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Old 05-08-2012, 07:08 PM   #16
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


Well, it seems as if I'm an idiot. I came home today after work and looked at what I had done last night in my tired coma. It turns out I had hooked all whites together and taken them to one screw on the light switch, and all blacks together and taken them to the other screw. Uh...

So I ended up capping all whites together, and taking the 2 blacks and putting them on each screw of the light switch. Suddenly, everything works!

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Old 05-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #17
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


Yeah, tired and electrical don't mix well. Glad to hear you got it working.

I do have one final question. If you're placing the light switch outside the bathroom, you're not planning on having kids, right?
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:27 PM   #18
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Yeah, tired and electrical don't mix well. Glad to hear you got it working.

I do have one final question. If you're placing the light switch outside the bathroom, you're not planning on having kids, right?
Haha, believe me, the thought process came up. I'd rather it be safe and annoying versus it being unsafe and/or insanely inconvenient. I should snap a picture for you guys to see, but when you walk in the bathroom, the closet is directly on the left. Further beyond that is duct work, requiring a light switch to be even further away, literally about 60-70% into the room. On the right, it's ALL shower, then sink, so that's an instant no go. Putting it on the outside just made more sense from a safety standpoint, so I ran with it.

I do have one question though that I'm having trouble piecing together. The hallway light right outside the bathroom is wired into the actual bathroom circuit. I'm a little confused over how this light is working... In the switch I just put in there's a pair of romex going to it. Whites are nutted together, and blacks are on screw 1 and screw 2 of the light switch. Grounds are wrapped together and grounded at the switch. Regardless on how this light switch is set (on or off), the switch outside the room that controls the hallway light is what actually turns that hallway light on or off. I'm just a little confused, as I expected the bathroom light to HAVE to be on for the hallway light switch to function... As I think about this now, I'm sure this is confusing... figured I'd try, though!

EDIT - New Question. I hooked up the GFCI outlet tonight with intention of hooking it up to the light switches as well for added protection. However, I ran into a minor issue. Here's the wiring synopsis... The GFCI outlet is the kind where you stick the straight copper in and clamp it down with the screw. It's not the "hook" kind like you see with most outlets and light switches. On the back, it has a section for the wire coming from the breaker as well as the outbound load going to additional receptacles. There are spots for 2 black, and 2 white. This told me, oh, perfect, switch 1 (lights) and switch 2 (fan) for bathroom. Bingo bango, done. The problem is, when I hook up both, it continually sets the GFCI outlet in "reset" mode. It doesn't trip the breaker. The outlet itself just doesn't like it. Basic idea:

A = Light switch for lights.
B = Light switch for fan.

GFCI Outlet - Light switch A = works great.
GFCI Outlet - Light switch A and B = doesn't work.

Even if I switch what "ports" the A and B are in, doesn't matter. I did however test the setup with ONLY the light switch A in both ports, and it worked fine. Does anybody have any idea?

Last edited by roasted; 05-08-2012 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:14 PM   #19
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Some further research suggested that GFCI outlets tend to act normal if you put too many things on them, with some people citing two items alone can really make them act strange, which is likely why I'm having some mixed results with running the lights and fan off of it. On top of that, the general concensus on what I read was not to run anything off a GFCI outlet except regular outlets.

The idea is now this. Instead of the main inline cable coming in and hitting the GFCI outlet and branching the lights/fan off of the GFCI, to just add a junction box there. Power in, hits junction box, then one line goes to GFCI, one line to lights, one line to fan. That way each thing is on its own leg even though it's still on the same circuit.

Just to recap, I'm not adding anything additional to the circuit. This is all the same stuff as before, so it shouldn't be any heavier of a load than what the room originally had. If anything, due to the efficiency of 2012 lights/fans versus 1958 lights/fans, it might be a bit lighter.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:30 PM   #20
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How are you running the switch legs thru the GFI? Are you putting the actual switch legs to the GFI, or are you coming off the load side of the GFI to power the switches?

