How to wire a bathroom fan with a timer?


A bath fan timer powers the exhaust fan in your bathroom for a predetermined amount of time which is set by you on the timer. Once the timer reaches zero, it automatically disables power to the exhaust fan which turns it off. This saves energy since the fan doesn't run continuously. If it ran continuously, you would be losing warm air out of the exhaust duct when exhausting is not needed. You would also be consuming unneeded power. Wiring a timer is almost exactly like a switch.

Turn the power off to the exhaust fan in the breaker panel.

Locate the switch that controls the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Unscrew the switch's wall plate and remove it. Unscrew the switch and pull it out of the electrical box.

Unscrew the black wires from each of the terminals on the switch. Unscrew the green (ground) wire from the switch. Leave the white wires wire nutted together.

Examine your timer switch. It should have two black leads coming from it and a green lead. The...

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There's no such thing as too many wires between the bathroom switch and the bathroom light/fan/heatlamp/whatever the future may bring. I would run at least 3 hots and a neutral, with 1 hot and 1 neutral being 12ga for a high current device. Even better, install conduit and pull whatever as needed.

I personally hate fans which turn on with the light. I fear I'll wake others during a 3AM bathroom run. It also wastes energy by ejecting nice warm/cool air, forcing the HVAC system to work harder.

This forum is not for "shop for you", but there's no problem getting a single switch that turns off the fan some period after it turns off the light. the fan with a delay. on light+fan, and turns off light and adand continues the fan for a designated period.

There's also no trouble getting rundown timer switches if you want to manually trigger the fan. However if you also have a heatlamp (commonly put on rundown timers), this will be a confusing UI.

They even make...

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Remove the switch and disconnect the wires

Unscrew the switch and switch cover from the wall. Disconnect the wires, using a wire nut to keep track of them.

Mark and cut the drywall

Using the measurements for a double work box, mark the wall. Use a leveler to make sure the marks are square. Cut the hole using a utility knife.

Pull wires through the work box and attach

Pull the wires through the double work box, with one set of wires to connect to the new switch and one to the new timer. Connect each set of wires to the new switch and timer following the manufacturer's instructions.

Replace the switch cover and test

Line up the toggle switch for the light and the shaft for the timer with the switch cover. Cover the double work box by screwing on the switch cover, attaching the timer plate and knob. Turn the electrical circuit back on at the main breaker box. Test the timer and switch to ensure proper...

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Turn off the power and test the wires to make sure that the power is off. Lock the box, put electrical tape over the switch and/or put a sign up warning others not to turn on the switch because you are working with electricity.

Determine whether you are installing a single switch to operate both the fan and the light at the same time or if you wish to operate the light and fan independently by separate switches. If you install a single switch, wiring will be straightforward. If you are installing a double switch, you will need to run a three-wire cable between the fan unit and the electrical box. Exhaust fans with lights, heaters, timers, etc. may need additional cable from the switch box to the fan. Check the manufacturer's instructions for any specific wiring needs for the unit.

Run a length of cable from the light switch to the fan unit.

Make the connections at the fan unit using wire nuts. A wiring diagram should be provided by the manufacturer....

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D Martel: Any reason not to use the line supply from the GFIC? My fan control is very close to the shower and sink. I would like to have the peace of mind that any short would be interrupted by the GFI

Alex Verbruggen: Thank you so much!! Much appreciated

Chris Long: No blue wire, only green, red black and white.

Cody: thanks for this. I had no clue how to wire my timer especially when the switch I was replacing had two black wires going into it!

Brad: Thank you very much. Your video really helped me. I fixed my fan switch without a hitch this morning.

Tatonka: My old fan switch had the white cable jumped onto the next light switch. Now that I've hooked it up with the jumper also, it only turns on when the light is on (which did not happen with the old switch). Any ideas?

Joseph Barrett: Good video, electrical scares the crap out of me. I am still alive, my house is not on fire and my switch works. Thanks

ryancorm: Thanks for the how to...

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Wiring Diagram For Bathroom Fan Isolator Switch With How To Wire An

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Using a stool positioned directly beneath the inoperative fan, grasp 2 opposite sides of the plastic fan cover and pull cover down 2 to 3 inches until wire holding clasps on each side are exposed.

Squeeze the 2 wires on each clasp together until the fan cover is released and set aside fan cover.

Locate fan electrical plug and unplug the connection from the electrical outlet.

Locate the screw securing the fan unit to the ceiling. This is often found directly adjacent the electrical outlet. Some fan models will have 2 securing screws. These will be located on opposite sides of the fan base.

Use flat-head screwdriver to remove securing screw, pull fan out of the fan well and set old fan aside.

Align replacement fan in position to allow electrical plug to be inserted in electrical socket and plug into electrical outlet.

Insert fan into ceiling well and secure by inserting and tightening securing screw(s).

Test fan by...

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Warning: To complete electrical works you must comply with Electrical Regulations - Click here for more information.

Fans with an integral timer need a 3 core and earth supply to allow the unit to run on after a light is switched off. It must also be possible to isolate the fan by means of a pull switch inside the bathroom, or a fan isolation (3 pole) switch outside of the bathroom.

Before attempting fan or any other electrical connection ensure all circuits are off.

Isolation switch must be on a pull cord inside a bathroom or as above a switch on the outside.

D = Earth Connection = To all units…This wire should be sleeved in a green/yellow earth sleeve. C = Neutral Connection = To 3 & 6 A = Permanent Live Connection = To 2 & 5 B = Switched Live Connection = To 1 & 4

For regulations governing heights of sockets etc, please see our

Socket Height project page


You might be interested to go to our video section on installing ceiling fans to...

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Had the same problem in our bathroom 4mtrs long x 2mtrs wide x 2.7 high,tastic fan was useless,no windows and could not leave the door open due to people walking in the hallway.

So installed a 200mm Bunnings purchased exhaust fan, above the shower,I now have very minimal steam problems in the bathroom and leave the door open after a shower to vent the bathroom after.

Though I think different states may have different laws in respect to location of lights/fans above the shower.

As my ceiling is higher than 2.5mtrs I am permitted to install light/fan directly above the shower cubicle,additional exhaust fan is wired into tastic fan so both units run at the same...

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