I have a bathroom light fixture and a fan that are currently both independently controlled by their own switches. I'd like to wire it (preferably without having to go into the attic to change the current wiring...asbestos insulation) such that when the light comes on, the fan also comes on, but the fan can be operated independently.

Truth Table of desired effect
| Light Switch | Fan Switch | Light | Fan |
| Off          | Off        | Off   | Off |
| Off          | On         | Off   | On  |
| On           | Off        | On    | On  |
| On           | On         | On    | On  |

The current wiring is like this for both switches.

enter image description here

I was thinking that there has to be some way to wire the switches together with 3 or 4-way switches in order to acheive the desired effect, but I am having trouble coming up with a solution. Thoughts?

  • 1
    😍 this is a beautifully asked question – Rian Sanderson Jul 22 '20 at 18:02

You could do that with a double pole switch and a single pole normal switch. Wire the hot to both of the line side poles on the double pole switch as well as to the single pole switch.

Wire both the fan and the light to individual poles on switched side of the double pole switch. Then run a jumper from the pole that controls the fan on the double pole switch to the switched side of the single pole switch. All the neutrals and grounds stay connected as they are. Don't get confused with a 3-way or 4-way switch, those are different animals. You may have to go to an electrical supply house to get a true double pole wall switch.

I could provide a diagram if you want. But I want to post this quickly to beat out the big 3! LOL Competition for points here is fierce! LOL

Double pole switch

Carl asked me to provide more info. This what I have time for right now. If others wanted to contribute a better diagram, that's welcome.

Crude diagram of solution

  • Genius! I knew I was missing something. A double pole switch would do it. Didn't even know that was a thing. Thanks!!! – Reid Jul 22 '20 at 12:33
  • 1
    @Harper-ReinstateMonica, the price isn't too bad; you can find them for $6: homedepot.com/p/…-pipsem--301447162--202027029--N – Nate S. Jul 22 '20 at 17:06
  • 1
    @Reid and now you can substitute the SPST with a timer or motion activated switch. – P2000 Jul 22 '20 at 17:20
  • 2
    @P2000, or even better, a moisture sensor -- that way, the fan won't turn off until it's finished its job. – Nate S. Jul 22 '20 at 17:42
  • 2
    @FreeMan What "writeo"? I don't see no stinking writeo! LOL (fixed it). Must be frustrating for you not to be able to edit a graphic! He he he. Also, what a "nice" term, "organic fumes" for poo poo odor! Gotta leave it to the Brits to be proper (figured it was a Brit due to the spelling of vapor (vapour). ) – George Anderson Jul 22 '20 at 21:33

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.