I am replacing my bathroom ventilation fan and moving it right above the shower area. According to code Fan needs to be on GFCI now.

Please take a look at picture near vanity wall.

On Left there are two switches, one for fan and one for light.

On right side, there is a GFCI outlet.

Currently, neither of the switches are on GFCI.

Although on same breaker circuit, GFCI outlet and switches are getting power from different lines (red lines in pictures)

There is a wall cavity between switch box and outlet box.

I am thinking of fishing short length of 14/2 NM cable (green line in 2nd picture)between switch box and outlet box and feed power to 2nd switch (for fan) from load side of GFCI outlet. This way fan will be protected by GFCI. No change for light switch wiring.

1st picture shows current wiring. 2nd picture shows proposed wiring. Red lines are supply lines. All cables are 14/2 NM cables.

Please let me know if I can do this or not. I am not sure if there are any violations in my plan.

If you can also explain how I should connect neutral and ground wires coming from green line to 2nd switch , I would really appreciate.

Current wiring current wiring

Proposed wiring proposed wiring

Additional details

Fan make/model : Broan-NuTone AE80B

GFCI outlet is on 15 amps breaker circuit.

GFCI outlet doesn't feed any other outlets. Only wire goes in it is supply line.

  • 3
    What size circuit breaker is the GFCI on? How do you know the wiring is that way ? Apr 28, 2021 at 2:40
  • 1
    What make and model is your bath fan? Does the circuit your bathroom receptacle is on serve any other bathrooms? Apr 28, 2021 at 4:08
  • @Harper - Reinstate Monica, circuit breaker size is 15 amps. I opened switch box and outlet box, tested with no-contact tester multiple times to determine how it is wired. Apr 28, 2021 at 10:20
  • 1
    Based on the added info, this strikes me as being perfectly reasonable. However, you've got Harper & TPE's attention on this, and as they're far more qualified than I, I'm sure they'll be back to give you an "official" OK.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 28, 2021 at 13:04
  • 1
    @EdBeal NEC 110.2 and 110.3(B). It's a UL White Book requirement so any light on the market will require it. Similar to "GFCI Protected" labels. See also Apr 28, 2021 at 16:45

1 Answer 1


Consider the switch and fan as a system. Together, if we ignore the wires that interconnect them to each other, they are inputting 1 hot wire and 1 neutral wire. Both those wires need to be attached to the LOAD side of one GFCI device.

That's it.

In your question, you are claiming that power comes to the switch first, then proceeds to the fan via an entirely separate /2 cable than is used by the light. Obviously if those facts are untrue, then this advice is void.

Replace the fan switch with a GFCI switch... and yer done.

A GFCI switch looks like a GFCI receptacle, but with no sockets.

The Test/Reset buttons are re-cast to be "Off/On" buttons. This is UL approved.

Or... pull off that receptacle if that circuit serves ONLY this bathroom

The problem is recent NEC revisions have required bathroom receptacle circuits be dedicated to receptacles. There's one exception for receptacle circuits which serve only one bathroom - those can be tapped for hardwired loads in the bathroom.

"But my house should be 'grandfathered', since it was built prior to that rule". Um, no... by that logic an 1865 house wouldn't need to follow any electrical codes at all. What is the case is that work permitted under a particular Code revision only needs to comply with that Code revision. However, if Code changes, new work such as this must comply with current Code at the time it is permitted. In short, you can't make a grandfathered situation worse. You can't add new hardwired loads onto a receptacle circuit that serves more than this one bathroom.

  • I want timer switch for the fan, I couldnt find GFCI switch with timer function. In your 2nd last paragraph you mentioned about "exception for receptacle circuits which serve only one bathroom". In my situation, existing GFCI outlet on right side in picture doesn't have any wire going out of it, only wire goes inside is supply line. Does that mean this exception applies to me and I can connect fan switch with GFCI ? (green line in proposed wiring pic). Apr 29, 2021 at 11:42
  • @user2716454 Turn off the circuit breaker that powers that outlet. What in the house loses power? Apr 29, 2021 at 16:07
  • It turns off many things, lights and outlets in 2 bedrooms, light, fan and outlets in 2 bathrooms (including the bathroom in question). Apr 29, 2021 at 16:58
  • Then the exception doesn't apply, unfortunately. I mean the fan can be on that "grand tour of the house" circuit, but the receptacle can't be... hmm... well you aren't adding a receptacle. Are there any other circuits you can access? What powers the fan now? Apr 29, 2021 at 17:01
  • This is 1987 built 2nd floor condominium. I don't have access to other circuits. Due to recent water damage, bathroom ceiling was replaced, so I was thinking to move the fan in the shower area to have better ventilation, That is when GFCI rule came into picture. Existing fan is powered by same breaker circuit, which powers receptacle in picture. Apr 29, 2021 at 17:26

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