I’m fairly new to doing my own electrical so be gentle if this is a simple question.

I’m trying to install a fan button timer along with a new rocker switch for my bathroom. In the image below the left side is the light and the right is the fan switch currently. How do I go about installing the two new switches that have the usual black/white/green? I’ve done simple single switches and dimmers before but have yet to run across one where the two are tied together like so.

If any additional info is needed, let me know and I can get it to you.


enter image description here

  • The wire tying the switches together is just a means to supply power to the two switches. Jul 23, 2018 at 4:50
  • What do you mean "the usual black/white/green"? Do your new switches have wires sticking out instead of screw terminals? Jul 23, 2018 at 4:52
  • Sorry no. the new rocker switch just has screws, the button timer has wires already attached. Poor wording on my part. It’s one of these amazon.ca/Enerlites-HET06-W-Countdown-Switch-Bathroom/dp/…
    – nstclair13
    Jul 23, 2018 at 5:00

2 Answers 2


Wire it like this:


It's very straightforward, except that the timer-switch requires a neutral connection (to its white wire), and the timer-switch has wires coming out of it instead of having screw terminals.

The timer-switch switched-hot is the red wire, and this should be connected to the black wire in the right-side cable, which leads to the fan.

  • Thank you! It all makes sense now and I feel a little dumb not realizing it’s a simple concept. I think I was just thrown off by the two being connected instead of pigtailed plus wires on the timer instead of screws. Appreciate the help!
    – nstclair13
    Jul 23, 2018 at 19:25

The two wires on that screw are:

  • The end of the supply wire coming from the breaker panel (or an upstream location), stabbed into the left switch.
  • A jumper taking power also over to the other switch, stabbed into the right switch and screwed into the left.

In this case, they use both the backstab and the screw. This is not good practice and is a super lazy installer trick. (frankly the same could be said of backstabs generally, they are not reliable in the long term.)

I recommend you pigtail both switches. The wires I mentioned, pull them both out of the backstabs. Now the left one has a pigtail, that was easy. Get 6" of #14 solid wire and put a similar pigtail on the right switch, use the screw not the stab. (backstabs can't be used twice.) Now use a wirenut to join both pigtails and the power supply switch.

Suddenly this all will make a lot more sense.

I am a huge believer in designing the junction box to make sense, rather than trying to remember a complex configuration, and then having to reverse engineer it later. My primary weapon is colored electrical tape, wrapped a few times around the wire to mark it. So I would mark the bottom wires on each switch, yellow for the lamp and blue for the fan.

  • Thanks for the quick replies Let me see if I understand completely. I remove the bottom left wire & the top right wire joining the two switches together. This leaves the left switch with one wire, pigtailed to the center orange wirenut. I then pigtail the right switch, the left switch (by disconnecting it from the orange wirenut) & the lone wire from upstream together resulting in 3 wirenuts? On the new switches I would connct the new corresponding pigtails, white to the bundle of whites, and grounds together? What about the black wire for the right switch going back into the wall?
    – nstclair13
    Jul 23, 2018 at 6:55
  • No, leave the bottom wires alone, make it so the tops of each switch have only 1 wire each, and they go into the orange nut (which I did not notice before sorry). Jul 23, 2018 at 10:21
  • that makes sense! These are the old switches though and the new bathroom timer has wires coming out of it already (white, black, green and red). Would it be correct to attach the bottom right with the red?
    – nstclair13
    Jul 23, 2018 at 13:56
  • That's correct. The red wire goes to the black wire in the right-side cable, which leads to the fan. Jul 23, 2018 at 18:02
  • @nstclair13 Yes, that's why I had you put pigtails on the switches. Consider the pigtails part of the switch, just as those built-in pigtails are part of the timer switch. Jul 23, 2018 at 19:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.