Smart switch for bathroom with exhaust fan and light on same switch?

(hayden) #1

Im not sure if this is where i’m suppose to ask this or not, so sorry if its not… But… basically I am in the process of converting my apartment into a “smart home” as much as I can without doing any serious remodeling. I am working now on getting all dimmable LED bulbs and changing all the switches to be able to connect to smarthings, but I am running into an issue with both or my bathrooms. There is 2 switches and one switch controls the 2 track lights on the ceiling and one switch controls both the 6 vanity lights above the mirror, and the exhaust fan. I would like to be able to have both sets of lights dimmable and on one switch have a dimmer for the light and a on/off for the fan, but i cant seem to find anything for it. what options do I have? I checked the wiring and I wouldn’t need to run any separate wires to disconnect the exhaust fan from the current switch. Is there a switch that can control both of these? Could I just get a on/off toggle and connect the fan to the 2 track lights so I could at least have dimmable vanity lights? Or am I just out of luck?


( I’ve moved this to projects so you can get individualized responses based on your set up.)

First things first: you cannot use a regular lighting control dimmer to control a fan. The physics are different.

If the fan and the lights are on the same load line, then all you can do is on/off of the lights.

If you’re willing to separate them, then you can have the lights dim and the fan as an on/off, so then it becomes a question of what physical devices do you want at the switch and is it a single gang or a double gang.

The easiest thing to do for your current set up would be to use a two button single gang switch with one button that does on/off for both the fan and the vanity lights and the other button that does on/off for the other light. Pretty much the same thing you have now.

Anything else is going to require some rewiring.

(hayden) #3

Thanks for the response. It is a double gang with one gang controlling the track lights and the other gang controlling the vanity lights and the exhaust. I might try to unattach the exhaust fan from the vanity lights and rewire it to track lights and use a simple dual on/off switch for that gang, and then have the Z wave dimmer controlling the vanity lights on the second gang. Or would it be possible to wire both sets of lights to a Z wave dimmer on a single gang, and then have the second gang on a simple on/off switch for the exhaust?


It’s going to depend on the exact wiring. @Navat604 or @dalec or one of the other electrical expert’s in the community my have more to add.

(Dale C) #5

Yes, but we still need to verify what you have behind the switch box. You need to have a neutral available for the dimmer function. So you need to open up the switch box and take a look. Post a picture.

Sure if the neutral is located at your switch box.

(Steve Davies) #6

Hello! Here’s a rather simplistic enquiry.

I have a bathroom, where the original install features a double dimmer switch controlling (unaccountably) a set of 3 incandescent lamps, and 1 lamp and the extract fan, a remote inline device of desperate spec. on another dimmer(!) The fan hanging on a dimmer switch is clearly nonsensical, as is the overall design.
The clients wish to upgrade the lighting to dimmable LEDs and have the fan switched correctly. My point is this; extractor fans should be automatically switched along with the lighting, per Building Regs in UK. The only way to do this is by having a dimmer and a make/break switch on a single gang.
Can anyone steer this geriatric electrician to such an item? Back in the day, when I started out in Telecomms, ganged switches doing all sorts of thing that were required simultaneously were commonplace. I’d love some help on this, Steve.