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How To Wire A Bathroom Fan And A Light On Separate Switches

Do you want to know how to connect a bathroom fan and light to two different switches? Sometimes you want the light to be on a separate switch so you can turn it on silently.

The most important thing to remember is that a new wiring line from the bathroom fan to the wall switch may be required. Please continue reading to discover the materials you will need and our step-by-step wiring instructions on how to wire a bathroom fan and a light on separate switches.

What You Need To Know About Wiring A Double Switch Bathroom Fan And Light

What You Need To Know About Wiring A Double Switch Bathroom Fan And Light

The most important thing to remember when wiring a bath fan and light on separate switches is that you will need to connect the bathroom fan to the existing switch using a new wire cable.

If you only have a regular fan with no light or heater, you will only need 12/2 wiring, consisting of a single hot, a single neutral, and a ground.

If you wish to wire a fan and light to separate switches, you will need two hots flowing from the bath fan to the wall switch. Two hots, one neutral and one ground, are included in the 12/3 cable.

In most circumstances, homeowners should hire a certified electrician to complete this task. It is almost certain that your local municipal or county code will also need it.

If the wiring is done poorly, there is a risk of electrical shock or perhaps a fire. Electricians use a variety of tricks and procedures to get the new electrical cable through a wall or ceiling that the typical homeowner may not be aware of.

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The Supplies You’ll Need To Wire An Exhaust Fan And Light On Separate Switches

The Supplies You'll Need To Wire An Exhaust Fan And Light On Separate Switches
The Supplies You’ll Need To Wire An Exhaust Fan And Light On Separate Switches
  • 12/3 Cable: To use two different switches, the bathroom fan requires 12/3 wiring from the housing to the switch. Two hots (black/red), one neutral (white), and one ground (green/copper) are included in 12/3 wiring.
  • Double Toggle Wall Switches: These double-wall switches contain two toggles, allowing you to control the light and fan individually.
  • Wire Nuts: To connect the hots, neutrals, and grounds, you will need wire nuts. The tried-and-true wire nut can be used. However, current quick connections or Wago lever nuts are the most straightforward option.
  • A Fish Tape: A fish tape set will come in handy if you need a new 12/3 wire from the bath fan to the wall switch. The fish tape is flexible and will let you pass the wiring through the ceiling or wall.
  • Electrical Tape: To secure the connections, wrap one or two wraps of standard electrical tape around the wall switch.

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How To Wire A Bathroom Fan And A Light On Separate Switches

#1. Turn Off Power at Panel and Verify It’s Off

As with any wiring job, the first step is to switch off the electricity at the panel box. We also propose utilizing a non-contact voltage tester to ensure the exhaust fan is turned off.

A non-contact voltage tester can identify whether there is power by simply reaching close to the wire or double switch. It will beep or light up if there is still power (and some do both).

#2. Remove Old 12/2 Wiring From Bath Fan

Remove the wiring cover plate from the bath fan housing and disconnect the existing 12/2 wiring from the housing. The ground wire is usually linked to the grounding terminal on the cover plate.

Wire nuts or quick attaches will link the two hots (one for the fan and one for the light) to the old 12/2 cord. Unplug the wiring.

#3. Connect the New Ground to Housing

Connect the new 12/3 cable’s ground to the bath fan housing. On the wiring cover, there is usually a ground terminal. Hook and crimp the ground wire clockwise around the terminal before tightening the screw.

Connect the new 12_3 cable's ground to the bath fan housing
Connect the new 12_3 cable’s ground to the bath fan housing

#4. Connect the Hot Wires At Housing

Connect the housing to the new 12/3 hot wires. One hot wire (red or black) will be connected to the exhaust fan, and the second 12/3 hot wire will be illuminated (red or black).

The housing’s light and exhaust fan hot wires can be red, black, or blue. You will need to use wire nuts, quick connections, or a Wago lever nut to connect these wires.

#5. Connect the Neutrals At Housing

Connect the new 12/3 cable’s single neutral wire to the neutrals from the exhaust fan and the light. A wire nut fast connects or Wago lever nut will be required to connect these neutrals.

