How to Wire a Bath Exhaust Fan and Light
Installing and Wiring a Bath Exhaust Fan and Light: Power Sources for a Bath Exhaust Fan and Light, Power From a GFCI Outlet, Junction Box Wiring.© By: Dave Rongey
Installing and Wiring a Bath Exhaust Fan and Light
Electrical Question: After my bathroom addition was rough wired and before the insulation was done I decided to add a ceiling fan and light to be controlled with separate switches in place of a simple light fixture.
- Removing Existing Wiring
I removed the 2 wire with ground from the switch to fixture and replaced it with a 3 wire with a ground wire.
- Junction Box Wiring for the Switch
The box these wires came out of had a 3 wire w/ground coming in from the other switch that was also to control the light via a 3 way switch.
- Checking the Power Source
When it came time to finish wire I realized I had no constant power into this box making it impossible to control the fan separate from the light so I tapped into the outlet circuit that was right under the switch box to supply a constant power source for the bath exhaust fan.
- GFCI Outlet Circuit
The problem is that the circuit is GFCI protected because it supplies power to outlets near the sink. Now when I energize the fan it trips the GFCI outlet.
What can I do?
This home electrical repairs question came from: Mike, from Darke County , Ohio.
Thanks for your electrical troubleshooting question Mike.
Application: Wiring a Bath Exhaust Fan.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits and Extension Cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the bathroom remodel project, the type of construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation of new construction materials should be identified, turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Modifying existing wiring or installing additional bathroom electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Wiring a Bath Exhaust Fan and Light
- Power Sources for a Bath Exhaust Fan and Light
The scenario described in this question prevents using the existing light switch wiring because the 3-way switch wiring does not provide the necessary neutral with the light circuit power source.
- Power From a GFCI Outlet
Using the GFCI outlet circuit as the power source will work for the bathroom exhaust fan but make sure you are using the GFCI circuit power source only and not intermixing with any wiring from the existing light circuit wiring.
- Wiring into a GFCI
Tapping into the GFCI outlet circuit should be done inside the GFCI outlet box, this way you would have the option to connect to the LINE or the LOAD side of the GFCI to provide GFCI protected or non GFCI protection, depending on the location of the bath exhaust fan in relationship to the tub or shower.
More about Wiring Bath Exhaust Fans
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Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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