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Old 04-12-2019, 09:56 AM   #16
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Just as an FYI, I think that's against the generally accepted codes in the US. I believe the GFCI outlets in bathrooms have to be on a separate circuit from all the lights. Not that I think anyone would check or even that it's a hazard really.
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:02 AM   #17
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


One solution is to simply eliminate the dimmer for the vanity light. In fact, as the receptacle is wired from the light, it's a violation to have the dimmer supply it.
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:49 PM   #18
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystriss View Post
Just as an FYI, I think that's against the generally accepted codes in the US. I believe the GFCI outlets in bathrooms have to be on a separate circuit from all the lights. Not that I think anyone would check or even that it's a hazard really.
They do not have to be on separate circuits if the circuit does not leave the bathroom.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:18 PM   #19
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To op.
Do you have a solution to your problem yet?
If not.
Do you know what conductors go to each box? Based off your drawing do you know if 14/2 or 12/2 or 14/3 or 12/3?
Do you know the breaker to kill power to bathroom?

You can kill power open boxes and ohm out which cables go where.
run power to gfci. Pig tail your in comming power to your two switches.
But maybe thats what you have now and gfci doesnt like to see load before it gets power. Maybe run devices after gfci simular to a gfci supply regular receptacle s.
Like some one else suggested. If the combo of what you have doesnt result safe and good condition. I think run another cable from gfci to switch box.

Draw out what you have and take good notes. Frustrating trouble shooting and not sure where you started or what you have tried.

Im not licensed electrician. Im factory maintenance controls tech. Diy weekend warrior at my home.
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:26 PM   #20
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Re: Bypass switch / make outlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Looking at the box picture it seems like it's conduit up to the light. If that's true it shouldn't be that hard to just slip an extra conductor through to get all the time power to the outlet
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:23 PM   #21
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Thanks everyone. Sorry, had some personal stuff come up so this got put on hold the past couple weeks. I just opened it back up again to diagram out what goes where. There's just an empty cavity with a couple vertical HVAC vents behind that wall; no access above or below so running new power is not really an option. There's also no conduit; all three wires to/from the switch are 14/2 romex (black-white-ground). But I have line of sight and can reach a new wire (14/3?) from the switch to the GFCI if necessary.


Here's the current wiring... pencil = white wires. Black sharpie = black wires. Copper ground wires not shown, just to keep the drawing easier to read.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:11 PM   #22
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


And here is how — I THINK — I'm picturing how to rewire it. Replace the 14/2 which currently goes from the dimmer to the light and then to the GFCI, with a 14/3.

This new 14/3 would run switched power via the red wire to the light, by going to the GFCI box first, but having the red bypass the GFCI outlet and tie up to the light. Then my black and white from the 14/3 would be always-hot (not switched) to the GFCI.

The million dollar question: WILL THIS WORK? Again, I'm not an electrician, so if this is a no-go please let me know. Thanks!

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Old 04-23-2019, 01:52 PM   #23
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Or wait... am I being an idiot and grossly overthinking it? Can I not just branch a new 14/2 off to the GFCI? Skip the dimmer entirely... This seems much simpler.



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Old 04-23-2019, 03:13 PM   #24
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Yes, run 14/2 to GFCI. Cap off old 14/2 from light at both the light and GFCI locations.


Alternatively, you can replace the dimmer with a switch and then no rewiring necessary. But the GFCI will only work with the light on.
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Old 04-23-2019, 03:40 PM   #25
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Above would be the easiest solution. Get rid of the dimmer in favor of an on/off switch, unless you want to solve the problem once and for all. Easier is not always better.

Why would anyone wire it like that in the first place?...easier and more convenient? If so, why go with a dimmer switch? Why was it not flagged during a home inspection when they bought the home?

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Old 04-24-2019, 12:59 AM   #26
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Yeah, it actually used to be wired to a standard on/off switch so we had never noticed before. Nor did we ever try to use anything plugged in unless the lights were on (it's by the sink, so obviously we'd never have a curling iron or hair dryer plugged in while the lights were off), so we simply had no idea the outlet was controlled by the light switch. At no point did we plug something in while the light switch was off. It would have been wired by the original builders in the 70s or at best the previous owners 13+ years ago.

