Wiring - new bathroom light/fan combo

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-06-12, 06:53 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Wiring - new bathroom light/fan combo

Hello,

Last night I tried to replace an old bathroom light with a light/fan combo. Currently the fan/light are on and won't turn off (independent of the switch). The switch (two-way) appears to only have a black wire connected.

Here's the wiring situation: there are two conduits that connect into the light/fan. The first conduit (leading from the switch) has three wires coming through: black, white and yellow. The second conduit has two wires: black and white. The second conduit appears to run to a different switch (on the same circuit, of course) that controls the completely separate hall light, but I haven't confirmed this is where the conduit actually leads.

My light/fan combo has five wires: two white wires, a black wire, a red wire, and a green wire. The black and red wires are hot wires, the green is ground, whites are neutral (per the instructions that came with the light/fan).

I need some guidance on what to do with the yellow wire. At first I thought it might be a ground wire, but connecting it to the green ground wire in the fan/light tripped the circuit. The current state (in which the light/fan stays on) that I have things wired in is to have the incoming black wires connected to the black and red wires in the fan/light (all connected in one cap), the incoming white wires are connected to the two white wires in the fan/light (all connected in one cap), and I have the incoming yellow and fan/light green wires capped individually. All for a total of 4 caps in the light/fan.

Sorry I'm a moron (and a learn-as-I-go wiring novice). Any advice is appreciated.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-06-12, 07:51 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Are you trying to switch both fan and light with the same switch? Have you determined which set of wires is hot? is the hot pair at the light or switch?

The switch (two-way) appears to only have a black wire connected.
What is a two way switch? Do you mean a regular, SPST, on/off switch? A switch has to have at least two wires to work. Please explain what you mean by "one black wire".
 
  #3  
Old 01-06-12, 08:01 AM
U
Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
First - I am NOT an electrician. I wire things in my own house and have done so for many years. But I am not an expert so work slowly, deliberately and carefully if you follow my advice.

Your three way wire w/ the yellow line is probably just a three way put there in case you want to use a separate switch for the fan and the light. You can test that the yellow wire is hot with your multimeter but I think you already inadvertently determined that the yellow wire is hot. The yellow wire (instead of a red) might be an indicator that the three way line is connected to the GFCI circuit. You can test that as well either at the breaker panel or by leaving the juice on, testing it for power, then tripping the GFCI and retesting to see of the power is gone. My guess is that this is what you will find. This being so, the idea on your light / fan is that the fan and the light each get their own power supply. If you wanted to buy a double switch like the ones used for ceiling fans you could technically use one. This way when you use the bathroom at night the fan doesn't come on and wake anyone up. Or you could install another switch box and switch but really, who can be bothered?

As far as wiring goes, ignore the second line that goes to the hall. That's just on the circuit for the hall light or some other light. Use only the line with the yellow wire. The green is the ground. Connect green to the copper line or the ground screw on the switch or switch box. Bunch together the two white lines from your fan with the white line(s) coming from the conduit. Connect either the black or the yellow line from the conduit to the black or the red wire (your choice) on your fan. Cap it. Connect the other wire from the fan (black or red) with the other wire from the conduit (black or yellow). Cap it. Turn on power and test. Remember that the hall light line needs to stay connected. So when you are bunching the white lines together if the hall light was already part of that bunch it needs to stay a part of the bunch. Same for the black line and yellow line.

If you later decide to use a switch that controls the fan and light separately you can connect the yellow and black wires to the back of the double switch accordingly.

Good luck. I hope this helps.
 
  #4  
Old 01-06-12, 08:48 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
ray2047, I apologize for the confusion. I don't think the switch should be a problem here because I haven't changed anything on it. I just took off the plate to see what wires were in the box to try and figure out the yellow wire. The switch is a normal on/off switch, I only mentioned it is a 2-way to remove any wiring issues that may come with using a 3-way switch.

Yes, the goal will be to switch both the fan and light with the same switch (I don't want to build out the switch box to add another switch in order to separate the light/fan). I don't think I understand your question as to whether the "hot pair [is] at the light or switch."
 
  #5  
Old 01-06-12, 08:54 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks Uncleponto. So is the following your suggestion?

- Group all white wires together and cap (total of 4 wires - 2 from fan/light combo, 1 from first conduit, 1 from second conduit - in the cap)

- Group yellow wire to black/red and cap

- Group black wires to other black/red and cap (total of 3 wires - black/red from fan/light, 1 black from first conduit, 1 black from second conduit - in the cap)

- Ground the green (I don't think I can ground this to the switch because there is no ground wire in the conduit, so what else could I do to ground it?)
 
  #6  
Old 01-07-12, 05:59 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
(I don't think I can ground this to the switch because there is no ground wire in the conduit, so what else could I do to ground it?)
The box should be metal if the conduit is metal. That is your ground. Either use a self grounding switch or pigtail the switch to the box with green or bare wire using an approved grounding screw. There's usually already a tapped hole in the metal box for it.
 
  #7  
Old 01-07-12, 01:05 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,150
Received 87 Votes on 74 Posts
Yellow seems to be a commonly used color to indicate a switch controlled hot. The black or blacks would connect to the yellow in order for the switch to control them.
 
  #8  
Old 01-09-12, 09:03 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks pcboss. Yes, as it turns out, I just wired the yellow wire to both the black and red wires of the fan/light combo and it all works beautifully. I ended up connecting the black wires from the conduits to each other (2 wires in that cap).

Just as a follow-up, to add a separate switch to separately control the light/fan, would this involve anything more than running a new wire from the fan/light through the conduit to the switch box and wiring it up to a new switch?
 
  #9  
Old 01-09-12, 09:30 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,150
Received 87 Votes on 74 Posts
Adding the new switch would involve what you said, plus moving a wire out of the splice with the yellow. You would need to add a constant hot from the other switch to provide power to the new switch.
 
  #10  
Old 01-09-12, 10:52 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Right, that makes sense.

Thanks again to all for the good advice.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: