I have a bathroom reno, utilizing, a gfi outlet, an exhaust fan, and an over the mirror light fixture.I want them on two switches,(the fan and light) I have a power wire coming into the double box, and a wire for each of the fixtures(light fan, and gfi outlet).I ganged the ground,the white, and black wires together individualy, with a pigtail for each of the two switches.I therefore have...4 ground wires with two pigtails, the four white wires with two pigtails, (1 to outlet, one to fan, one to light, the supply wire, and two pigtails, one for each switch)This is repeated with the black wires.(supply wire, outlet,fan and light wires, with a pigtail for each switch. This seems all theoretically sound to me. Why does this set up, keep tripping the breaker?

2 Answers 2


White wires don't go to simple switches. When you put them on the switch, along with the black pigtails, you create a direct short that trips the breaker (thank goodness!)

The hot wire should be tied to the outlet line (directly) and to two pigtails to the switches. The black lines for the light and fan should be on the other side of the switches.

The white wires should be tied together, but to nothing else.


The way you describe it being wired will result in the light and fan always being on if the switches are off, and the breaker tripping if you turn on a switch.

Remove and discard any white pigtail going to any switch. Into the trash they go.

Tie all the grounds together.

Tie all the whites together.

Tie the black supply wire, black wire to the GFCI, and one black pigtail to each switch. This supplies always-hot to all the places that need it.

What will remain is two dangling black wires, and two empty terminals on two switches. Attach the two wires to the two empty terminals.

Turn off the switches, turn on the breaker and I bet it doesn't trip. The GFCI should work.

Turn on each switch, one at a time, and something should turn on, and no breaker should trip.

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