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Posted by: from Winnipeg
3/19/2013 at 12:27:56 PM

I'm wiring a basement washroom with an inline fan which will also exhaust the upstairs washroom.

The power will come from an existing 15 AMP breaker.

The power (14-2 wire) can be run into any one the basement washroom locations.

That is:

GFCI receptacle

Either Light (not preferable as I have to daisy chain the two lights)

Switch Box (will consist of one single pole switch for the light) and (one three way switch which will also go to a separate 3 way switch in the upstairs washroom)

Junction Box (if necessary)

What is the best way to wire this configuration? Illustrations would be a benefit.

Hank

REPLIES (14)
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Date/Time3/19/2013 at 12:44:37 PM

Hank / Jeff - Based on the questions you are asking, I would urge you to hire an electrician to make sure everything is done to code and safely.

If this is your own home, you can probably pull your own permit and get some guidance from the electrical inspector.

I am not a sparky but I think your proposed configuration is going to need at least 2 circuits.

Hopefully, some of the electricians on the site can give you better guidance.

Good luck with it.

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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Date/Time3/19/2013 at 1:36:32 PM

Hi Hank

Believe it or not this is a fairly complex request. In fact it is a test question that I use to gauge the competency of some applicants. Jim is right; you likely want / need to enlist the assistance of an electrician.

There are a few questions / considerations also before an answer can be provided.

1. How will you know if the fan is running or not? In other words is there some sort of indicator light, or is it so noisy that you can hear it?

2. Do you want the fan to run independently from the light? So if the shower is being used in one, but the fan can be controlled by another occupant in the other washroom, this can cause an issue for exhausting.

3. Lastly do you want a timer on the fan? This adds a totally element to the situation.

If you provide answers to those questions, you may get some better responses.

Cheers

John

John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Jeff in Winnipeg
Date/Time3/19/2013 at 1:49:57 PM

Thank you for the replies.

Here is some additonal clarification

1. You will be able to hear the fan running?

2. I want the fan to run independently from the light. I live alone in the house.

3. No timer on the fan?

If this does not meet code then I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks

Hank

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/19/2013 at 3:20:31 PM

You should also take into consideration the amperage of the fan and find out how close to capacity your breaker is running currently.

You mention this will exhaust in combination with another room upstairs? This is not a good idea depending on how you run the ductwork, you will also reduce the cfm being drawn from each vent which may render the fan useless from doing its job.

Is it exhausting odours in both cases or humidity?

The fan may be wired in many variations depending on the use and the amount of skill you have in wiring.

Is there open access framing or drywalled walls and ceiling's.

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Date/Time3/19/2013 at 3:55:15 PM

If you are concerned about code, you'll start with the fans - you're not allowed to use fans this way because the air flow is not evenly shared.

As I understand it, in Ontario, the homeowner is allowed to perform electrical work in their own home without an inspection. Go figure.

As for your question, take the power directly to the GFCI, power goes in to the bottom (near the ground terminal) and everything out of the top is protected. (Do NOT mix up the neutrals - they are not "common") You can distribute this as you like, ie, branch to the light switches, 2nd outlet and the fan circuit.

You'll need two switches in each room - single pole light and 3 pole fan. From the GFCI, take 14-2 to the nearest box and put power to the single pole switch. We don't know where your fan is but you have to get power to the other single pole switch (and presumably the outlet in the other bathroom) and the common in one of the three ways. You will probably run a 14-2 and a 14-3 between the two lots of switches - 14-2 for the lighting and 14-3 for the fan switches but this depends on the layout. The common on the other three way goes to the fan. All neutrals are joined and end at that neutral connection on the GFCI. And all grounds are connected properly.

I don't know how to put a drawing in here but I always draw my circuit AND routing first. If you can't draw the circuit - CALL AN ELECTRICIAN. This is not a time for guesswork.

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Jeff in Winnipeg
Date/Time3/19/2013 at 4:00:09 PM

The fan is a Nu Tone 130 CFM, 5" duct. The duct work runs approximately 8 ' to the upstairs vent with one 90 degree turn to mount to the intake (Y connector). The second duct is about 3' long and runs horizontally into the other intake of the Y connector.

There is no ceiling and the fan is mounted between the joists.

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Date/Time3/19/2013 at 4:27:48 PM

@ John from Amazing Renovation. Your statement about homeowners in Ontario is not true. They are allowed to do their own electrical work, but it must be inspected by the ESA. Hank is from Winnipeg, so I am not sure what the rules are there... so I cannot comment on that issue.

@ Hank - One of the things that I try, that Robert eluded to is keeping the bathrooms on separate circuits. Now perhaps in your case living alone it is not an issue, but when it comes time to sell or you are not living along, it is very frustrating to have the two or more bathrooms on the same circuit. It is electrical code compliant, but it is not a good practice. So in the end the choice is yours on what and how you want to do.

