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Thread: Bathroom wiring - light & fan

  1. #1
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    Default Bathroom wiring - light & fan

    My house was built in the sixties so there are no gfci circuits. My fuse panel is small and full. No unused fuses. I have a 15amp fuse that has a basement bedroom, rec room and bathroom all on one 15A fuse. I traced the wiring from the rec room which has 10 receptacles. The 10th receptacle has the voltage for the bathroom connected to it and the circuit ends in the bathroom. The bathroom has one switch and one vanity light 2 bulbs with a 120v receptacle in the bottom of the light thatís it nothing else electrical. I want to replace the vanity light and would have to add a receptacle in the wall. I would also like to add an exhaust fan.

    Can I replace the 10th receptacle with a gfci to satisfy electrical code for bathroom? I would also like to take out the single switch box and put in 2 more switches (3 total) & run a 14-3 wire from the hot powering the bathroom switch so I can control a exhaust fan with light separately and still keep the vanity light on its original switch.

    Can it be done to code this way? The fan/light combo will be partly over the shower so I know I need some kind of gfci + the 1 or 2 receptacles I put in the wall by the sink are needing gfci protection.

  2. #2
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    Yes you can. Code doesn't require the GFCI to be in the room it is protecting. You could consider making the wall box larger and putting a GFCI in there. This would put the GFCI in the same room which is nice, as bath fans can trip them if condensation builds up in the wrong place. You could use a "dead front" GFCI, which looks like a GFCI with no power prongs, or a regular receptacle type GFCI.

    How are you getting power to the receptacles in the wall? Is it from this switch box, or some separate circuit?
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    How are you getting power to the receptacles in the wall? Is it from this switch box, or some separate circuit?
    I was thinking of hooking a receptacle off the new vanity light, but then the power would be switched like it is now. The bathroom and bedroom share a wall so I could hook into the one receptacle on the bedroom side and put it in the bathroom side using a gfci receptacle? Would that meet requirements with NEC?

    Not sure I want the dead front gfci with the 3 switches already. I think I will try the 10th receptacle first being its only about 24" away on the other side of the bathroom switch wall. If it gets to be a trip problem I can always move it
    Last edited by Cyrus; March 2nd, 2015 at 12:53 AM.

  4. #4
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    As it is it grandfathered and to code. You are making changes that might require it to be brought up to current code which requires a dedicated 20 amp circuit for the bathroom only.

    The changes are fine if the grandfathering still applies. However why not just put the GFCI receptacle in the bathroom? Why do you want it outside?
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  5. #5
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    You can also get 2 and 3 switches on one yoke to reduce your box size. But if some need to be 3-ways, that makes it harder.

    I'd say you cannot put the bedroom circuit into the bathroom for receptacles, as this is a modification. Modifications should be done under current code which requires 20A circuits dedicated to bathrooms.

    Your dead front GFCI could also be separate on the wall if you have a way to get cable to and from it.

    I also should have qualified my answer the first time indicating that a 15A circuit should serve no more than 600 square feet of living space. Not sure what the rule was back when the house was created (the 3 watts per square foot has been in the code a long time). You can have as many receptacles as you want on a circuit, it is just the square footage that drives the number of general use circuits you have and what they cover. Technically, adding receptacles to that existing circuit may not be allowed, since it isn't a dedicated bathroom circuit and it isn't 20A. But it depends on where you local jurisdiction draws the line on extensions/modifications and having to meet current code rules.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  6. #6
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    Thank You for the advice and answers guys.

    I have taken the opportunity since I have the walls and ceiling open in the bathroom to install 2 circuits of 12-2. I moved my light switch to a different wall over by the entry door (existing vanity light switch is not in a convenient spot but can stay in use for the time being.)

    Getting a bid for new 200amp from 100amp Type S fuse. The wire for circuit 1 & 2 is installed to the fuse panel but not hooked up until breaker panel is installed.


    Circuit 1 has a 3 function switch for my Nutone fan/light/night light combo with 12-2 & 12-3 to the fan combo. The new vanity light switch is in a double box next to the 3 function switch with 12-2 running to the vanity light.

    I want to add 2 or 3 recessed or separate ceiling lights plus the vanity light on the vanity switch. At least one of these will be in front of the shower door not over the shower stall. Do my light fixtures have to be damp rated recessed lights or will regular ceiling hugger fixtures work ? I can’t seem to find a definite yes or no from reading.

    Circuit 2 12-2 has a 12-2 from the breaker panel to a gfci receptacle with 2 receptacles on the load side of gfci.
    Last edited by Cyrus; March 8th, 2015 at 04:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    There is an explicit requirement for light fixtures within the perimeter of a bathtub or shower pan, from floor to 8' above that rim:

    NEC 410.10(D) Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to shower spray.

    Some inspectors may consider a bathroom with a shower to be a damp area in the entire bathroom, which would then require a damp rated fixture. They is a grey area in the code, and the inspector is the judge. I've not seen that called out (requiring damp rated fixtures outside the tub/shower space in a bathroom), but it would be inspector specific.

    These switch boxes and light fixtures are usually easier to do with #14 wire because of the tight wiring compartments in most shower fan/light boxes. #14 is also easier to show back into the wall box on switches, especially 3 ways. It is permissible to have a 15A lighting circuit in a bathroom. The only circuit required to be 20A is one serving bathroom receptacles.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
    There is an explicit requirement for light fixtures within the perimeter of a bathtub or shower pan, from floor to 8' above that rim:

    NEC 410.10(D) Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to shower spray.

    Some inspectors may consider a bathroom with a shower to be a damp area in the entire bathroom, which would then require a damp rated fixture. They is a grey area in the code, and the inspector is the judge. I've not seen that called out (requiring damp rated fixtures outside the tub/shower space in a bathroom), but it would be inspector specific
    This is what confuses me.
    If I understand code luminaire zone does not apply to recessed or surface mounted luminaires, switches, or receptacles. So with a 95.5 inch floor to ceiling height I should be able to put a recessed can light in the shower stall itself that is rated for wet locations and the other 3 outside rated for damp locations?
    Last edited by Cyrus; March 8th, 2015 at 10:12 PM.

  9. #9
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    This rule is kind of tricky. At the beginning, it only applies to cord or chain connected type lights, track lights, or ceiling fans. The zone goes out past the shower perimeter for 3'. The second part (which I posted) applies to all luminaries including recessed lights. But all you need to comply is a damp or wet rating of the light fixture depending on whether shower spray can hit it or not. If you use damp rated ones outside of the shower/tub perimeter, you should be good. You may need GFCI protection if installed in a damp or wet location if so stated in the manufacturer's instructions.

    Switches and receptacles are in a different code section. 404.4(C) prohibits switches within shower spaces unless a listed assembly with the tub or shower. 406.9(C) prohibits receptacles in or over a bathtub/shower stall.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

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