replacing bath exhaust/heater/light


Old 12-14-04, 07:37 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 12
replacing bath exhaust/heater/light

Iím having a problem replacing an old bathroom fan/heater/light unit. The original unit is a combination light/exhaust/heater. The new one only has an exhaust. In the ceiling, there are three separate cables, each with a white, black and ground wire. There is a wall switch with three switches and only TWO cables (with the same white/black/ground wires) coming in to it from the wall. There is only one cable in the ceiling that I get any power from and does not seem to be controlled by the wall switch Ė when the breaker is on, the fan is on, regardless of what position the wall switch is in. So, my question is: how do I wire this fan so the switch operates it?
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Old 12-14-04, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Three switches but only two black/white cables is baffling. Are you sure? What do/did the three switches control? How are the three switches connected to the two cables?
Old 12-14-04, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
My guess would be that power comes into the ceiling on one cable (a black and a white wire). Power is then routed to the switches on one wire out of the two cables. Switched power is then routed back to the unit via the other wire in that cable plus the two wires in the other cable.

If I am correct, then you have an unusual wiring situation, but one that can be used.

What do you intend to do with the two unused switches? Do you want to leave them in place?

Anyway, if I am correct, then wire as follows:

Connect the incoming power white wire to the fan white wire. Connect the incoming black power wire to one of the white wires going to the switches. If one is marked with black tape or colored with a black marker, then use that wire, else use either and mark it with black marker. Connect the black wire from the same cable to the black wire for the fan. At the switch determine which cable is the other end of the one you just connected at the light, and connect the black and white wires to one of the switches.

Connect the grounds as appropriate. Cap off all the other wires, as they are not needed.
Old 12-14-04, 02:48 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 12
Yup, two cables going into three switches. They controlled the light, fan and heater. I won't go into the gory details of how they were connected, but suffice it to say there were enough pigtails to start a hog farm! :-)

I'll try your suggestion, although I may not get to it for a day or two. I plan on replacing the three switches with a single one.

Thanks, guys! I'll let you know how it turns out.
Old 12-21-04, 12:03 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 12

Hey bob! Thanks again for your advice, it worked perfectly! Just in time too, since the temp here went down to -6 and now I can keep the window closed!


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