Help with Bathroom Project


Old 09-14-15, 07:31 AM
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Help with Bathroom Project

Hi everybody! I'm hoping this crowd can help me out with a problem I'm having.


I have a two story house with attached garage that was built in 1995. I have a single 15A circuit that provides service to my master bedroom on the second floor, attached master bath, my second floor guest bathroom, my garage, and both outside outlets; one on the front porch and one on the back of the house.

The master bedroom: five outlets and a three gang switch box. The switch box has one switch for one of the outlets in the bedroom, one switch for the ceiling fan motor, and one switch for the ceiling fan light.

The master bathroom: The room is separated. One area for the sink/closet and another with the toilet/shower. One GFCI outlet in the sink area, a single gang switch box for the sink lights, a single gang switch box for the closet light, and a single gang switch box for the dome light with the toilet/shower.

Guest bathroom: only one outlet. The lights in this room are on a different circuit.

Garage: two outlets. The lights in this room are also on a different circuit.

External: the two mentioned outlets, both of which are GFCI.

The circuit is terminated at the GFCI on the front porch, but I'm not sure where it starts.


My project was supposed to be simple. The master bath only had a single dome light as it has a window. I wanted to add a fan so I bought this fan. I also wanted to add a recessed light inside the shower and purchased this one. I wanted to have the light on the fan and the recessed light on one switch and the fan motor on another, so I bought this combo switch.

After getting the holes cut and the fan box and recessed light mounted, I went to work on the wiring. In the single gang switch box in the bathroom were three 14-2 romex connections. One for the feed, one to carry the circuit to the guest bathroom, and one for the light in the bathroom (this is my assumption of the route as I have never actually mapped the circuit). I replaced the 14-2 for the light with 14-3 by cutting it in the wall and above in the attic and dropping the 14-3 down. The 14-3 goes from the switch box to a junction box that I installed in the attic. From there I paired in another 14-3 wire to go to the fan and a 14-2 wire going to the recessed light. Everything was matched in the junction box color for color (three white, three black, three ground, and two red). The recessed light was also wired color for color as per the installation instructions (white to white, black to black, ground to ground). The fan was also wired per the instructions (white to white, ground to ground, black to black for the fan motor, and red to blue for the light).

In the switch box I spliced the feed wire black to the line wire to continue the circuit together with a small lead. The lead was connected to the line side of the switch (tab intact). All three whites were paired together. The grounds were paired with a lead wire that was connected to the ground terminal on the switch. The black and red off the 14-3 going to the junction box were put on their respective switched terminals (one switch for each).


When I powered the circuit back on at the breaker with the new switches turned off, the GFCI on the front of the house tripped and would not reset. I killed the breaker and double and then triple checked all my wire nut connections. I found three that had suspect loose wires, re-secured them, and verified that none of the wires were loose by giving them individual tugs. I energized the circuit again and tried resetting the GFCI with no luck. I checked all my connections again, and when I didn't find anything else wrong, removed the switch and new wiring from the equation by pairing the feed line and the wire going over to the guest bathroom. Again, this resulted in no change. I pulled the GFCI outlet in the bathroom (which should be the first circuit upstream from the switch) and tested for power with a big fat 0v. That's when I ran out of time to work on it last night and just shut the breaker down until I get home from work.

My plan to day is to start tracing the circuit by testing power at the breaker and working from there if power exists. The breaker does make a nice and firm click when flipped. I wanted to post to see if anyone had any other ideas or maybe see something that I missed along the way. I can post pictures if needed.
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Old 09-14-15, 09:58 AM
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I have a single 15A circuit that provides service to my master bedroom on the second floor, attached master bath, my second floor guest bathroom, my garage, and both outside outlets; one on the front porch and one on the back of the house.
This is a major problem. A bathroom by current code must have a dedicated 20 amp receptacle circuit. Major electrical often voids any grandfathering of the old circuit. Second problem is there is just probably too many things on this circuit.

You could by code install a single 20 amp circuit to provide receptacles only in both baths but the lights and fans would have to be on a different circuit.

You could run a separate 20 amp circuit to each bathroom in which case the lights and fans in each bathroom could share.

Not an answer to your question but what you have needs to be upgraded if possible and if you pulled a permit your new work may not pass inspection.

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