How to Wire a Bathroom Ceiling Fan

Updated February 21, 2017

Bathrooms can collect odours and moisture, leading to mildew and unpleasant smells. That's where bathroom ceiling fans come in. These devices take the moisture and other atmospheric build-up in a bathroom and vent it to the outdoors, leaving the air in your bathroom clean and odour free. Wiring a bathroom ceiling fan is relatively simple, even easier than installing the fan unit itself. You'll have your bathroom smelling fresh in no time.

Turn off the power to the electrical circuit where you are installing the fan. Lock the main panel, if possible, to prevent others from accidentally switching on the circuit.

Access the wiring panel on your ceiling fan. In the majority of cases, the ceiling fan is located above the bathroom in a crawl space or attic. Take the electrical wire and wiring tools (needle nose pliers, wire cutters, screwdriver, electrical tape) with you. Take along a flashlight as well if you're working in a dark space.

Connect the wires according to your manufacturer's instructions. For a simple fan, this involves wiring the live wire (black) to the black wire on the fan unit and the white wire (neutral) to the white lead on the fan. Attach the ground (copper) wire to the green ground screw on the fan unit. Use wire nuts to secure the wires together, and wrap with electrical tape.

Feed the other end of the wire through the wall space to where the switch for the fan is located.

Inside the bathroom, attach the other end of the wire to the fan switch. Attach the white wire to the neutral terminal and the black to the live terminal. Attach the ground wire to the ground terminal on the switch or to the switch box itself, depending on your home's existing wiring.

Restore power to the electrical circuit, and check your work.


If it doubt, consult a certified electrician. Before beginning, check your local codes to determine if a permit is required. The above steps are just a guideline. Always follow your manufacturer's instructions.

Things You'll Need

  • Electrical wire
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutter
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire nuts
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About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.