Problem with Bathroom Ceiling Fan Light?

Old 11-24-14, 08:54 PM
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Problem with Bathroom Ceiling Fan Light?


First post, don't judge please, unless I'm committing a huge faux pas in one way or another in terms of posting rules.

The point: my bathroom ceiling fan light has a separate paddle switch for both the light and the fan. The light switch isn't working, and it's not that simple from a not-so-experienced diy-er.

Yesterday afternoon/evening, we realized the single cfl bulb in our ceiling fan wouldn't switch on. Tried replacing the bulb with no luck. We had no idea how old the replacement was or if it was even in working condition since this is the only fixture in our (small) house with an E12 base (I think that's it; ~12mm dia, model says its a medium candelabra), but there was no visible damage to either the used or replacement bulb to indicate failure; nor was their any flickering, flashing, etc. to point to the bulb being the siisue. I am aware that doesn't rule out the bulb entirely.

We then partially disconnected the light fixture from the fan base to check the light wires for power, which we did get with both an ohm meter and a circuit tester pen. However, when we tested the light switch with both those tools, neither found power. We tested each tool in other outlets and on other switches (fully installed) and received power, so the tools aren't the problem. We do get power when touching the metal j-box that houses both fan and light switches, but none of the wires for either the fan or the light register power.

I should note that our house was built in the early/mid 1950s, and has very screwy wiring. For example, the two GFCI outlets on either side of the bathroom sink, one quad outlet in the adjacent master bedroom, and the closest living room outlet, are all on the same breaker. Thus it wouldn't surprise me if the bath fan was installed incorrectly, I just don't understand why it would stop working out of the blue.

Also, we just installed the pex line for our ice maker a couple weeks ago; had to crawl around the attic, pull the line out of the wall adjacent to the ceiling fan switch location, and move it to another wall farther away. There is a small chance that I jostled something but I highly doubt it.

Any insight at all as to what to do next would be greatly appreciated.


Old 11-24-14, 10:27 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Your post is fine. However, a non contact test probe is not helpful in repairing or troubleshooting electrical circuits. Its only job is to check for high voltage and to let you know high voltage is present.

In your case... the pen is showing you power but it cannot check for the other half of the circuit which is neutral. You would need a basic ($10-$15) analog meter for testing purposes.
Old 11-26-14, 06:31 AM
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Is the fan working with the other switch?

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