switch loop

kwhoughtonJuly 14, 2010

I am installing a ceiling fan in a bathroom. Because I will be connecting from an existing circuit in the attic and it is best for me if I do a switch loop. I know how to do that, and I know that I must color the neutral (white wire) black at both ends and that the colored white must be used as the hot TO the switch, not from it to the fan. I was thinking of using 14/3 grounded (15 amp) and eliminating the need to color the white. That leaves a neutral wire unused. The only advantage I see in using a 3 wire is that the hot is red or black and will not be mistaken for a white like might happen by coloring the white with black.

Any thoughts? I know the wire is more expensive, but it is such a small run, it's not a big deal.

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Perfectly acceptable, as long as it is a 15 amp circuit. (You'd need 12/3 on a 20 amp circuit.) I'd also clip off the neutral lead where it enters the junction boxes.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 4:46PM
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Wouldn't be a bad idea to just cap the white without cutting it in case you would like a fancy switch that needs a neutral.

You can also get a switch/receptacle combo if an extra receptacle would come in handy.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 11:06PM
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I would never clip off the white or any other unused wire. Just roll it up in the back of the box. You might need it in the future for example if you installed a fan with a light. Then you could switch both of them separately.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 8:13AM
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I absolutely hate it when "the last guy" cut off an unused wire, because it never fails that whatever I'm doing would be ten times easier if that wire were available.

I'm with hendricus and joed: cap off the wire, fold it up in the back of the box. Someday, somebody will thank you.

You can also use 14/3 for TWO switch loops, so a use that immediately comes to mind is a future change to two switches for a light/fan combo with individual control.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 6:05PM
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Being a bathroom, is this going on the dedicated "bathroom" circuit, or another unrelated circuit?
Someone suggested adding an extra receptacle-
This would need to be on the bathroom circuit, not an any circuit that was close by and available!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:49AM
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I personally am against putting receptacles and lighting on the same circuit anyway :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 8:59PM
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