If you want to have the entire bathroom on the GFI, there is nothing wrong with that.

Put the wires from the breaker to the line side of the GFI. Then come off the load side of the GFI going to the switch box. Wirenut all the neutrals together in the switch box. Pigtail the power in the switch box [from the GFI] to each switch and put the switch legs [to the light and to the fan] to the other terminal on the switch.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:43 PM   #21
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How are you running the switch legs thru the GFI? Are you putting the actual switch legs to the GFI, or are you coming off the load side of the GFI to power the switches?

If you want to have the entire bathroom on the GFI, there is nothing wrong with that.

Put the wires from the breaker to the line side of the GFI. Then come off the load side of the GFI going to the switch box. Wirenut all the neutrals together in the switch box. Pigtail the power in the switch box [from the GFI] to each switch and put the switch legs [to the light and to the fan] to the other terminal on the switch.
Breaker - Line side of GFCI

Then on load side, there's two pairs of wire "ports". Two black, two white. I put the line from the lights in one, and the line from the blacks in the other.

Instead of hooking them in, am I supposed to wire cap the whites together and just hook the blacks into the GFCI?

All I know is fan + lights on GFCI, no go. Just lights on GFCI? Worked fine.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:45 PM   #22
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If you put the wires that directly came from either the fan or the light, those wouldn't be controlled by a switch. The only way to turn them off would be to trip the GFI.


Gimme a sec to whip up a diagram.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:51 PM   #23
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If you put the wires that directly came from either the fan or the light, those wouldn't be controlled by a switch. The only way to turn them off would be to trip the GFI.


Gimme a sec to whip up a diagram.
I do have a switch in the mix. I have a line going from the light to the switch. Whites are capped together, blacks are capped and on screw A. Another line is going from GFCI line out to light switch. White is capped along with the other 2 whites and the black is on screw B.

It works perfectly with the switch. BUT, once I add the fan on the back of the GFCI line out, no go. The GFCI just sits in a constant trip mode.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:00 PM   #24
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Why are you putting the wire from the fan to the GFI? It should go to a switch.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:06 PM   #25
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Why are you putting the wire from the fan to the GFI? It should go to a switch.
The fan is the exact same as the lights. Each one has its own switch.

Inbound power line to room - GFCI load - GFCI line 1 - switch - light
Inbound power line to room - GFCI load - GFCI line 2 - switch - fan

With lights: Whites are capped, blacks from lights are on screw A, black from GFCI line 1 on screw B.

With fan: Whites are capped, black from fan on screw A, black from GFCI line 2 on screw B.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:09 PM   #26
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Rerouting Bathroom Wiring


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Haha, believe me, the thought process came up. I'd rather it be safe and annoying versus it being unsafe and/or insanely inconvenient.

If you are putting the light and fan downstream of the bathroom GFCI (which you should) then there is little safety risk of having those switches inside the bathroom. You seem to imply it is safer outside the door. I think either way is the same. I'd go with what is least annoying. GFCI's are a terrific innovation, you don't have to live in fear.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:09 PM   #27
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What did you do with the grounds?
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:47 PM   #28
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There is either a problem with the wiring from the switch to the fan, a problem with the fan connections, a problem with the fan itself, or you have something messed up with the splicing of the neutrals in the switch box.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:52 PM   #29
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There is either a problem with the wiring from the switch to the fan, a problem with the fan connections, a problem with the fan itself, or you have something messed up with the splicing of the neutrals in the switch box.
Grounds are capped together and connected to the green screw @ the switch.

Fan works flawless when it's by itself.

Still leaning to the junction box route... with what responses I've heard from people, a lot say that GFCI's act weird when you daisy chain other things on them that aren't receptacles. Some of them were even able to explain what they've seen prior to me even telling my story, which inadvertently matched up... *shrug*
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:03 PM   #30
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Those people are wrong. If the everything is wired correctly and the GFI is tripping, then there is something wrong...either with the wiring or something connected to the wiring.

Here is a diagram on how this should be wired.


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