Bathroom vent fan


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Old 08-02-15, 07:59 PM
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Bathroom vent fan

Hello all,

I am in the process of finishing our basement. The previous owners actually finished a bathroom in the basement, which is where I am having an issue. In the bathroom, there are two switches - one controls the lights and the other controls the vent fan. They had wired the switches using 14/3 romex, with the black wire from the 14/3 going to the light switch and red wire from the 14/3 going to the vent fan. I have pulled power from an outlet into a junction box and connected all the black wires and the red wire together, all the neutral wires together and all the grounds together. The lights in the bathroom now work fine but the vent fan does not. When I turn on the switch, there is a very faint "werrrring" noise but it's not turning on full blast like it was before. I can't figure out why the lights would work but not the fan. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-02-15, 08:25 PM
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If there is only the one 3-conductor cable to the switch box and no 2-conductor cable to the switch box you have a switch loop and no power for a receptacle. The white wire if there is only one in the box is not a neutral.

Note there would also be a code issue with a receptacle on a 15 amp circuit in a bathroom even if it could be made to work.
 
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Old 08-03-15, 04:31 AM
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Thank you. I think you are probably correct about the neutral being hot. There is a GFCI outlet in the bathroom but that is on its own 20-amp circuit. I might also mention, in case it matters, that there is an additional 14/2 wire in the junction box. That wire goes to a switch outside the bathroom that works an outdoor light. So in the junction box, there is the power from the source, the 14/2 Romex (going to the outdoor light) and the 14/3 Romex (going to the bathroom switches). I wire-nutted all the hots together, neutrals together, and grounds together in the junction box.

You mentioned a switch loop - what is that? How do I keep the neutral from being hot if that is my issue? I wish they hadn't used the 14/3 wire - I would love to re-wire it but that would require tearing into the sheet rock, which I don't want to do. So I'm just trying to work with what I have.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-03-15, 07:03 AM
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How do I keep the neutral from being hot if that is my issue?
It is supposed to be a hot if you have a switch loop. The white wire caries power to the switch. The red and black carry it back to the vent and light.
So in the junction box, there is the power from the source, the 14/2 Romex (going to the outdoor light)
Explain what you mean and how you determined that. Please post pictures of all the wires and connections at the switch box with the switches pulled out but connections in place. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
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Old 08-03-15, 09:38 AM
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Below is an image of the switches in the bathroom (I'll take a picture of the junction box when I get home from work). But in this picture, the switch on the right is for the vent and the switch on the left is for the light. You can see the red wire from the 14/3 Romex pigtailed to a black wire going to the vent switch. There are also black wires going out of the two switches that are pigtailed together with the 14/2 Romex that I'm assuming then goes to the lights/vent. They have the two neutrals wire-nutted together. I didn't change any of this wiring - this is how it was before I started working on it so I've tried to leave as much of it intact as possible.Name:  Bathroom switches.jpg
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Old 08-03-15, 04:05 PM
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OK - I did some more investigating tonight on my issue. First, I've attached a picture of the junction box. The wire coming in from the top is from the power source (another outlet). There is a 14/3 and 14/2 Romex wire going in from the bottom. I believe the 14/2 is going to another light switch that controls the exterior light. But they both disappear behind some sheet rock right next to the junction box so I can't trace it for sure. But I wire nutted all the hots together, neutrals together and grounds together.

One thing I found today was that the red wire going into the bathroom switch, which is hooked up the switch that controls the vent, is not hot. I'm not sure how that can be since the other end is wire-nutted with all the other hot wires. The black wire coming into the bathroom that controls the light switch out of the same 14/3 Romex is hot. Why would they both not be hot? I guess if I knew the answer to that, maybe that would solve my issue. I also tested the neutral wires with the power and neither of them were hot. Name:  Junction box.jpg
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Old 08-03-15, 05:33 PM
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In the picture in post 5 it looks there is a two wire cable as a feed in and a three wire cable out as the line to the fan. The switches are all back stabbed. The red of the three wire feeds the fan and the black feeds the light. That wiring all looks ok.

Now....I'm not sure what's going on with the single gang box. I see 2) two wire cables and a 1) three wire cable. What is this box used for and why are all the blacks and red combined ?

The single box in post 6 should not be an issue with the double box in post 5 unless one of those two wire cables feeds the two gang box. The three wire cable in the two gang box is not the same three wire cable that you see in the single box.

In the picture below of the two gang box... the red arrow points to the wire that should be hot.

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