I cannot speak to the code on the HVAC side, so it is possible that you cannot do what you want from that perspective either. My approach would be to have the fan and lights on one circuit and the two GFCI receptacles on a separate circuit.

My approach would be to have the lights and the fans controlled by a single switch. This allows for independent operation of the lights while ensuring that the fan is running when one or both bathrooms are being used. Before you start worrying about the wiring, I would consult an HVAC guy to see what you want to do is code compliant with their rules.

Cheers

John

John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/19/2013 at 4:29:38 PM

Be very cautious when taking electrical advice from non-electricians as it is easy to get confused and create very hazardous installations.

Remember, never, ever switch a neutral wire.

John if I may add --- you spoke about the "bottom" of the GFCI, this is not always the case as different manufacturers wire their devices differently. You need to be sure of "line and load" not "top and bottom".

These type of "in-line" fans are not designed to be installed in closed walls but rather in attic spaces where access can be easily gained for cleaning or repairs instead of cutting massive holes to find it after the fan ceases to work (yes they are not lifetime). I've seen some needing replacement after 12 months and not all the fans are designed to be installed in "any mounting position" as the bearings may or may not support vertical or horizontal installation, check the documentation.

It is wise to seek some local help from a licensed electrician, even call a company to visit you for a small fee.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/19/2013 at 4:32:08 PM

My comment was for John from Amazing Renovations, not John from Datawise ;)

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Jeff in Winnipeg
Date/Time3/19/2013 at 4:37:05 PM

Thanks to everyone for their input.

I'm going to simplfy matters. The washroom upstairs has never had a fan so I'll contine to use the window:)

Let me start again.

I'm wiring a basement washroom with an inline fan.

The power will come from an existing 15 AMP breaker.

The power (14-2 wire) can be run into any one the basement washroom locations except the fan.

That is:

GFCI receptacle

Either Light (not preferable as I have to daisy chain the two lights)

Switch Box (will consist of one single pole switch for the light and one single pole switch for the fan

Junction Box (if necessary)

The fan will be the end of the line.

What is the best way to wire this configuration? Illustrations would be a benefit.

Hank

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Date/Time3/19/2013 at 7:41:51 PM

Hank,

You have had some pretty good advice from some professionals and it seems like you just don't like their answers. I don't know why as you are the one that asked for help and got it. The general theme of the help is that it is doable but it is complicated and should be done, or at least drawn up by a professional so it is safe for you and you family.

You now have 3 options that I can see.

1) Blast away and do what makes you happy, regardless of the advice given.

2) Put your project details in the "post your project" section so you can get some local electricians to come and have a look and maybe give you some more free advice.

3) Find a DIY electrical forum that will draw it up for you and hope you can follow the drawings successfully.

Kind of harsh but my 2 cents FWIW.

Good Luck

Jim Kuzma

Kettleby Handyman Services

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time3/19/2013 at 7:58:18 PM

Honestly Jeff, everyone likes to save money, but if you are having a tough time wiring up something very remedial like this, it asks the question to us pros "how many mistakes could be made in that wiring job that could potentially cause a fire or electrocute someone?"

I, for one, prefer not to assist people and potentially be responsible for hazards that take lives. Electricity kills people everyday and is not without risk, human or property.

I am not in the location to stop by and help you so my professional advice is to call a licensed electrician, pay $100 and at least get the risky parts done right leaving you with a simple feed to connect to the fan.

If I were closer, I'd be happy to help you.

One thing you did not think of is odours being transferred from room to room when the fan is not on.

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Jeff in Winnipeg
Date/Time3/20/2013 at 9:33:39 AM

Well Jim and Robert I tend to disagree with your last statements.

The theme coming from the previous e-mails was not to have one fan for both locations. Advice was taken.

Then there was a diffence of opinion on how to wire the GFCI..."John if I may add --- you spoke about the "bottom" of the GFCI, this is not always the case as different manufacturers wire their devices differently. You need to be sure of "line and load" not "top and bottom"

And then John said take the power directly to the GFCI first.

He has basically given me his advise. Thanks for the help everyone

Hank

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Date/Time3/20/2013 at 5:49:53 PM

@ Hank - Actually I think the advice that has been given is that you need more information before you proceed. Have you confirmed that your plan is code compliant with the HVAC side of the house? Have you confirmed that you can do your own electrical work? (Not sure what the rules are in Winnipeg). Do you have the necessary permits and inspections?

Second to all of that, you have been given some specific electrical advice on considerations. As an example, I would not consider putting all of that on the load side of a GFCI. I suspect the fan will trip the GFCI. But more importantly, I don't think you have considered issues beyond your immediate desire to get the job done. As Robert pointed out, what about the smells migrating, what about access for maintenance and repair, what about future use of the washrooms beyond your single occupancy lifestyle?

Although these are not necessarily electrical questions, they are questions that effect how and why the electrical work will be done. Further to Robert's comment, we all get that everyone wants to save some money; so I guess is that don't waste it on doing something that will not be code compliant or devalue your home in the future.

Cheers

John

John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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