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I'm replacing a bathroom exhaust fan with both a light and…

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I'm replacing a bathroom exhaust...
I'm replacing a bathroom exhaust fan with both a light and heater. There is one switch for each on the bathroom wall. However there are only two runs of romex in the attic. When I connect the romex in the attic per the instructions that came with the fan, the light (first switch, I presume) will not come on. The heater (second switch) and exhaust fan (third switch) will turn on the respective components. However the light switch must be on for each of the other two switches to work. What am I doing wrong?
Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Electrical
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3/7/2018
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago
Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 8,314
Experience: Proven Professional 49 years Experience
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Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be assisting you. Please stand by while I review your question.

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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Swap the wires the light is on. You have the hot wire reversed with the switched wire.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
then I guess that means that the switch is wired backwards? The wire colors in the attic are matched -- blue wire from light to black going to switch, white wire from light to white going to switch.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Your description of the problem indicates the wires are reversed.

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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

I was wondering if you corrected the issue. If completed, please rate the answer. 5 stars would be appreciated.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I'm unable to get to trying as you suggested until tonight or tomorrow, I'll circle back as soon as I can confirm.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Very good.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Sorry for the long delay. Your fix did not work. The light switch (first in gang of 3) works, but the second and third switches now do not work
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Can you send a picture of the switch. I need to see the side where the hot wire terminates.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
will have to you shortly
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Standing by.

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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

I see that you have 2 switches instead of a triple switch. I assume the single pole is the switch for the light, with the black and white wire. If so, those are the 2 wires I suggested swapping. Are they the ones you swapped?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
actually swapped the wires in the attic per your first suggestion, so that now the first switch to the light is in fact working, but the other two switches that control fan and heater now do not turn on power.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Swap the black and white wires on the single pole switch.

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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

You have 4 wires for connection to the switches. Only one is hot. From the picture it appears to be the white. That is the one that has the jumper to the second switch. All black wires are function wirrs with the common feed hot wire.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Switched the wires, now black wire on top connection and white wire on bottom of first switch. First and second switches don't work, third switch now turns on the light. Attached pic taken from above, top to bottom are the switches from left to right
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Picture is blank.

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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Let's start over.

  1. Test each wire to ground for 120V. That is the hot wire.
  2. Touch the identified hot to each of the 3 remaining wires to verify function, light, fan,heat.
  3. Connect the hot wire on shitches to operate functions.
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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Another thing is suggested. If you have 2 gangs for 2 switches, you should have a single pole for the light and a switch over switch for the fan and heat.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I can try later today to test each switch as you described when my son gets home to assist. Thanks for your help. This is an old home built 30+ years ago, so all I can tell is what I know and what I'm seeing and what happens when I do as you suggested. As you've seen in the pics the bathroom has three single pole switches. There are three separate pieces of romex plus the 120 line coming into the switch box and wired to the switches as you have seen in the pictures I've sent. However there are only two pieces of Romex in the attic that the wiring from fan box is attaching to.I don't quite understand why there are two Romex leads in the attic and three in the switchbox but I'm assuming you know why.
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Only needing 3 function wires, the additional Romex may be the feed for the fan. If it is the whites tie together except ones used for function wires. one black is the hot and the other are function wires. You need to ring the wires out.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
What does 'ring the wires out' mean?
Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Test them for voltage and function.

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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 4 months ago

Test as follows.

  1. Test each hot to ground for voltage.
  2. The black hot identified will have a white that is a neutral. Test hot black to white for 120V.
  3. You now have 2 cables with black and white wires
  4. Connect one of those blacks to the identified hot. Now touch the identified neutral to the other whites to see which will bring on a function.
  5. Connect the white neutral to the one that gave a function and push to back of the box.
  6. You will have a black hot, 2 black function and 1 white function. Tape that white with black tape identifing it as being used for a hot.
  7. Connect the hot to switches and the function wires as you want on the switches.

That is why you have 2 cables in the attic and 3 in the switch box

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