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Thread: Wire question on bathroom fan/light combo

  1. #1

    Default Wire question on bathroom fan/light combo

    my wife wants me to replace a light/fan combo with just a light. I pulled the fan/light combo out and installed a light. There are 3 wires, red, black and white. There are 2 switches which operated the light/fan. One has a black & red connected the other has 2 black. I would like to figure out how to hook this up correctly and only use one switch. is the red the hot wire? so do I hook the light up red & white and cap the black? On the switch same red & white and cap black? thanks

  2. #2
    Master Electrician Chrissimms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Cohutta GA


    To make it simple...
    Cap off the black wire from the switches at the light....
    Put the red wire from the switches on the BLACK wire of the light...
    White wire to white.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default switch

    You disconnect the wire, black or red, from which ever switch you are not going to use, and connect the black or red wire from the other one to the light. Are you going to remove the unused switch to eliminate any confusion?

  4. #4

    Default re switch

    Yes, I would like to remove the extra switch. I assume I cap off each of unused wires. The screwy thing is one switch has 2 black wires on it. I'll give it a go and post. thanks again

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    It's not screwy at all! Both the original things (heater and light) need both power and neutral (and ground for safety). They used the red lead to provide power to one thing, and the black wire to supply it to the other. Since each switch needs power to be able to run it through the switch, a black from somewhere provides that to both switches. My guess is you have probably two cables coming into that box by the switches: one x/2 (a black and white) and an x/3 (B, W, R). The white wires are probably tied together in the back of the box. Then, the black goes to both switches, branched from the incoming hot. When the switch is on, that power then goes through the switch up to the fixture. Normally, red is used for switched power. So, you'd cap off the black from the x/3 cable (that goes up to the fixture), and use the red to provide power to it through the switch.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014


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