wiring in a switch to a gfi

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Old 02-07-09, 02:33 PM
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wiring in a switch to a gfi

I am trying to wire a vanity light and switch to a gfi...the gfi is pigtailed into an electrical box where power in is three wire, and power out is also three wire...in other words I have three black wires maretted together, three white, and three ground.
I've tried to pigtail a switch which has only black and white wires into this mix in order to operate a vanity light...I get power to the light, but as soon as I operate the switch the breaker in the panel blows.....can someone help please??
I'm a relative newcomer to DIY so if this is not enough information please let me know.
Thanks,
Simon Jung
 
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Old 02-07-09, 02:50 PM
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Blacks are all hot, and whites are all neutral. If you wired the switch with a black wire on one terminal and a white wire to the other terminal, you'd bypass the light and go directly to ground in the panel box. Explaining the dead short.

We know nothing about where the power comes from for the light. And we do not know what you did in that switch box. Was there a switch there before? If so, why are not 2 wires hanging there loosely now? Did you just go ahead and nut them all together?, remembering that general rule of thumb that blacks all go to blacks and whites all go to whites? If that is the case, you will have to undo the wires in the nuts, and you will have to volt and ohms test wires to identify the incoming power source and which wires go to that light. This can be coached.
 
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Old 02-08-09, 10:37 AM
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Re:Wiring in a switch to a gfi

Thanks for your reply. The only power source available to me is from the GFI....from this I want to run a switch and power to the vanity light. The gfi is in series...in other words power goes through the gfi to another light and electrical outlet in another room. I simply want to tap in to this circuit and run a switch and vanity light from it. I have photos but can't seem to get them to load here...does this answer any of your questions?
Thanks again.
 
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Old 02-08-09, 11:46 AM
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Oh, I see. That's easy enough then.

Simple enough wiring job, and I'm betting that the run from your existing wall box to where the light is will only be just a small number of feet away?

Do you currently have only a gfci in a single wall box?, or is it a double box that has both a gfci and a switch, that say runs some already existing overhead light?

Do you currently have a bath fan in the bathroom? If so, how is it switched? If not, might you maybe want to install one now at this time?
 
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Old 02-08-09, 12:05 PM
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Thanks for the prompt reply....I see you are on-line...have sent you a personal message but in case it does not go through....only have a single box with the gfci.....have a bathroom fan and overhead light that are activated at the same time by a different switch in another part of the bathroom...just need to run another switch, and power to the vanity light from this one gfci....is there some way to send you photos of the set up??
 
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Old 02-08-09, 12:17 PM
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Waiting for location description of all the boxes in the room, and where you want/prefer this switch located. Next to the entry door?
 
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Old 02-08-09, 12:57 PM
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The gfci is the only outlet in the room...the switch for the overhead light and fan is at the door.....want to place the switch for the vanity right beside the gfci
 
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Old 02-08-09, 03:15 PM
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Are you going to be able to handle all the work involved with running new wire from the GFCI location to the vanity light location?

If so-----------

You could change out the presumably existing single gang GFCI box to a 2-gang box.

Run one piece of Romex between vanity light location and into GFCI box. Where you want the wire to exit vanity wall may depend on type of light you buy, and if a knock out is involved. If you buy one of those say multi-bulb vanity lights, they have a metal plate with knock out, and I believe you can simply run wire direct thru wall and into light without a wall box, as the light fixture itself becomes the box. You want to first take new light out of the package and see where knockout is before making new wire exit the wall, so you have it enter the new light's knock out hole, with the light centered over sink/mirror. But if you install some other type of light that is open on the wall side, you would be required to have a wallbox -and likely a plastic blue remodeler box centered over the vanity mirror.

The hookup in the GFCI (now 2-gang) box would be straight forward enough. You need to join together the hot LINE side of the GFCI, to one of the (new)switch terminals, using a piece of black wire. You can either do this by a pigtail method directly off the hot feed wire (where you remove the hotfeed wire on the GFCI, and instead use 2 more short pieces of wire, wire nutted to the incoming hotfeed, where one wire piece goes back to the same GFCI hot LINE terminal and the other goes to one of the new switch's screws.), or, to loosen the hot LINE wire clamp-down terminal screw and slip in this second piece of wire, retighten the GFCI terminal screw again, and hook to the switch. Then the black wire that is in the new Romex-to- the-light gets hooked to the other switch terminal screw. Then the black and white wire inside the Romex over the vanity get hooked up to the 2 new light wires. Then, at the GFCI/switch again, the white wire of the new Romex wire gets hooked up to the neutral LINE terminal of the GFCI, along with the existing neutral wire.

By hooking your new Romex wire run to the LINE terminals of the GFCI - if the GFCI trips, you will still have light to the vanity light. I see no reason to LOAD side protect for the light.

Hook up the Romex's ground wire to the light's ground wire or metal base, (or join the Romex's ground and light's ground wires to the metal mounting backet if a wallbox is used) and hook up the ground wire in the GFCI/switch box correctly.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 02-08-09 at 03:30 PM. Reason: added more detail
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Old 02-08-09, 03:31 PM
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Depending on the current circuitry and the Code in effect at the time of construction, you may not be able to add the lighting to the receptacle circuit.

If this receptacle serves more than one bathroom it cannot also serve any lighting loads.
 
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Old 02-08-09, 03:54 PM
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Pcboss-

Over one additional light.

Read on:

I got called to an upscale rental where tenants blew a 15 amp breaker because they ran a space heater in their bedroom one night. And I discovered that 2 bedrooms outlets, and the hallway light and outlet, and the bathroom GFCI and bathfan and lights, and the living room outlets, were ALL on one single 15 amp circuit!

I called out our licensed electrician and we got in an argument over this issue. I said "Why even HAVE a code, if Code is not concerned about making it so people have enough circuits?" I told him that common sense would dictate that you even put the GFCI on one circuit alone!, as some hair dryers now use about 1875 watts!

BTW -we talked him into splitting up this one circuit, to add 2 addtional breakers, to serve these 4 areas.
 
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Old 02-08-09, 03:59 PM
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Thank you so much eckman51 for all your help....and your patient explanation. I'm a lot more comfortable tackling the job as a result of your advise....
I'll be giving this a shot tomorrow and will let you know how it goes.
Thanks again
 
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Old 02-08-09, 04:06 PM
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Thank you so much ecman51 for all your help....and your patient explanation. I'm a lot more comfortable tackling the job as a result of your advise....
I'll be giving this a shot tomorrow and will let you know how it goes.
Thanks again
 
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