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I currently have a single pole light switch that powers a exhaust fan/light combo unit. I am replacing the old unit since the motor blew on it. The wiring coming from the ceiling is black, white, red, and bare (ground). I will note that the white wire has black tape on it, though i do not know if it is a switch loop or not. The fan/light combo unit I am looking to install has a blue/white for the fan and a black/white for the light and a ground.

I do not know if this makes a difference but the bathroom is a dual entrance bathroom and the old fan/light combo was able to be powered on both entrances (both single pole switches).

Any help would be appreciated. Ceiling wires Right side of switch

Left side of switch

  • How was the old fan unit wired? – DoxyLover Jun 13 at 9:42
  • @DoxyLover unfortunately I do not have that information. I didn’t take pictures prior to as everything was shoved into the box and not really visible in a picture – Trevor Smith Jun 13 at 9:48
  • Can you attach photos of the wires in the fan box and the wiring in the switch box? – DoxyLover Jun 13 at 9:55
  • Added pictures from switch box and from the wires in the ceiling. I don’t have a picture of the fans wiring itself handy – Trevor Smith Jun 13 at 12:32
  • The one switch with red on 1 side did it have 2 terminals on the other side of the switch if so this is a single pole double throw , normally used for 3 way , we really need to know the wires in each switch location , this is important I have wired bathrooms many different ways , single pole single throw in each location back when timers were first becoming popular, I have put x3 in switch legs for the fan to be on a separate switch from the light. I believe this is a 3 way setup but we need you to pull the switches out and get photos or a complete description of the wires. – Ed Beal Jun 14 at 4:29
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Switch from 2 locations means you have 3 way switches. Pretty sure the black and red wires are travelers between the switches. The white wire (without the black tape) is your neutral and the white with the black tape on it is your switched hot. This is the correct way to do it.

So I believe you need to connect the two red wires with each other, connect the black wires with each other. The white neutral goes to the white wires on the fan/light combo. the black taped white wire goes to the black and blue wires. Both the fan and light will be on at the same time, but I assume that's what you want.

If one of the big 3 here could validate this I'd appreciate it, but I'm pretty sure I got it right.

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  • The white wire is supposed to be the hot on a switch leg , – Ed Beal Jun 14 at 4:13
  • Thanks Ed. But the white wire is code taped black. Doesn't that mean it's the switched hot? – George Anderson Jun 14 at 4:16
  • George white should be the always hot in a switch leg so it is not confused when switched off. Code specifically states you cannot switch the grounded conductor, I don’t remember if that’s where the white being hot comes from but will look it up when I have time. I believe you are right on the 3 ways but have seen and done other things using spst switches when early timers did not have 3 way capability. – Ed Beal Jun 14 at 17:43

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