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terminate one of two lights on a bathroom switch

I have a separate bathroom fan and light connected to one switch in a four switch panel in my bathroom.  I want to disconnect the light, and leave it in place permanently, while keeping the fan connected to the same switch. 

The switch only has one wire connecting the two components coming into it, and the box has got a lot of other wires pigtailed together. 

How can I disconnect just the light, and what’s the easiest way to determine which connection is for the light?

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Posted 2017-07-17T17:03:35+0000  by mdavey mdavey

Hello Mdavey,

Welcome to the community.

It sounds like whoever installed it joined the hot wires for the light and fan together at the unit and then ran a single wire to the switch so that they would turn off/on at the same time. If that is the case then all you would need to do is disconnect the hot wire for the light and cap it off. This will enable the light all together and allow the fan to operate on its own.

This is only an educated guess without seeing the actual wiring I cannot be 100% sure.

All the wires that are pig tailed together are most likely all of the neutral wires.

Here is a link to an installation guild for an exhaust fan. On page #2, you will see a wiring diagram that will show how to wire it so the fan and the light on separate switches.

I hope this helps you figure out the wiring for your light/fan.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I would love to help. 

Posted 2017-07-19T18:33:16+0000  by Christine_HD_OC
>I want to disconnect the light, and leave it in place permanently

Are you saying you want the light to be permanently on, or off? If off, then the easiest solution is just to unscrew/remove the light bulb, unless it has a permanent LED fixture. That way, it is also easily reversible, if you or someone else ever wants a light again.

If you want the light to remain permanently on, then you will need to connect the light to a hot wire that is not coming through any of the switches- either from other wires near the fixture, or running an additional wire from the switch box up to the light (bypassing the switches). In either case, I would highly recommend using an electrician for safety.

what’s the easiest way to determine which connection is for the light

Do you mean inside the fixture, or at the switch? You probably know which switch already, so let me assume you mean at the fixture. While you have a few options, honestly the easiest one is probably to locate the hot wire that Christine mentioned, that probably has one incoming line from the switch, connected via a wirenut to two wires that feed the unit- after being ABSOLUTELY SURE the breaker is turned off, unscrew the wirenut and remove one of the wires (and cap it with a spare wirenut or electrical tape), flip the breaker and the switch back on to see whether the fan or light comes on, and reverse which wire is connected if necessary while the power is back off.

NOTE: turning off just the wall switch is no guarantee that you are safe to work inside the fixture without getting electrocuted. Always turn off the breaker and check use a current tester (pen-type will cost you less than $10) to make sure the original installer didn't accidentally wire the hot to the fixture and the neutral to the switch.
Posted 2017-07-20T14:53:58+0000  by KeithR
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