Shower Lighting And Fan Stopped Working (separate Fixtures On Same Circuit) - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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Old 03-13-2011, 11:29 AM   #1
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


We recently have done a very large remodeling project on a new house, including a complete bathroom renovation, due to the bathroom being decimated by the previous owners (among other things). The shower is almost completely enclosed, with tile on the ceiling, walls and floor, and just a slight gap over the door for air to be pulled out to an external fan, located just outside of the door. There are two lights inside of the shower. The fan and the lights are on the same circuit.

After working for several months, the fan and lights stopped working. I tried removing the fan from the circuit, thinking that could be the problem, but that does not appear to be it. Additionally, I changed the switch, just in case it could have gone bad. I reset the GFIs in the bathroom as well.

Coming from an extremely unhandy family, I am the bright star of basic do it your self projects, which is sad because I know so little. With that said, I try to learn from people that know substantially more than I do, and I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and feedback, as to what could have caused a problem and how to go about checking that.

I attached two photos, one from the inside of the shower looking up and out (the top of the door and one of the light fixtures). The second is just a general shot of the shower from outside.

Thank you very much!
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)-photo.jpg   Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)-photo2.jpg  

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Last edited by IndyNotHandy; 03-13-2011 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:48 AM   #2
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


While the lights and fan may be on the same circuit, I missed if you said they were on the same switch or not. How did you remove the fan from the circuit?

Troubleshooting this, in general, would encompass probing for voltages at key points, including the switch location, and at the fixture. Do you have a voltage meter or detector of some type?

Given that you said both lights and fan quit simultaneously, I would suspect the problem is somewhere at the switch or switch location, including potential loss of supply voltage. It may help for you to describe the various wires in this box.

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Old 03-13-2011, 12:18 PM   #3
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


Both the fan and the lights are on the same switch. I don't have a voltage meter, but do have the very complex red and black probes connected to a light bulb. Will that be sufficient to test? If not, Home Depot is just a few miles away.

In terms of removing the fan from the circuit, I simply unscrewed it from it's location on the ceiling, and removed its wiring from the other wiring, which connects to the lights. With that said, when I saw the wiring, I realized that this would likely do nothing.

Thank you very much for your help. Looking forward to hearing back from you.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:29 PM   #4
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


You may have already done this. With a partner (on cell phones?), draw up a list and schematic of every outlet, switch and fixture in and out of your new house and which circuit breaker each associates to. ID each one when circuit breaker thrown in main box. IF you have GFIs, trip and test each one and figure out if any are in a common loop and the direction of hot feed. This is a safety list that you must have in case of emergency.

Perhaps your GFI switches are in series and one before your shower one has tripped but you don't know it?
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


Your light bulb and probes will work, are they save to use and handle while measuring voltage?
Circuits have a power source. Your power may be fed either at the light or at the switch.
Use your tester and see if you have power at the switch. Use the bare ground wire for one connection, that way you don't have to remove any wire nuts, and see if you have power on the screws of the switch. One will have power all the time and the other screw only when the switch is in ON position.
Take this step by step, report the findings.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:20 PM   #6
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


There is no power to the light switch, which controls both the fan and the separate shower lights. It seems there is also no power to the jacuzzi tub. I previously reset the two GFI's in the bathroom and both are working. Have not been able to find any additional ones. I also tested power, to the conduits which tie into the fan and they also have no power. Should mention that no fuses are popped in the breaker box. Probably will head back up into the attic to test the conduit coming into the lights. Exciting time! Thank you to everyone for all of your help. Any additional advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:28 PM   #7
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


How many wires, what color, and in how many bundles, come into your lighting fixture and switch? Knowing this may help understand the location of your power source and eliminate the need, or value, of crawling around in the attic.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


For the fan fixture, 2 white wires, 2 black wires, and 2 grounds, with each pair joined together (this is without the fan wires being connected currently, as I removed it to eliminate a potential problem). With the fan wires connected it would be 3 of each.

The light switch has two black wires coming in. Each is coming in from separate white wiring. There are two other switches that are in that box, which operate other lights without any problem.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:43 PM   #9
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


Look in your breaker box---you may have a gfci breaker-----

the Jacuzzi might be plugged into a gfci outlet under the tub---where is the access cover for the tub motor?
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:20 PM   #10
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


The jacuzzi would be on a dedicated circuit with its own switch box/outlet(however tha elec. Ran it). Sounds like a tripped regular breaker, check your panel.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:18 AM   #11
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


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Originally Posted by killadelphia View Post
The jacuzzi would be on a dedicated circuit with its own switch box/outlet(however tha elec. Ran it). Sounds like a tripped regular breaker, check your panel.
In a perfect world. It should be on its own circuit, but someone may have tapped that shower fan/light off of the jacuzzi circuit.

Look carefully at the breakers for a tripped breaker, especially any that are GFCI type. If nothing found there, take off the access panel to the tub and look for a GFCI receptacle. I'm thinking you might find it tripped there.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:02 PM   #12
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


Thank you very very much to everyone for all of your help! Alright, I feel very foolish at this moment. It is a new house, but still.....

We have only 2 GFCI outlets in our bathroom, although I did look for a possible third inside the access panel for the jacuzzi. After all of the actual electrical work, examining the fan and light wiring in the shower, I began looking at other rooms. Oddly enough, the previous owner/builder had a GFCI, which was now inconveniently behind a large dresser, in the Master bedroom which was tripped. I never thought that a bathroom light switch would be fed by a GFCI circuit in a different room (which wasn't a bathroom). I had checked another bathroom GFCI that was near.

So the question now is what tripped the GFCI? We did have a power failure sometime that day. Could that have tripped the circuit though? The lights are rated for showers/wet locations. Could water have gotten in them somehow and tripped it. I am still puzzled and now feel more dumb than I did previously.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:22 PM   #13
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


They can be fussy some times----I've seen them trip when lightning strikes near a house---

Some times they trip for no apparent reason. Typically if one is giving you trouble---Replace it--

If the new one continues to trip--then call an electrician. (I would) or tool up and start testing.--Mike--
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:50 PM   #14
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


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Originally Posted by IndyNotHandy View Post
Thank you very very much to everyone for all of your help! Alright, I feel very foolish at this moment. It is a new house, but still.....
How new is new? Are the bedroom receptacles on an Arc Fault breaker?
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:32 AM   #15
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Shower Lighting and fan stopped working (separate fixtures on same circuit)


Should have said, the house is new to us. It was constructed in 1999. Not certain what caused the power failure, as I was at work when it happened. If the GFCI trips again, I will try replacing it. Maybe I should do that now, but if most of you believe that a surge/power failure could have triggered it, that sounds like I should wait until it happens a second time. The funny thing about that GFCI is that the other two light switches, in the same junction box, go to alternate GFCI's, which are actually located in the bathroom. Imagine that!

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