originally Posted by roasted View Post
When the switch was in the off position, I threw the breaker, came upstairs, and the light was on...?? I turn the switch off, back on, no light. I go check the breaker and it was exactly in the middle point. I was able to replicate this several times.
The switch was off, and you then turned the switch off?

I'm assuming that you meant:
1) You started with:
switch off, breaker off, light off

2) You turned the breaker on and found the light on:
switch off, breaker on, light on

3) You turned the switch on and the light turned off:
switch on, breaker unobserved, light off

4) You turned the switch off and the light stayed off. When you checked the breaker you found it tripped (middle position).
switch off, breaker tripped, light off


If the following is correct, I'm assuming that if you just turn the switch on and check the breaker you'll find that it's tripped. I'm pretty sure you miswired the light. Thus the light is always receiving power. And when you throw the switch, you're causing a short which causes your breaker to trip. The good news is the breaker in your panel works, and this has nothing to do with GFCI.

We can help you with tracking down the problem. But we'll need you to detail which wires come into each point (outlet, switch, light, junction box, etc.), and describe how you wired each of the individual conductors in the romex.

If my interpretation of you situation is not correct, then please provide the corrections and we can give you a better idea of what's going on.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:46 AM   #5
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


What colour the conductor ( wire ) you have at the switch ?? and where is the power source is comming to at what place at GFCI receptale or at the switch box or where else ?

As more infomation you can posted the more we can work it out and I think you may have one conductor crossed connectioned which you can trip the breaker especally if you have " switch loop " if so please tell us what colour at that switch so we will know the answer.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:55 AM   #6
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


We had a problem before our home rewire too much on one breaker. The breaker for the bathroom originally fed the lighting to kitchen washroom and one whole bedroom so made it lighting was on one breaker dedicated 20 amp circuit for the counter sink area of the bathroom and the bedroom ended up on a separate breaker. With newer dryers curling irons and all other new gadgets you realy need the 20 amp dedicated circuit. I think my wife's hair dryer is 1800 watts or some crazy number like that.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:18 AM   #7
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


Your post does not say, but since you are down to the studs you need to bring the wiring up to today's code requirements including the 20 amp circuit for the receptacle that is GFI protected.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:33 AM   #8
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


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Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Your post does not say, but since you are down to the studs you need to bring the wiring up to today's code requirements including the 20 amp circuit for the receptacle that is GFI protected.
That's the way I read it when I decided to run new wire to the bathroom GFI on one circuit and lighting on another that can be shared with lighting in other rooms
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:35 AM   #9
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


or you can put the entire bathroom on one 20A circuit dedicated to that bathroom only.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:50 AM   #10
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


Can the lighting in the bathroom be on that 20 amp circuit or does lighting have to be separate? I was thinking it had to be separate. I kinda like it separate though nice to know if a breaker trips the light fan will still work.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:09 AM   #11
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


If a 20A circuit serves one and only one bathroom, then it can contain both the lighting and receptacles.

If you have a 20A circuit providing power to multiple bathrooms, than it can only power receptacles. In this case, lighting must be on a different circuit.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:48 AM   #12
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Your post does not say, but since you are down to the studs you need to bring the wiring up to today's code requirements including the 20 amp circuit for the receptacle that is GFI protected.
The circuit already is 20 amp, and I have a GFCI outlet for this application. Unless there's something I'm missing, I should be in good shape.

I'm pretty sure I did something wrong, now that I think about it. I've been running on empty for too long trying to get this done. If I recall properly, in my semi coma state last night, at the light switch I had all whites connected and all blacks connected, right to the light switch. But that would create a continual circuit, preventing the light switch from doing its on/off job, no?

And yes, the light switch was OFF when I went downstairs. I turned the breaker on, came upstairs, and the light was on. I turned the switch off, the light went off. I turned the switch back on, no light. I went downstairs, and the breaker was half-tripped (dead center). This happened a 2nd time when I repeated the same steps as well. I think it's pretty obvious I goofed... I appreciate the insight guys. Love this forum.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


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Originally Posted by a_lost_shadow View Post
If a 20A circuit serves one and only one bathroom, then it can contain both the lighting and receptacles.

If you have a 20A circuit providing power to multiple bathrooms, than it can only power receptacles. In this case, lighting must be on a different circuit.
as an additional note, bathroom vent fans, heaters, etc. can also be powered on this same circuit. it is not limited to just lights and receptacles.

a word of caution though. any utilization equipment fastened in place in the bathroom cannot have greater than a 10 amp rating and be on the same bathroom circuit as the receptacles, lights, etc. not typically an issue for plain ol' vent fans but can become an issue if there is a fixed-mounted space heater or ceiling-mounted fan heater. larger models can easily exceed 10 amps and as such could not be on that 20 A bathroom circuit. they would need to be served from elsewhere.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


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as an additional note, bathroom vent fans, heaters, etc. can also be powered on this same circuit. it is not limited to just lights and receptacles.

a word of caution though. any utilization equipment fastened in place in the bathroom cannot have greater than a 10 amp rating and be on the same bathroom circuit as the receptacles, lights, etc. not typically an issue for plain ol' vent fans but can become an issue if there is a fixed-mounted space heater or ceiling-mounted fan heater. larger models can easily exceed 10 amps and as such could not be on that 20 A bathroom circuit. they would need to be served from elsewhere.
The only thing that will be on the entire circuit is a GFCI outlet around the sink (1 unit, 2 outlets total), an overhead exhaust fan, and 2 lights with light switches. That's it. That's literally all I can fit in there anyway. It's a pretty small bathroom.

I'm not adding anything to the existing circuit, I'm just trying to make it a little more practical and safer.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:03 PM   #15
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


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The only thing that will be on the entire circuit is a GFCI outlet around the sink (1 unit, 2 outlets total), an overhead exhaust fan, and 2 lights with light switches. That's it. That's literally all I can fit in there anyway. It's a pretty small bathroom.

I'm not adding anything to the existing circuit, I'm just trying to make it a little more practical and safer.
sounds like you are good to go!

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