How to Wire a Bathroom Fan and Light on Separate Switches: Info Guide


Are you unsure how to connect a bathroom fan and light separately? Sometimes, you want to put the morning on an additional switch so that you can turn it on and off without making any noise. The most important thing to consider is that you might need to connect an entirely new electrical cable to connect the fan in the bathroom with the wall. How to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches? This wiring is called a “12/3” cable. It comprises two hot wires. Please continue reading to find out the tools you’ll require and our step-by-step instructions on how to conduct the wiring.

How to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches: Things you need to know

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of being aware of when wiring the bath fan and light using distinct switches is you’ll have to connect a brand new wiring wire between the fan in the bathroom and the control. If you’re running the typical fan but no heater or light and no light, you’ll have 12/2 wiring that comprises a single hot, one neutral and an earth. However, if you plan to connect a fan and a light separately, you’ll need two hots to connect the bathroom light to the switch on your wall. 12/3 cable comes with 2 hots and one neutral, one of them being ground.

Read this DIY guide: How to vent a bathroom fan through soffit

Use a licensed electrician

It is best to call an electrical contractor licensed for this task in most cases. The local county or city code is likely to need it, too. There is the risk of electric shock or even sparking a fire when wiring is done improperly. Electricians are armed with various techniques and tricks to get new wiring cables into ceilings or walls that homeowners may not be aware of.

Circuit requirements & national electrical code guidance

The circuit for lighting is the one that powers bathroom fans. It has a run-on function that is activated by a lighting switch. Specific models include an isolation switch to ensure secure cleaning of the fans. A few models have an alarm clock that allows the fan to work during a particular period. In light of the proximity of the water to your home, you must adhere to specific codes or specifications for bathrooms that you are required to adhere to.

The electrical principle of the nation governs them. In general, the mandatory obligation is to install protection on circuits used in bathrooms. It is also necessary to have bathroom wall receptacles close to the basin—the minimum distance between the inlet’s edge of 3 feet. The light switch-controlled outlet must be installed in the bathrooms. It is essential to adhere to all safety guidelines while working with any electrical component. Install an interrupter for ground faults for the lowest chance of electrocution. Also, you should consider splash-proof switches to install as they won’t cause problems even if they are wet hands touch them.

How to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches

Most ventilators are best suited for installation in a manner more or less aligned with the ceiling. This is the best place to get light. Because of this idea, manufacturers are now bringing bathroom exhaust fans and lighting fixtures to the exact location without any issue. The wiring of the light fixture and the fan to two separate switches is what we intend to accomplish. Follow the below steps to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches. Click here to learn details about how to remove bathroom exhaust fans.

Step 1

Like any other wiring task, the first step is to switch off the power to the box for panel installation. It is also recommended to ensure that the power is off for the exhaust fan using an in-line voltage tester that is not in contact. Non-contact voltage testers can find out if power is present by simply getting closer to the wire or using a double switch. If the administration is still current, it will flash or beep (and specific testers do both).

Step 2

Remove the wiring cover plate on the bathroom fan housing and then disconnect the 12/2 wire that runs into the housing. Ground wires are typically connected to the grounding cover plate terminal. Both hots (one for the fan and another for light) are linked to the old 12/2 cable via the wire nuts or through quick connections. You can unplug the wire. Connect the ground of an upgraded 12/3 cable into the housing of the bath fan. There is usually an earth terminal on the cover of the wiring. Connect the ground wire to it clockwise before tightening the screw.

Step 3

Connect the hot 12/3 wiring to the housing. One hot wire (red or black) connects to the hot exhaust fan, and the mild hot wire to the second hot 12/3 wire (red or black). The exhaust fan and light hot wires from the housing could be black, red or blue. You’ll need to join the cables using fast connects, wire nuts, and Wagolever nuts. Ensure you connect the neutral cable from the 12/3 line with the neutral wires through the exhaust fan and the light. These neutrals should be joined by a wire nut, quick connect or Wago lever nuts.

Step 4

Insert the wire connections into the bathroom fan housing or the wiring compartment. Install the cover plate for wiring. Make sure the wiring is safe from sharp edges with grommets or connectors. If the walls are completed and the 12/3 cable is installed, it must be run across the ceiling to turn off the switch on your wall. If you have access to the attic, It can be helpful to access it via the attic. Connecting this new cable to your Wall switch could be the most challenging part of the wiring process.

Step 5

Connect the ground all via the switch on the wall. There will be a ground that will be coming from the brand new 12/3 cable that is connected to the bath fan. A second ground will come from the switch on your wall, while the final ground will come from the box for the panel.

The grounds must be connected with wire nuts or a quick-connect Wago connector. Also, you will need to make the ground cable (short grounded wire) that connects the switch to the pigtail. After connecting the ground to the switch box, Push it to the rear on the back of the switch box, allowing it away from the way.

Step 6

Connect the neutral wire with the neutral wires to your wall box. There will be one neutral via the bathroom fans in addition. There is another neutral that will come through the panel box. It is essential to connect the two neutral wires using wire nuts, quick connect, and a Wago Lever Nut. After connecting them, push them into the switch box to move it away. The ground cable is connected to the line (created in the previous step) to the switch’s wires. You can wrap the grounded wire counterclockwise around the ground terminal, then crimp it. Then, you can make use of a screwdriver to tighten the nuts.

Step 7

Connect the single power cable (from the panel box) to the switch’s terminal. The terminal should read “common,” and you’ll be required to attach the power cable to any common airports. Because it’s a one-way circuit, you can connect it to any common terminal. Connect the two wires of the exhaust light and the fan on the copper terminals.

The bronze terminals must have the words ‘A1’ and A2. You must decide if you would like an upper switch that will run either the light or the bath fan. Wrap each hot wire of the bronze terminals clockwise and then press it. Then, you can fix the bronze terminals using the help of a screwdriver.

Step 8

Connect the switch to the box with the screws supplied. Then you can screw it onto the cover plate, or you can use a single screw.


The most challenging aspect of wiring bathroom fans to create separate switches is typically running the electrical cable through the wiring from the house to wall switches. It’s not an easy task, and you might need to access the attic for it to be accomplished. It can be significantly assisted when you contact a certified electrician because they’ve got a variety of techniques at their disposal. Don’t forget that there are many different wall switches you can connect to a bathroom fan or light. You can choose timer switches and buttons that have humidity sensors integrated. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and learned how to wire a bathroom fan and light on separate switches; please post an answer or comment below.

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