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Bathroom fan won't turn off (?)

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  • Feb 26th, 2007 8:38 pm
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Sr. Member
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May 6, 2005
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Bathroom fan won't turn off (?)

Have a bit of a mystery here and I hope someone could throw some helpful hints my way.
So one day I come home and find the bathroom fan on...at first I thought someone must have forgotten it on, but when I tried to flip the switch on the wall, nothing happend. Now the switch on the wall also has a switch for th bathroom lights, which work just fine. I can turn the fan off by pulling the plug, but that is just a temporary situation. Now, this room has no window and there are some days my wife would say the fan should stay on forever (wing night with the boys is a very dangerous thing), but does this sound like a wiring issue at the switch or something directly with the fan itself?

cheers in advance for your help
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Sr. Member
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Aug 13, 2006
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R.Hill.On.Ca
Sometimes, there's a switch on the main floor that will turn on the main bathroom fan (for ventilation purposes). I have always had such a switch on every house i've owned.

Chances are, if your bathroom fan is on all the time, that switch might be on. It's usually found near the thermostat.

Good luck.
Sr. Member
Mar 2, 2006
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Do you happen to live in a condo or apartment?
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Jan 14, 2007
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Harkonnen wrote:
Feb 26th, 2007 11:26 am
Sometimes, there's a switch on the main floor that will turn on the main bathroom fan (for ventilation purposes). I have always had such a switch on every house i've owned.

Chances are, if your bathroom fan is on all the time, that switch might be on. It's usually found near the thermostat.

Good luck.
If that was the case, you would still be able to turn it off from either location as it would be wired as a 3 way switch.

I would start looking at the switch as it is a lot easier to get to as you would probably have to go into the attic to look at the connections at the fan. Try replacing the switch and see if that fixes the problem. If that doesn't work you may be forced to look at the connections at the fan although I really don't see how it could be anything at the fan.
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Kanus wrote:
Feb 26th, 2007 11:36 am
If that was the case, you would still be able to turn it off from either location as it would be wired as a 3 way switch.

I would start looking at the switch as it is a lot easier to get to as you would probably have to go into the attic to look at the connections at the fan. Try replacing the switch and see if that fixes the problem. If that doesn't work you may be forced to look at the connections at the fan although I really don't see how it could be anything at the fan.
At my place, if the switch near the thermostat which controls the bathroom fan is "on"; then the switch in the bathroom won't shut it off. I have to go down to the main floor to shut off the fan. As long as that switch if "off" then the switch in the bathroom works as expected.

It's been this way at my two previous houses as well, all three of which were typical large scale builder built.
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Jan 14, 2007
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Harkonnen wrote:
Feb 26th, 2007 11:42 am
At my place, if the switch near the thermostat which controls the bathroom fan is "on"; then the switch in the bathroom won't shut it off. I have to go down to the main floor to shut off the fan. As long as that switch if "off" then the switch in the bathroom works as expected.

It's been this way at my two previous houses as well, all three of which were typical large scale builder built.
That sounds like a real Mickey Mouse setup. In my house, the switches are wired as 3 way switches which means there isn't a fixed on or off position at either switch.

But it would be worth checking to see if that is the case at Huskylord's house.
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Jun 24, 2003
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Thornhill
Most likely a problem with the master switch as stated, but there is a slim chance the wire came loose on the switch and is resting against the hot. If you suspect this, turn off the breaker to the fan before opening the face plate for the switch, you could get a nasty surprise. GL
Those who don't do it, don't get it.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 16, 2003
6202 posts
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Do you have an air exchanger? My mom's condo does the same thing... if you set the air exchanger to keep the air at 40% humidity but it's 50% inside, the bathroom fan will keep running until it's at 40% no matter what the switch is set to in the bathroom.
[OP]
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May 6, 2005
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Well I just got home and checked the switch at the thermostat (and yes there is a switch there on the main floor), but it didn't make a difference. I'll take a look at the switch in the bathroom a bit later on.

Thanks everyone for your help and I'll keep people up to date (for those that are interested :) )

Cheers!
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Mar 21, 2006
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Burlington, Ontario
huskylord wrote:
Feb 26th, 2007 11:17 am
I can turn the fan off by pulling the plug, but that is just a temporary situation.
This statement is confusing.. Plug for what? If it's a ventilation fan, it will be in the ceiling.. no plug unless you remove the grill and try not to get your fingers cut off.
[OP]
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May 6, 2005
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Sorry didn't mean to confuse...but yes, when I mean pull out the plug, I mean take off the plastic tray cover, and there is a plug going into an outlet within the fan. There is no chance of cutting off a finger, the fan is recessed (unless I have a death wish)....but yes there is a plug in the fan itself.

I'll try to show pics a bit later on
[OP]
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May 6, 2005
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okay, problem solved...it was the switch on the main floor all along.
Just a dumb mistake of rushing to flip things and not taking my time, but I still would never have figured that a ventallation system would be affected by a switch on the main floor.

Cheers and thanks....case closed :)
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