One switch in two-switch fixture does not work

mike's Avatar (by Gravatar) by mike in  Energy » Electrical » Lighting 

Hi
I am replacing a bathroom switch that has two toggle switches one on top of the other. The top switch failed witch meant that i could not turn the fan off. By the way there is in addition to the fan, a heat lamp, and a regular bulb next to it on the ceiling. So i bought another switch hooked the wires up to it exactly as the old switch. Now the top switch turns on not only the fan but also the heat lamp and the regular bulb next to it. The bottom switch doesn't do anything! Whats the deal?

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Answer by homeowners

Do you still have the box that the new switch came in? I wonder if you can post a picture or just post the product name. It sounds as if the old switch fixture had two completely separate switches in it whereas the new has the input side of both switches shorted. Well, come to think of it: for it to work as you describe, you'd also need to install the switch wrong side up - i.e. the inputs would become outputs and vise versa. The switch itself would not care unless of course there's an internal bridge on the input side but its operation would change much as you describe.

Anyhow, see if you can post more information and carefully check for any difference between the old switch and the new - I have a feeling they are not exact same fixtures and have a small but significant internal connection difference (see above)

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