Adding receptacle to double switch

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Old 09-17-16, 05:15 PM
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Adding receptacle to double switch

Hello,

I recently purchased a home without an outlet in the bathroom. Currently, there is a double switch to control the light and the exhaust fan. I would like to add an outlet. I purchased a 2-gang box and a 15 amp gfci.

I dissambled the old double switch and am attempting to reinstall the switch with the outlet next to it. However, I am not sure how to properly wire it. The switch originally had one white wire, two black hot wires, and a ground connected to it.

I have two wire wraps behind the wall, one with a black and white wire, and one with a black and white wire and a ground. How can I properly wire the new gfci outlet to be constantly on independent of the switches?

Thank you for your help in advance. I have a multimeter to test if needed. I also have pictures of the original configuration, if it would be useful.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 05:34 PM
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I have two wire wraps
Those are cables.
The switch originally had one white wire, two black hot wires, and a ground connected to it
There should be two white wires. Where is the other white wire?

A duplex switch has a tab between the screws on one side. was that tab removed?
 
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Old 09-17-16, 05:51 PM
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Thank you for your help! There was another white wire in the second cable, but it had a wire connector on it. As far as I can see, it was not connected to anything. The tab that you mentioned on the duplex switch is no longer there.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 06:12 PM
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Use your multimeter and measure between one pair of W&B and then between the other pair,you should find 120 volts between one pair,connect the GFCI receptacle to those.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 06:51 PM
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Thank you for help. I did as you suggested and located the pair with 120v and hooked that up to the gfci. I turned the power back on, and the light in the bathroom is flickering and so are the lights on the gfci. What does this mean? Thanks again.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 07:26 PM
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The tab that you mentioned on the duplex switch is no longer there.
With the tab removed there should be two wires on each switch. It really sound like two switch loops which means you don't have a neutral. Does the exhaust fan actually work?
I turned the power back on, and the light in the bathroom is flickering and so are the lights on the gfci.
Seems to be further proof of a switch loop. Tell us about the wiring at the light.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 07:35 PM
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Thanks for your help. Yes, both the light and the fan actually work (each is assigned to a switch). I took the light off and looked at it. There is a black wire and white wire connected to it. I can't really see where the wires go, unfortunately.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 09:18 PM
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The switch originally had one white wire, two black hot wires, and a ground connected to it.
There should only have been one black wire hot. That single black hot wire should be the one with the capped off white wire. That white may or not be connected to neutral but it needs to be to get the receptacle to work correctly.

With the second cable...... white is the light and black is the fan or vice versa. Since you only have a single cable at the light..... the switch cable goes to the fan and then a two wire cable to the light. You will probably need to access the fan wiring.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 11:49 PM
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Thanks for your help. I have a little but of additional information that may be useful. I tested the black and white wires in both cables. One cable does not have a hot wire (black and white run through multimeter show no voltage). The second cable does show 120v when using the black and white cable. Because there was 120v in this cable, I originally connected it to the receptacle, but experienced the light flickering issue. Should I have wired the receptacle differently?
 
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Old 09-17-16, 11:55 PM
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Temporarily connect a non GFCI receptacle across the second cable and nothing else. Plug a lamp with an incandescent bulb into the receptacle. Does the bulb glow at full brightness?
 
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Old 09-18-16, 09:01 AM
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Thank you for your help. I connected the black and white wires showing 120v to an non-gfci receptacle and without the ground wire. When I turned the power back on, the bathroom lights were at full brightness. The lamp that I plugged in was almost at full brightness, but seemed dim to me. Also, when the lamp is unplugged, the bathroom lights turn off.
 
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Old 09-18-16, 09:28 AM
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I just re-tested it. The lamp is definitely dim, bathroom lights at full brightness (they are LED lights).
 
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Old 09-18-16, 10:28 AM
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So far you were trying to use two switch wires to power the receptacle, which will not work.

A white wire that used to be attached to a switch terminal is not a neutral unless you are proactively revamping the wiring to convert it into a neutral possibly decommissioning one or more switches. For now you should now rule that white wire out as the neutral.

Connecting the two wires to the receptacle and plugging in a light fixture and having the bathroom light go on (and the bathroom lights go off when the portable light fixture is unplugged) is a sure sign of a switch loop. In a correctly wired switch loop the switched power may not arrive at the bathroom light or fan on a white wire so in your case the raw hot in the switch box is (should be) the white wire.

Looks to me like the two black wires take switched power to the fan and bathroom lights respectively. You will need to string a new cable to power the receptacle because you may not use the white wire with or without another white wire as a neutral for that purpose and also the hot and neutral for the new receptacle must be in the same cable.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 09-18-16 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 09-18-16, 10:51 AM
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Thanks for your help. Using the black wire from the cable with 120v and the White wire from the other cable, I get nothing at the receptacle. When using the black and white wire from the 120v cable, I get a dim light and the bathroom light comes on completely. Could I switch wiring at the light to make it work, or switch wiring at the receptacle?
 
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Old 09-18-16, 11:48 AM
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Didn't you post there are only two wires at the light. What are you going to switch ???

As it stands right now you DO NOT have a neutral to the switch box. There is nothing to switch at the switch box.

I posted..... the wiring most likely all connects at the fan. That's where you'll need to look. If not there then there is a junction box somewhere.
 
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Old 09-18-16, 12:02 PM
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Hi Pete,

Thank you. I will go pull the fan and take a look at the wiring there.
 
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Old 09-19-16, 06:00 AM
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Is the light in the same place as the fan, namely hanging down under the center of the fan?

I find it hard to believe that both the light and fan work independently and correctly using the two switches respectively when the white wire is attached to one screw on the duplex switch unit and there is an empty screw next to that with just a broken edge where a tab used to connect those two screw terminals.

One of the two switches would have had just one wire, a black wire, associated with it. Flipping a switch that has just one wire attached does absolutely nothing.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 09-19-16 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 09-19-16, 06:35 AM
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Allan wrote:
I find it hard to believe that both the light and fan work independently and correctly using the two switches respectively when the white wire is attached to one screw on the duplex switch unit and there is an empty screw next to that with just a broken edge where a tab used to connect those two screw terminals.
Bingo! This is why I asked if the fan worked. The wiring just doesn't make sense. The "lamp test" proved one cable was a switch loop from the light but there is nothing to indicate how the fan could be working.

Paul please answer Pete's question if there are only two wires at the light box. Pull everything out and look at the back of the box after you check out the fan.

Also can you post pictures of both sides of the duplex switch. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
 

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