Placement of switch for vanity lights?

artemis78February 23, 2013

We're rewiring our bathroom lights and I'm trying to figure out where to put the switch for the vanity lights--likely two sconces alongside a mirror (which is what we have now).

When we moved in, there was a two-gang box by the bathroom door that controlled vanity lights and overhead light. We added a fan, but at the time the electrician could not find enough space in the wall (between stud and door framing) to fit a three-gang box, so we have a fan switch and then two sideways standard switches for the lights. Now we are finally replacing our 90-year-old wiring, and our electric code requires a dimmer for the vanity lights, so the stacked switches won't work (not to mention that I *hate* this setup!)

We are considering either cutting into the stud (which may be complicated--it is a load-bearing wall) to make room for the box or moving the switch for the vanity to be next to the mirror, rather than at the door.

Leaning towards putting the switch by the vanity because it's simpler, but is it strongly preferable to have these lights switched from the doorway? (We have always had them that way so it seems strange to switch them at the sink, but at the same time, we don't need them for general lighting, so they are only turned on for added lighting at the mirror.) It's a very small room, if that matters.

Where do you switch your vanity lights, if they are separate from your general lighting? Pros/cons to your setup? Thank you!

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mydreamhome

What if you combined one of the lights and the fan on one control?That could take you down to 2 switches overall. Dimmers are easy enough to add to the existing single flip switch for the vanity. I've posted links below to a couple different types of switches that may help you out with your issue. We had the 1st one in the house I grew up in to control the fan and fan light. The second one we have in our current house to control both fans and lights--the main flip switch controls the power and once flipped you can control the speed of the fan and the brightness of the light with the respective built in side switches. You can also get this one with a single side slide to control just one function.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_48977-539-S2-LFSQ-WH_0__?Ntt=lutron+skylark+s2-lfsq-wh&UserSearch=lutron+skylark+s2-lfsq-wh&productId=3514226&rpp=32

http://www.lowes.com/pd_78727-539-TG2-LFSQH-WH_0__?productId=3189471&Ntt=vent+fan+and+light+control&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dvent%2Bfan%2Band%2Blight%2Bcontrol&facetInfo=

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:23AM
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artemis78

Thanks! I should have mentioned that the fan control is a timer. I found several combo switches where the fan speed could be controlled, but didn't see any where the timer function could be combined with a standard light switch, but I'll look again. We like the current timer where you push a single button for each of four set times, so want to avoid anything electronic or where you need to push a button multiple times to add time. I think that may lock us into the full-size switch, though. I also mistyped on the sconce switch--it has to be a vacancy sensor, not a dimmer. We've ordered the Lutron Maestro sensor to use and it needs a full plate to itself, but can switch to something else if there's an option that can be combined with the fan switch. (The fan light meets our state efficiency standards so it can use a standard switch without dimmer or vacancy sensor.)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 12:08PM
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mongoct

"I found several combo switches where the fan speed could be controlled, but didn't see any where the timer function could be combined with a standard light switch, but I'll look again."

This switch might not fit your needs, but I'll toss it out for you to look at. It's designed more for a shower light and shower fan.

You turn the switch ON and the fan and light turn on. You turn the switch OFF and the light turns off, but the fan continues to run for a preset DELAY time set by you.

You can ignore the "VENTILATION" comments about the switch by setting the VENT time to zero.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:30AM
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artemis78

Thanks--we have one of these at my office and I'd forgotten about it. I isn't a great fit for us because we only turn the light on at night, but use the fan whenever the shower is used, so I think we'd end up having to turn it on and off a lot to get the fan on. But I'll check out their other switches to make sure there's nothing that might work--thanks!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:33AM
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artemis78

Duplicate post!

This post was edited by artemis78 on Mon, Feb 25, 13 at 12:01

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:34AM
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raehelen

Could you have the lights in a double-gang box, and the fan in its own box above the lights? I'd be leary of cutting into a stud on a load-bearing wall. Placing switch by vanity would be my last choice.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:34PM
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TSG1104

I was going to suggest the same as raehelen. We have a double-gang box with one switch for the overhead lights and the other switch for the vanity lights. Above that in its own box is the switch for the jetted tub. It's never bothered me aesthetically. Since the jetted tub switch is not used as frequently, I actually like having it a little out of the way.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:14PM
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artemis78

Hmm, hadn't thought about stacking them, but I imagine that would be feasible. Is that really preferable to switching the vanity lights by the mirror, though? It seems like that placement would be far more awkward! (If we move them to the mirror, they will share a two-gang box with the GFCI receptacle that's already there.) Stacking them would, however, solve the issue now with turning on the sconce lights when you're trying to turn on the overhead lights. I'll have to play with this and see how it might look--thanks!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 4:33PM
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