fan turned on in middle of the night. wiring issue?

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  #1  
Old 05-03-20, 09:52 AM
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fan turned on in middle of the night. wiring issue?

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/e...-switch-3.html

thats my original thread with pics of the wiring and everythign worked fine the past 10 years. but last night at 4 am my bathroom fan just turned on. no lights on the timer worked and nothing made it turn off. i had to kill the power and disconnect the switch. its in the same box as a combo outlet/light switch. i noticed the white wire from the timer was just hanging there. no idea why. i wouldnt have ever left it like that. i also noticed i have a red wire coming from what i believe is the lighting fixture and that red wire just is alone in a wire nut. doubt has anything to do with the fan. but weird id let it there and not tape it up.

the timers black wire is attached to the bottom screw on the outlet next to it and the red wire from the timer was connected to the black wire running to the fan. the white wire from the fan is bundled in with all the other white wires in the box. theres no ground.

i had assumed the switch was bad. however if you touched the white wire from the switch to the white on the outlet the fan did run continuously.

i went and got a new timer. put the black wire to the outlet and put the red wire to the black wire on the fan. i left the white wire from the fan unhooked. the fan still runs continously no matter what buttons i press on the switch. then i hooked the white wire to the white on the side of the outlet and the fan still runs continuously and no buttons do anything.

so what am i doing wrong? is it possible the fan just shorted out somehow. but thats not really possible is it. if the switch is hooked up correctly it should kill the power regardless
 
  #2  
Old 05-03-20, 10:00 AM
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It's hard to say what the problem is. It wouldn't be the fan.
My first thought is no neutral to the switch.
I'd say you were missing the neutral there but you said the fan does run.
Is there only one neutral bundle in the box ?
I'd check for a problem there first.
Try plugging something into the receptacle and see if that works.
 
  #3  
Old 05-03-20, 10:23 AM
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i have a phone plugged into the recepticle and it works as well as the light on that switch. yes only one bundle of 3 white wires and that bundle has a single wire all leading to the outlet. what is puzzling is that it all worked 10 years.

so where do you think that white from the switch should be? there really is no way id never leave it just so like that. id tape it up or even single wire nut it. but even in the past when ive single wire nutted something i tape it. thats what is perplexing.

so are you saying just red wire to the black fan wire should be doing what i want? is there any chance the white from the switch should go to the black from the fan?

shoudl i wire a normal light switch in to see if that works. i really hate to lose my timer though
 
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Old 05-03-20, 10:41 AM
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If your timer has a red, black and white wire..... then it needs neutral on the white wire to operate.
Based on the type of timer.... some will either switch the load on or do absolutely nothing when missing the neutral.

If you open the red timer wire connection.... the fan should shut off.
 
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Old 05-03-20, 11:26 AM
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so i decided to run a test. put white wire from switch to the black wire goign to fan. the lights on the switch turned on and i could hear clicking in the swtich as if normal operation. but no fan!

of course red wire from switch to fan makes it run constantly. but none of the buttons work on the switch, no lights. nothing.
 
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Old 05-03-20, 01:24 PM
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so for the fun of it i was gonna just rig up temp wiring to a regular switch to see what happened, then i discovered the neutral on the combo was loose. i tightened it up and everything worked just fine. then noticed the other screws were loose too. very strange all the screws were loose. guess i was lucky 10 years they worked at all. then i put it all back together and the other light in the bathroom didnt work.sigh, started to rip it apart figuring something to do with my new switch (which is across the room but still....) then realized maybe a bulb change. whew. that was just bad timing and thats all it needed.

moral of story. make sure all connectors are tight! im keeping the new one because i prefer pressing a direct button to the time i want rather than scrolling up to the minutes i want.
 
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Old 05-03-20, 10:16 PM
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so i decided to run a test. put white wire from switch to the black wire goign to fan.
Wow..... you are lucky. That could have blown that timer up.

 
  #8  
Old 05-04-20, 06:29 AM
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Did you do some electrical work yesterday?

I find it hard to believe that everything worked for years and suddenly last night the fan came on all by itself and this morning you saw a white wire hanging loose that never hung loose before.

Unless the switch failed ending up in the on position. Very scary because that could cause a fire if nobody was home.
 
 

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