While remodeling I just replaced the switch with a dimmer (late night bathroom visits and super early morning showers = no bright lights for me, thanks). And that's when I noticed that the GFCI outlet was no longer working properly and determined that it was indeed switched by the dimmer. I know I could go back to the plain on/off switch, but I've already found the aforementioned dimly-lit bathroom usage to be to my liking so I'd like to keep the dimmer and go ahead and wire the GFCI properly. Plus then the outlet could be used to charge my beard trimmer with the lights off, which I suppose it wasn't able to before.

Seems like my last drawing will be the easiest and proper way to wire it without too much hassle. Then I can have an always-on GFCI outlet w/ night light PLUS keep my dimmer, and never have to worry about the issue again with any future lighting or switch changes.
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Last edited by nutlog; 04-24-2019 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:27 AM   #27
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


One question now that I've removed the GFCI gang box and looked inside the wall at how to run the new wire... this photo is taken from the actual opening in the wall where the GFCI was.


Because of the vents, I can't run the wire along the wall or framing, and I don't have access to run it up and over. This is about a 3-foot span between the two gang boxes. I'm not sure what code is for lengths of wire that need to be secured. Am I allowed to just extend (kind of "drape") a short length of wire about 3 feet from the switch box to the receptacle box? Either standard sheathed romex and/or inside conduit?



I tried to illustrate this the best I can...


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Old 04-24-2019, 10:06 AM   #28
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Upon further searching I've read a few different things that, unless I'm mistaken or missing something, should answer my own question (and maybe anyone else who happens upon this thread in the future)... Yes, ideally the wire would be fully secured to/through studs, but if it's being fished through a finished concealed space that is impractical to secure, and if the wire is less than 4-1/2 feet, it sounds like it should be okay as I drew it.

Quote:
334.30 Securing and Supporting Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be supported and secured by staples, cable ties, straps, hangers, or similar fittings designed and installed so as not to damage the cable, at intervals not exceeding 1.4 m (4 1⁄2 ft) and within 300 mm (12 in.) of every outlet box. junction box, cabinet, or fitting. Flat cables shall not be stapled on edge. Sections of cable protected from physical damage by raceway shall not be required to be secured within the raceway.

(A) Horizontal Runs Through Holes and Notches. In other than vertical runs, cables installed in accordance with 300.4 shall be considered to be supported and secured where such support does not exceed 1.4-m (4 1⁄2-ft) intervals and the nonmetallic-sheathed cable is securely fastened in place by an approved means within 300 mm (12 in.) of each box, cabinet, conduit body, or other nonmetallic sheathed cable termination.
FPN: See 314.17(C) for support where nonmetallic boxes are used

(B) Unsupported Cables. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be permitted to be unsupported where the cable:

(1) Is fished between access points through concealed spaces in finished buildings or structures and supporting is impracticable.

(2) Is not more than 1.4 m (4-1/2 ft) from the last point of cable support to the point of connection to a luminaire or other piece of electrical equipment and the cable and point of connection are within an accessible ceiling

Quote:

General Cable Support

Runs of NM cable must be supported at least every 54 inches. They also must be secured within 12 inches of an electrical box that includes a cable clamp or within 8 inches of a box or enclosure without a cable clamp.
So, sounds like a stretch of 36 to 48 inch wire between the two boxes is actually okay... probably doesn't need conduit?... but if possible I should see if I can reach a skinny arm in and staple it to the stud within 8-12" of the boxes...?
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:56 AM   #29
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


Wires fished through inaccessible space need no securing at all.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:47 AM   #30
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Re: Bypass switch / make uutlet "Always Hot" even if light switch wired in front of i


I'm happy to report that by using the method illustrated in my last drawing (running new 14/2 from the box to the GFCI, skipping the dimmer switch) has successfully given me my always-on outlet. It's now to code, not wired through the dimmer or light fixture, has a working night light, and no longer causes any issues when things are plugged in.



Incidentally, I also found that the ground wires is that switch box were not properly tied together which is probably why the lights have always flickered when the fan would go on or off so this also turned into an opportunity to fix some bad wiring.



Just want to thank everyone for helping walk my way through this!
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