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Electrical Wiring in the Home/replacing a bathroom exhaust fan with a fan/light/heater model?



I need additional heat in the master bathroom and prefer not using an electric space heater.

Could you tell me if it is possible to replace the current bathroom exhaust fan with a new exhaust/light/heater model?  The current exhaust fan is controlled by the 3rd switch of a 3 switch panel on the wall.  The 1st and 2nd switches control the vanity and shower/tub lights.
A 3 unit switch is sold separately for the fan/light/heater unit but I don't know if this would work with the current wiring setup in the bathroom/attic (home was built in 2002).  Since this is a 2 story home I am not able to get into the attic to see the current setup.  Currently the fan is running on a 20 amp breaker.

My fear is that I would cut out additional ceiling pieces to fit the larger housing box only to find out I can't make the electrical work.  There is no way to run additional wiring to the current switch panel from the ceiling easily, that I can see.

Your advice as to how to make this work if possible or suggesting other ways to heat the bathroom is appreciated.


Sean Barron

Sean   I know the problem you are dealing with      have you checked is there just a switch leg to the existing,  ???    Most are like the video below,    wired up from that box   if so you can do most anything,     most units are less than 6 amps   the 20 amp circuit is for the fan in rush    and you say the fan alone is on a 20 amp or all three?

first find out what you have in the wallbox     then you can make decisions much easier,    

    one way is to maybe duct some more furnace vent in the room if that is reasonable,    but you want specific control,  so start with something like you said,

There are a million different fan heater combo units,   these are made for a single gang  so you might have to use a different cover  and change out the other switches to rec openings so you have three across all the same,     I am sure if you want to keep standard switches on the first two and a rec on the third they make a cover to match,       you might have to put in a deeper switch box  to hold the box type switches    but that would be it,    

Or you could go with something battery powered,  for the light,   not a cheapo 10 buck Light Angel from CVS    although I own one and it works damn well for a motion light,    

They have all kinds of battery powered lights,    then just use the rest for the fan and heater,      

You could also  extend off either the fan or heater   a light  with a new  position you would have to cut  and run a switch leg,     that would just be in the bathroom ceiling,      if you follow me,      put the fan and heater   where the existing is,     move over,  cut a new opening,      wire over to it,   it would be a light,     take a switch leg off the feed over to the light and run it down from the bathroom ceiling not the attic,       

first find out what you have to work with,  I bet you have a circuit you can use in the existing wall switch gang     and if so the video will show you how to handle it,      

I dont understand if you are saying 20 amps for all or just the existing fan   just watch your total amps,      that is a LOT of power for a fan  small heater and light,       

even two more,      lights  you are only talking like an amp per 100 watt bulb  so lots of power left,          the battery powered is another good option    with led lights the consumption is nothing and the battery should last for a long long time,     but you will need a quality battery powered unit,   but there are a ton of those

here is a video    most likely yours is wired like this    check first      VIDEO   Forum

Since you already have lights does it have to be a light fan heater?   How about a fan and heater only?     If it is a fan now,   there should be light so lessen the amount of power by loosing the additional light,

Here is another one:

But first find out what you have in the wallbox      then you don't worry with the attic   I am guessing they wired power to the switchbox and up from there not down from the attic  or maybe down from the attic but gave you the circuit to work with,      

Once you pull the existing gang out you will know,  and then go shopping from there, and if you have questions when you pull the gang out    let me know  and we will figure it out , but either tapping off the existing for a new can light    and a new switch leg across the bathroom ceiling and then down,   or   using a battery powered light,        even with motion,     or swap the hard wired for the battery   see what I mean ?

They have so much stuff with the low power use leds now   I know you can find a nice looking combo or fan heater    and then bat light   with motion,   I put motion in my great room bathroom   very nice  just walk in and light     no cleaning the switch    it just comes on and goes off,          so lots of options        think of this as creative not a problem   and have fun with it       it can be done,   

I know you dont want a space heater but here is a battery powered heater that is nice looking and when you upgrade from walmart  you can get all kinds of fancy stuff,     it really depends on what you have in the gang right now,    that will tell you what you can do with what you have and not finding a way to feed,        

Outlets    got outlets?    how about on wall wiring,        they have real nice looking covers for wiring  that look like trim      another option  

Let me know what you find   I still am betting you have power in the gang  then you can pick a three in one unit  if that is where you want to go        the switch decides what gets turned on not three individual switch legs       so  take a look and remember you may need a deeper box for the gang  but that should not be a horrible mod,         and give you room for box switches with electronics in them       

Let me know and I will help you with the logistics  
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Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,


Over thirty years with a major repair and sales company, VP of Operations, and former owner of my own specialty repair shops, MEAR Services local to Kansas City Missouri EMR Repair Inc., located in Kansas City Missouri, 2014 sold both businesses to JCI Industries, Lee's Summit Missouri Evaluation and repair of electrical/mechanical apparatus. Electrical and mechanical repairs, trouble shooting including, vibration and balance issues. provides this service, and the huge costs to provide help on about any subject. They provide the servers, the people to vet the experts, costs that would be the same as operating a good sized business, They should be appreciated for what they do, the huge costs and the great help they provide for free, Electric motor questions, can be answered here but there is a dedicated category that has other experts to help and add to a solution. Other common questions, are noises in the walls, breakers tripping, devices not starting or shutting down for no apparent reason, smoke alarms buzzing, thermostat change outs, or sizing wire or needing information for a new project, but anything can be resolved, anything, with enough effort and patience, DIY, with electrical is possible, but in most cases the use of a simple ohm meter or volt meter is needed, they can be purchased at any hardware store for a few bucks. If you have smoke, or smell smoke, don't be writing me, call 911 the Fire Department has no problem looking for smoke smells, better then spraying water on a blazing fire. DO NOT GET CAUGHT INVESTIGATING AND TRAPPED IN A BASEMENT LOOKING FOR A BLOWER FAILING< As to the tip jar, it is up to you, it is appreciated, every expert spends out of pocket that I know, we spend on IP time, computer wear, printing documents, books, and of course our time, but if we prevent a $400 service call, we did well,

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