Help! 4 wires for a bathroom ceiling fan

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  #1  
Old 01-27-14, 06:19 PM
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Help! 4 wires for a bathroom ceiling fan

Hi,

I bought a new fan for my bathroom and while I was removing the old housing an d installing the new one I found out that there are 4 wires.

The bathroom has only switch for the fan and the old fan did not use to have a light. The new one does. I am attaching the pics for reference.

How can I connect the new fan (+light) and have both of them on one switch? I tried these combination:

1) black wire light + black wire fan + black wire 1st couple and white wire light + white wire fan + white wire 1st couple ---> nothing turned on

2) black wire light + black wire fan + black wire 2nd couple and white wire light + white wire fan + white wire 2nd couple ---> the fan is always on

Do you guys have any idea why?

I will appreciate any input...Thank you!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-27-14, 06:25 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Where are the four wires..... the fan or the ceiling box ?

My guess is you have four wires at the ceiling box. Two blacks and two whites.

The black from the fan with the black from the light and
The white from the fan and the white from the light are correct.
 
  #3  
Old 01-27-14, 06:29 PM
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pics

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Last edited by sordido1981; 01-27-14 at 06:46 PM.
  #4  
Old 01-27-14, 06:31 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Assuming by "couple" that you mean the black/white pair of wires in one cable, it sounds like the switch for your fan location is on a switch loop.

Kill the power and pull the switch. If it only has one cable coming to it, and the black and white wire in that cable are both attached to the switch, that's the case.

Let us know what you find at the switch and we can advise you from there.
 
  #5  
Old 01-27-14, 06:33 PM
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Thanks PJmax!

There are 4 wires on the fan and light: 1black fan 1white fan, 1 black light and 1 white light.

There are also 4 wires in the ceiling box.

The thing that I don't get is why I only have one switch.
 
  #6  
Old 01-27-14, 06:41 PM
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Hi Nashkat1,

Thank you! I just checked and it looks like there are double wires on the back of the switch. 2 whites and two blacks. Does is sound correct?
 
  #7  
Old 01-27-14, 06:48 PM
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I just checked and it looks like there are double wires on the back of the switch. 2 whites and two blacks. Does is sound correct?
No. Did you turn the power off at the breaker and pull the switch out of the wall to check? Without changing any of the connections on the switch or in the box, that is.

In your picture, it appears that there are two wires terminated to the switch that's loose - one white and one black. Is that correct?
 
  #8  
Old 01-27-14, 06:52 PM
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No.... two blacks and two whites on the switch does not sound correct.

Do you have a voltmeter ? You're going to need it.

When you took the old light down at the ceiling..... of those four wires up there..... was there a white and black connected together originally.
 
  #9  
Old 01-27-14, 07:00 PM
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Nashkat,

I turned off the power and tried to pull as much as I could but it looks like I can't pull any further.

Here are closer pics of the switch. It seems you are right tho, there is only one black and one white. Just lot of tape that tricked me and made me think there were two each.

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  #10  
Old 01-27-14, 07:03 PM
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Yes! You are totally correct! There were a white and a black connected together. How come?

Just to clarify, there was only a fan before and not a fan with light.

Thanks for your precious help guys
 
  #11  
Old 01-27-14, 07:07 PM
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Ok.... put the switch carefully back in the wall. We don't want any wires pinched.

At the ceiling you have two cables.

One cable (white and black) connects to that switch.
The second cable is your incoming power. The black will be hot and the white neutral.
Do you have any way of testing for power at the ceiling ?
 
  #12  
Old 01-27-14, 07:10 PM
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Switch is back in place. Thanks!

Since I tested both the cables on the ceiling, I am assuming the one with the power is the one that had the fan always on independently from the switch, am I wrong?
 
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Old 01-27-14, 07:15 PM
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You know which cable is which.

Yes.... the fan was connected to that for always live.

On the cable going to the switch..... tape the white wire black and connect it to the hot wire coming in from the power cable. Put a wire nut on that splice.

That leaves you a black and white wire for your new fixture.

We tape that white wire any other color than white to eliminate this type of confusion in the future.

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  #14  
Old 01-27-14, 07:24 PM
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Just to be sure I understand correctly...when you say:

"On the cable going to the switch..... tape the white wire black and connect it to the hot wire coming in from the power cable. Put a wire nut on that splice."

You mean put them together in one nut? Switch taped white + bare hot black power cable, is it correct? So even if they are in the same nut, they don't touch each other?

Sorry but I just want to double check and avoid problems.
 
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Old 01-27-14, 07:31 PM
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You mean put them together in one nut? Switch taped white + bare hot black power cable, is it correct?
Yes......twist them together and put them in one wirenut.
Refer to my diagram above.
 
  #16  
Old 01-27-14, 07:55 PM
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PJmax,

I followed what you suggested but it did not work

it looks like the switch does not have any effect.
 
  #17  
Old 01-27-14, 08:07 PM
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If you do not have a multimeter connect one of the two cables at the fan to a receptacle. Plug a lamp into the receptacle. Turn the breaker on. Be sure the switch at the wall is off. Does the lamp work? If so mark that cable as power in. If not perform the same test on the other cable. If you have a multimeter just disconnect each cable and check between the black and white with the switch off. (A non contact tester won't work.)
 
  #18  
Old 01-27-14, 08:09 PM
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Here are the pics of the connected wires

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  #19  
Old 01-27-14, 08:11 PM
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I was writing as you were posting. See my post above yours.
 
  #20  
Old 01-27-14, 08:31 PM
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Ray,

Thanks for your answer.

The way I connected the wires is the following:

Wire nut: white wire taped from the switch cable + black hot wire power in

Black fan + black light + black switch and white fan + white light + white wire power in

Still have problems tho.
 
  #21  
Old 01-27-14, 08:44 PM
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Even if you had the whites and blacks reversed..... the fan/light should still work.

Either you don't have power at the ceiling or the switch isn't working. You can connect the fan/light directly to the power wire at the ceiling, with no switch line, to see if there is power.
 
  #22  
Old 01-27-14, 09:37 PM
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Still have problems tho.
What are the problems? Did you turn the breaker back on?

Here's the way the wires at the fan/light need to be connected:

All ground wires get spliced (twisted) together. If there is a green ground screw in the connection box on the fixture, a 6" to 8" piece of wire to that splice and terminate it to that green screw.

The white wire connected to the switch - the white wire in "couple 1" - gets marked with a bit of black or red (or any color except green or gray) electrical tape or permanent marker and spliced (the bare ends get twisted together) to the black wire coming from the panel - the black wire in "couple 2". That splice gets protected with a wire nut.

The 3 remaining white wires - 2 from the fixture ant 1 from the panel - get spliced together. That splice gets protected with a wire nut.

The 3 remaining black wires - 2 from the fixture and 1 from the switch - get spliced together. That splice gets protected with a wire nut.

That's it.

The way you connected everything, as shown in your pictures, looks correct. Is the power on?
 
  #23  
Old 01-28-14, 06:31 AM
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Great news, I rechecked everything and the fan works!

There was a loose wire at the switch. Thank you so much for the help!!!
 
  #24  
Old 01-28-14, 09:13 AM
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Glad you got it fixed, and thanks for letting us know how it worked out.
 
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