How To Wire a Bathroom Light and Fan On Separate Switches?

You might be thinking about lowering your electricity bills and cutting down your expenses. Perhaps that’s your primary bull’s-eye target to bringing your high bills to a sudden low. However, your bathroom lights and fan may be having a hearty laugh at you. Most home connections merge the wiring so that bathroom lights and fans operate simultaneously. And undoubtedly, that’s what’s keeping your head spinning with escalated bills, and solving it can seem an uphill task. If that’s your deepest adversary, fret not. This article will provide insight on how to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches.

How To Wire A Bathroom Light And Fan On Separate Switches
Table of Contents

    Electrical Wiring for A Bathroom Light and Exhaust Fan

    Numerous people would prefer having bathroom switches and lights on a single switch, which is less intricate in installation. Also, partly, the low power consumption by both installations gives no reason to keep things separate. However, the cumulative effect is always vast, and bills can be unreasonably high every billing month. If you understand how to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches, it’d be prudent to proceed with the installation.

    Do Bathroom Fans Need To Be GFCI Protected? 

    The National Electrical Code doesn’t mandate GFCI protection to bathroom fan installation. However, installing a ground fault circuit interrupter as a safety code from electrocution is always prudent. Besides, it all depends on your local area code since that usually supersedes the NEC. Like most electrical appliances that come in contact with water, having a circuit interrupter is an essential safety measure. Usually, if you start getting shocked by electricity, the GFCI alleviates injuries by sensing the situation promptly and cutting the power supply. That can be essentially critical for bathroom fans situated above bathtubs or adjacent to showerheads.

    What Wire Type Do You Use In A Bathroom?

    Bathrooms can work pretty fine with 14-gauge or 12-gauge wires connected to 15- and 20-amp circuits, respectively. Most preferably, low voltage wires can fit it perfectly, given the low voltage bathroom requirements. However, non-metallic wires can still do the trick. These wires shouldn’t lay exposed even if they’re insulated well enough. Bearing the risk of electrical shocks can be costly and detrimental. Therefore, installing them in electrical conduits can be a worthy option.

    Can I Wire A Bathroom Fan And Light On Double Switch?

    Based on individual preferences, it’d suit everyone differently. However, It may appear less harsh operating light and exhaust fan switches from a single location instead of separate locations. Therefore, a double switch may seem a viable choice, and rightly so. If you still want this ease of operation but don’t fancy both of them working simultaneously from a single switch, a double switch is a viable go-to option. Just be sure that you’re familiar with how to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches before doing it. The switches will operate separately and independently, offering you a double pole.

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

    Separately installing the fan and light switches is pretty straightforward if you’re with grips with what to do precisely. However, before touching any exposed wires, it’s always essential to turn off the main switch for your safety. And for further safety reasons, you need to keep yourself insulated. Afterward, you can follow the following processes:

    Identify The Circuit Wiring And The Switch Wiring

    Before starting any projects, you should identify the existing switch wiring and circuits first. Make sure you know where the power comes into the circuit. Take out the switch from the wall box, ensuring that no current passes through. You could use a power tester or an ammeter, to be sure. Then, go ahead and identify the circuit wiring and the switch wiring, removing the wires that will work for the fan from their attachments in the connection box.

    Connect The Wires

    For your safety and the longevity of your bathroom electrical system, you need to do everything under the guidance of the National Electrical Code. Adding two separate switches is the ideal solution to isolate the bathroom exhaust fan and the light. The main light switch should be set near the bathroom door. And the fan switch could be located near the mirror. You can also connect the fan switch with an outlet for the use of hairdryers, trimmers, and electric brushes. To create two separate circuits, reconfigure the wiring to allow power routing through the new switch. Then connect the corresponding ground, white, red, and black wires to make them work for the fan circuit. 

    Cover For Safety

    Wrap the new wire joints with masking or electrical tape before feeding them back into the connection box. Put the connection box back together before turning the main switch on. Test your newly separated exhaust fan and light switches and see if they’re working correctly.


    Installing separate switches for bathroom lights and exhaust fans is viable to keep the monthly bills cruising low. It allows you to operate them independently, saving you the energy costs for power that’s unnecessarily consumed. And the installation process isn’t as challenging either as long as you understand your way around it. However, be cautious with your safety, turning the main switch off to prevent unnecessary electrical shocks. If it gives you the jitters, please involve an electrician to do all the hard work for you.

    Related Article: What Is The Best Paint For Steamy Bathroom Ceiling

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