46 posts / 0 new
Last post
GFCI- W/Light Switch

Need some advice...

My home was built in 1908, started a bathroom remodel months ago.
I'm trying to install a GFCI that will turn the bathroom lights on and off. The GFCI comes with a light switch and a electrical plug in. Just trying to get the lights working the way they were before this project began.

I have 4 wires, 3 are black and one is vanilla colored. I bought a no contact voltage detector, there's one hot wire and it's black.
The lights are on both sides of the medicine cabinet, and when I checked the wiring for voltage where one of the lights goes, there's no dectection of power.

The GFCI has 4 screws- 2 on top and two on bottom and then the ground underneath. I have tried every possible connection except for the correct one to get the light switch to turn the lights on or off. I've been able to get the lights to work if I manually turn them on with the on/off switch on the light itself, not from the GFCI.
Right now the GFCI is wired with the hot wire and the vanilla colored wire wired together around the brass top screw, the remaining two black wires are wound around the silver screw on the other side on top. The two wires( Switch leads) that came with the GFCI are threaded into the bottom of the GFCI into the holes by the bottom screws.
It's not grounded yet. But the lights work manually and I have electricity in the electrical plug.

What am I doing wrong that I can't get the switch to turn the lights on and off?

Thanks for any advise you can give.....

Ms Jen.

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

Can you post the manufacturers name and a part #? Or provide a link to the part from the manufacturers web site?

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

Hi Kent...

It's a Leviton GFCI SmartLock Switch & GFCI Outlet. When I looked it up on the Levitons website, part 8299-AA, it doesn't look like the picture, it looks like:

The box says: 15A Receptacle, 20A Feed-through, 125 Switch: 8.3A [email protected]

Ms Jen

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch


Levitons web site does not have a wiring diagram for the device!
and your right the 8299-AA brings you to the wrong device.

What was in this wall box before you started this project?

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

Oh dear....

What was in the wall previous was the same kind of set up except, the switch was like an actual flip up and down light switch.

The nice gentleman that was helping me with my bathroom remodel had an unfortunate accident over the summer and broke his neck. :(
I can't bother him with this, I can't find what he did with the old receptacle or lights.
If the Leviton receptacle I purchased is not the right one, it's not out of the question for me to start over with something else....I'm just wanting the lights to turn on and off with a light switch. There are no other electrical outlets in the bathroom so I was trying to come up with the same setup that was previously in the bathroom........


Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

Do a simple drawing like this


With the O being the screws And the labels being what is printed or stamped on the unit itself. If you can tell us what label 1, Label 2, etc are we may be able to help you. The labels may be stamped on the face of the unit, or the side, or even the back. Plus could you tell us if there was something else in this location originally like a standard outlet.

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

Let me see if this works. I took a picture of the directions with my camera.

Hope this will help.......Thanks!!! I hope by clicking on the images they get bigger.




In case the thumbnails are not readable, the above links will bring you to pictures too!

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

Your wiring makes absolutely no sense. :confused:

I also tried to find a wiring diagram and an instruction information on that unit ... but no luck.

Was the bathroom rewired during this renovation ??
If it was then typically there would be a black wire ( hot )line or supply ( from the fuse or breaker panel ) and a white ( you refer to vanilla ) that is the neutral wire and a bare copper wire which is ground.
Now if you were to examine the diagram it says to attach the back (hot) to the brass terminal and the white to the silver terminal for the " line " connections. This would energize the receptacle.

What's confusing is what are the other two black wires ? The only thing that might be possible is they are going to the lights on the wall. If that's the case where is the white wire that should be going to these lights as well ? Logically speaking it would make sense to wire the black and the white wires from say the left light to the black and white at the right light then have one black and white continue to your combination GFCI plug /switch.

You also say the two wires labeled switch leads coming out of the top are wired into the line terminals at the bottom... if I understand correctly ??

The other possibility is that the bathroom wasn't rewired and the wiring to the lights is old two conductor which is not uncommon to not have the neutral ( white ) wire easily identified as white. Sometimes they were in black jackets as well.

I think at this stage it might be in your best interest and safer to bring someone in to do this for you.

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

Thanks Canuk....

The bathroom was not re-wired during the remodel. It's the antique wiring with the insulated cloth. The vanilla coloring of the wire might be due to age and most likely was white at one time....

The wires that lead to the light furthest from the switch, both are black. Neither set off the voltage detector as being hot.

I did say the switch leads are wired into the line terminals at the bottom. I'm not sure if that's correct.

I was hoping not to leave the lights as a manual turn off and on type of situation. If I could afford an electrician, he'd be here.

Thanks for your advice.


Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

I believe you have two wires coming from the lights and the other two wires are the hot and common from the fuse panel or breaker box. Turn the power off and isolate the two wires from the light. Hook the remaining black wire to the brass screw marked "Line" and the white wire to the silver screw marked "Line", turn the power on and plug something in the outlet and see if it is powered (make sure the reset button is in). If the outlet is powered OK, turn the power off, connect one of the switch wires to the brass terminal marked "Load" hook one of the wires from the light to the silver screw marked "Load", then hook the other switch wire to the other light fixture wire with a wire nut. turn the power on and the switch should control the light fixtures. I'm not sure the GFCI feature will work if there is no ground wire.

Re: GFCI- W/Light Switch

JLMCDANIEL ... I agree.


If I could afford an electrician, he'd be here.

Thanks for your advice.


Hopefully I didn't come across as condescending rather trying to illustrate that without the details it's difficult to help with situations like this over the internet.
Electricity is dangerous not only the risk of shock also fires.
Obviously your unsure as to how electrical devices are configured that's why I suggested having a professional or someone you know that's more familiar with this help you.

Be careful and good luck. :)


Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.