I am redoing some wiring in my bathroom. I have a vanity light on a single switch, a vent fan and ceiling light combo on a double switch and a GFCI outlet that are wired together in that order. It appears to me that these are all powered from one source coming from the panel, with 12/2 wires connecting them. Also at the end of the chain the GFCI is connected to two outdoor outlets.

I actually have managed to get everything working correctly except the GFCI outlet. I have power going to it but it keeps tripping. I got the power to the outlet by connecting the black wire leading to the GFCI to the top black screw on my light switch, that screw is hot whether or not the light or fan are turned on so it seemed to make sense. I took my common (white) wire and tied it in with the other white wires within the double switch box. I think that this is my problem as I am reading that you can't share common wires with GFCI. My question then would be what do I do with the common wire that will be powering the GFCI??? Or maybe that isn't my issue and my problem is something else?

Would love any help people can give. I am a newbie so be gentle. Everything in this series was previously working so I am hoping I can get it put back together without running new wires.

  • How was it originally wired? Why did you rewire it? Did you connect the wires to the LINE terminals on the GFCI?
    – Tester101
    Oct 25, 2015 at 3:13
  • It was originally wired with a gimicky 3 switch. I rewired to a standard 2 switch when I installed a new bathroom vent and light. The old light and fan had a heater thus the third switch and why we eliminated it. I didn't change anything on the GFCI. I only changed the way it was getting power off of the light switch, by changing the light switch out and trying to hook it up again. Thanks!
    – Tony B.
    Oct 26, 2015 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


Your wiring should look something like this.

enter image description here

  1. You'll use a twist-on wire connector (or other approved means) to connect the incoming ungrounded (hot) conductor, to three lengths of black wire.
  2. Connect the first length of wire from the bundle, to a terminal on the single pole switch.
  3. Connect another length of wire from the bundle, to the common terminal on the double switch (the common terminal should be black, or some other odd color other than green).
  4. Connect the final length of wire from the bundle, to the brass colored LINE terminal on the GFCI.
  5. Connect the ungrounded (hot) conductor leading to the light, to the other terminal on the single pole switch.
  6. Connect the ungrounded (hot) conductors leading to the light/fan, to the terminals on the double switch.
  7. Connect the ungrounded (hot) conductor leading to the GFCI protected devices, to the brass colored LOAD terminal of the GFCI.
  8. Use a twist-on wire connector (or other approved means) to combine the incoming grounded (neutral), the grounded (neutral) from the light, the grounded (neutral) from the light/fan, and a length of white wire.
  9. Connect the length of wire from the neutral bundle, to the silver colored LINE terminal on the GFCI.
  10. Connect the grounded (neutral) conductor from the GFCI protected devices, to the silver LOAD terminal on the GFCI.
  11. Connect all grounding conductors in an approved manner.

NOTE: Notice that the grounded (neutral) conductor leading to the GFCI protected devices, is NOT connected to the other grounded (neutral) conductors in the box.

NOTE: Since I don't know the exact devices you're using, the terminal layout of the diagram might not be correct.

  • This looks great and makes complete sense. I will attempt to similarly draw up what I have and see if it will ever work. What you have here is quite different from what I have and likely above my ability level to complete. I have been thinking I may need to call an electrician anyway... Let me draw that up and post the picture before I give up completely.
    – Tony B.
    Oct 27, 2015 at 16:29
  • Here is a link to the image: dropbox.com/s/qlev3eok7hm65ya/…"
    – Tony B.
    Oct 27, 2015 at 16:55
  • Just to add one other clue. I did get a little outlet tester with three LED lights. Obviously because the outlet is tripped I get no reading, but when I press reset, the green indicator light signaling that the connection is correct lights up and then the outlet trips again and the green light slowly fades to nothing.
    – Tony B.
    Oct 27, 2015 at 17:01
  • It looks right (I think), aside from there being too many terminals on the switches. Or were you just indicating that the wires are attached to the device, and not concerned with the actual physical terminals on the devices. Based on your drawing, it looks like the first switch is a 3-way, and the second is a 4-way.
    – Tester101
    Oct 27, 2015 at 18:49
  • Have you tried disconnecting the LOAD wires from the GFCI, to see if it works with only the LINE wires connected?
    – Tester101
    Oct 27, 2015 at 18:50

The double light switch has a little clip in the middle that works as a connector it must be removed from the switch then test the OHMs from side to side on the switch to see what direction the switch is going either side to side or or top to bottom just YouTube will show you how to check that and then hook up your wires and it shouldn't trip

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