I have a ~200 year old house that has seen its share of electrical work done by the unwise and unknowing. I'm slowly trying to get the ship righted again. Funny (sad, really) that all the bad work was done by contractors/carpenters-as-electricians, as commiserated in other threads here.
Task 1- The bathroom heat-a-ventlite, as immortalized in 1 3-page thread here in 2001.
It's a 4-function nutone- heat, vent, light, nightlight. But it was installed by a plumber during a bathroom remodel, so shortcuts were taken.
The fixture is fed from two switch locations- a single switch for the main light, and a 3-switch box for the other functions (which is behind the door when it's opened, which explains why all four functions weren't moved there).
Props to the plumber; at least he pulled a new home run for the 3 new functions. But here's how it's wired: The fixture has only two neutrals in the wiring box- one for the vent, and the other for the heat/light/nighlight. So there's one romex 12/3 and one romex 12/2 from the new switch, and the existing old wire (12(?)/2) from the old switch. Each hot goes to the proper spot, with all five neturals tied together. The big rub here is that the light switch is (of course) on a different circuit than the other three functions, and this circuit (light) also has the bath outlets & sconces and two bedrooms worth of outlets on it.
So, we have the obvious problem of unmatched neutrals, which becomes crucial because I tried to install an AFCI breaker on the lighting circuit, and a GFCI breaker on the heat/vent/nightlight circuit (for no other reason than that this is oftentimes used to switch between vent and heat by someone in the shower). Now, of course, with the parallel netural paths, neither of these breakers will hold at all- they pop as soon as I switch them on.
Now the question begs: without opening walls, what's the best way to fix this? Is there a best way that's also compliant? The two things I can come up with are:
1) Rewiring the fixture so that the neutral for the light is isolated, and the other three go through the shared netural
2) Running unswitched hot on one of the white (formerly neutral) wires from the 3-gang switch to the fixture, tie to the white (formerly neutral) of the light switch, rewire that light switch so the white is on the line side with black on the load side , and tie that black in the fixture to the proper load wire.
From reading here, methinks I lose the listing on the fixture doing #1, and I lose NEC by doing #2.
But that's all I can come up with, short of opening the walls, which would result in a code sanction know as 'divorce'. Any advice? Thanks!
[This message has been edited by buckyswider (edited 01-12-2004).]