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I'm a new homeowner looking to swap the 2-gang (switch) light/exhaust fan combo in my bathroom for a wifi-enabled version. When I pulled the existing switch out, I noticed something quite interesting:

  1. The hot wires to the light/fan are independent
  2. No ground was connected
  3. The two white neutrals are wire-nutted together to a single neutral.

I'd still like to install the wifi-switch, which requires a neutral. Based on previous threads here, I'm not sure if I could

  • A. Add a third white neutral from the wifi-switch at the wire-nut
  • B. Ignore the neutrals from the light/fan and just cable up the switch
  • C. Other

Thank youenter image description here

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  • The hot wires to the light/fan must be independent, else you couldn't control them separately. - The question is, are the hot feeds to the two switches independent, i.e. do they arise from different circuit breakers? Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 6:58
  • AFAICT - No, they are not independent. The Breaker controls 3 rooms worth of outlets :-|
    – NJL
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 7:10
  • The only mildly interesting thing about what you noticed is that the grounds weren't connected. The incoming ground (from where power comes from) should be connected to the outgoing grounds (to the fan & light) in a pig-tail, just like the neutrals. There should have been additional short ground leads from there going to each of the two switches, assuming the switches have a ground screw, and anything made in at least the last 30 years (much longer, I'm sure) should have a ground screw.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 11:28
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    Can you post photos of the inside of the switch box please? Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 12:45
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    Are you sure these are neutrals? They could be switch legs a better description of the wiring may be helpful. Or a photo.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 14:16

1 Answer 1

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You can add another to the connection of existing neutrals, you will likely need to change the yellow connectors on the neutral and ground with larger (red) connectors. Most yellow connectors are only NRTL Listed for 3@#12 or 4@#14.

The existing switch should also have a connection to the grounds, you will need to make sure you connect to the ground of your new switch.

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  • Thank you. Originally, there was electrical tape around the current device - is that normal? I'm more concerned that this work is risky as-is...
    – NJL
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 4:23
  • Not normal, but generally considered acceptable. Some guys put tape around every device, I only taped devices in metal cut-in boxes. More often than not when I found tape around a device it was something I needed to work hot and it really got in the way. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 4:51

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