#6. Push Wiring Into Housing And Secure Cover

Push the wire connections into the wiring compartment or housing of the bathroom fan. Remove the wiring cover plate and replace it. Using a connection or grommet, you may ensure that the wiring is protected from sharp edges.

#7. Route the New 12/3 Cable to the Double Switch

The new 12/3 cable must be pulled through the ceiling to the wall switch if the walls are done. It may be easier to accomplish it through the attic if you have access to one. The most challenging element of the wiring job may be routing the new 12/3 cable to the wall switch.

Route the New 12_3 Cable to the Double Switch
Route the New 12_3 Cable to the Double Switch

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#8. Connect the Grounds At Switch

At the wall switch, connect all of the grounds. One ground will come from the bath fan’s new 12/3 wire; another ground will come from the wall switch box, and a third ground will come from the panel box.

A wire nut, fast connector, or Wago connector will be required to connect these grounds. In addition, you will need to make a ground pigtail (short ground wire) that connects the switch to this pigtail. Push it to the back of the switch box to get it out of the way after connecting the grounds.

#9. Connect The Two Neutrals At Switch

Connect the neutral wires to the switch box on the wall. One neutral will come from the bathroom fan, and the other will come from the panel box.

You will need a wire nut, fast connect, or Wago lever nut to join these two neutral wires. Push it inside the switch box once they are connected to get it out of the way.

#10. Connect Ground Pigtail To Switch Terminal

The ground wire from the pigtail (made earlier) should be connected to the switch. Crimp the ground wire after wrapping it clockwise around the switch ground terminal. The nut can then be tightened with a screwdriver.

#11. Connect Power to the Common Terminal

Connect the switch terminal to the single power wire (from the panel box).

The connection should be labeled “common,” and the power line should be connected to one of these “common” terminals. You can attach it to either common terminal because it is a single circuit.

#12. Connect Hot Wires to the Switch Bronze Terminals

Connect Hot Wires to the Switch Bronze Terminals
Connect Hot Wires to the Switch Bronze Terminals

Connect the two hot wires from the exhaust fan and light to the bronze terminals. These bronze terminals should have “A1” and “A2” on them. You will have to choose whether you want the bath fan or the light controlled by the top switch.

Crimp each hot wire on the bronze terminal by wrapping it clockwise around it. The bronze terminals can then be tightened with a screwdriver.

#13. Wrap With Electrical Tape

To secure the wiring, wrap the wall switch with electrical tape once or twice. The terminals should be wrapped in electrical tape.

#14. Secure the Double Switch and Re-install the Cover Plate.

Using the screws provided, secure the switch to the switch box. The cover plate can then be snapped on, or a single small screw can be used.

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Safety Tips For Wiring Bathroom Circuits

The best approach to avoiding electrocution is to install a ground fault circuit interrupter in your bathroom circuit. Extractor fans, in general, help to keep bathroom circuits safe by preventing moisture buildup from steam. Another essential safety suggestion is to use splash-resistant switches on all bathroom devices, which allow you to turn them on and off safely with wet hands.

Using splash-resistant switches on all bathroom devices
Using splash-resistant switches on all bathroom devices

Separating your circuits can also help with bathroom safety because a malfunction on one circuit will not affect another. Your lights will stay on if your fan short circuits, allowing you to repair it. If you are concerned about the safety of your bathroom circuits, you should get them checked by an electrician.

Conclusion

Routing the new wiring connection from the housing to the wall switch is frequently the most challenging component of bathroom fan wiring to separate switches. It can be challenging, and you may need to go into the attic to complete the task. This aspect can also be considerably helped if you hire an experienced electrician who has a variety of techniques up their sleeve.

Do not forget that you can connect a new bathroom fan and light to various types of wall switches. There are timer switches and even humidity sensors embedded in the switches.

Thank you for your time and hope you can find some useful tips from our article on how to wire a bathroom fan and a light on separate switches.

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