GFCI/double switch question

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  #1  
Old 08-31-04, 06:09 PM
topspin
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GFCI/double switch question

I have a double box with 2 switches in a bathroom controlling a light and a fan.

I'd like to replace them with a double switch and a GFCI outlet.

Opening the box, there are 4 sets of wires. The switches are "black wired," that is, the 4 white wires are all twisted together and capped. Two black wires are twisted together with two pigtails coming out of the cap.... one to each "hot" side of each switch. The other black wires run from each switch to the light and fan, obviously.

I got the double switch to work by using one black pigtail on the "hot" side of the double switch and connecting the light and fan black wires as they were on the old switches..... and removing the other pigtail.

I've tried numerous combinations to get the GFCI to work. All have caused the switches not to work and not powered the GFCI outlet.

How SHOULD I connect the GFCI?

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-31-04, 06:17 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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You should not have emoved any pigtails, and you need to add a pigtail for the white (neutral wires).

The incoming hot wire that is pigtailed to the common side of the two switches needs to also feed the line side (hot) of the GFCI. You can do this with a pigtail from the wire nut (preferred) or with a short jumper from the other common screw of the switch.

The incoming neutral wires (the white wires) need to be pigtailed to the line side (neutral) of the GFCI.

The ground wires all need to be connected together and to the GFCI and the duplex switch.

Do not use any spring type backstab connections. Use only screw terminals.
 
  #3  
Old 08-31-04, 08:46 PM
topspin
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the prompt, informative answer. It's all working!

As an aside, I was going to replace a kitchen switch with a GFCI/switch combo, but I opened up that box to find electrical tape joining the original (50s) wiring. I don't have large enough caps tonight to replace the tape, but it'll be a snap this weekend!

Thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 08-31-04, 10:55 PM
DRH
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I have the same set up (GFCI / double switch) and it works. But I am getting a blue spark inside the switch when I turn off the fan. I do not get the spark when I turn off the light. Is this normal due to the higher wattage of the fan vs the light? I have tried re-installing and then replacing the double switch with the same result.

Also, is there a way to run the power into the GFCI and then to the double switch so that the GFCI protects the switch (as it would downstream outlets)?

Thanks.
 
  #5  
Old 09-01-04, 05:49 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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Switches spark slightly when activated. Whether this is noticed or not depends on the switch itself. Since it happens with two different switches it is probably normal.

Be careful with your switch that you want to replace. Before cutting any wires, make sure that you have a neutral in the box. If you have a switch loop and no neutral wire then you cannot have both the switch and a recepticle.

To have the fan and light protected by the GFCI then change the wiring so that the hot wire(s) to the switches and neutral wires to the fan and light come from the load side of the GFCI.
 
  #6  
Old 09-02-04, 11:45 AM
DRH
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Thank you for your advice. I will give it a try this weekend.
 
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