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KUIPORNG 06-14-2006 09:08 AM

Bathroom Fan need GFCI circuit?
Hi there,

I need to install a vent fan in the basement bathroom I am constructing, I would like to know do I need to hook it up to a circuit which connect to GFCI circuit breaker?

Reasons I asked is my main panel is already quite full, I don't want to use up one slot just for that... Well, the other choice is to use one of the existing GFCI circuit for that, but then I need to calculate existing loads for the circuit by finding out what are connectted to it which I do not want to go through either...

thank you for answering...

IvoryRing 06-14-2006 11:28 AM

Pretty much everything in a bathroom needs to be GFCI protected. If you mean 'I have a basement bathroom, and I want to put in a new switch for the vent fan, and the vent fan itself in the wall/ceiling with a duct leading outside'... then yes, you definitely have to have it GFCI protected.

The circuit you are going to use for light & receptacle in the bathroom must also be GFCI. Is that circuit 20A or 15A? Does it have other rooms on it, or just this bathroom?

KUIPORNG 06-14-2006 12:11 PM

Thank You
Thank You IvoryRing, I didn't know everything in bathroom needs GFCI, now you said so I probably will do that, might as well,... I intend to set up as an individual circuit... But I also heard that, receptacle and light on bathroom must be on separate circuit... does that mean I need at least two separate GFCI circuit for the bathrrom, one for the lights plus vent fan, one for the receptacle only? or I can use everything on one circuit.... Or should I find an existing GFCI circuit for the receptacle?... Yes, I am building a bathroom on the basement from nothing which have it's own vent fan direct out to the outside wall... I intend to use 15A circuit only as there are not so many amp to be drawed...

IvoryRing 06-14-2006 01:39 PM

One of the real electricians can chime in here - i.e. you should get confirmation that my memory is correct...

1.) if the bathroom is the ONLY thing on the circuit, then only one circuit is required.

2.) if the circuit will be have outlet or lights anywhere other than the bathroom, then you need them to be seperated as you understand.

3.) In all cases, GFCI is required for every circuit that shows up in the bathroom. This can be provided by a GFCI breaker, OR by making the first device in the circuit a GFCI receptacle and everything else hanging off the load side of that receptacle.

4.) In all cases, bathroom must be provided with 20A, like it or not. As a side note, since this is the only thing on the circuit, and you have to use 20A (so, 12/2 wg romex), you shouldn't have any problem with your vent fan load (even with, f.e. a hair dryer going - but TWO hair dryers at full blast will be likely to trip the breaker)

KUIPORNG 06-14-2006 01:58 PM

20A, oh no, this is a little bit bad news for me as I already done some hooking using 15A wires.... well it is not that bad... but I still don't want to redo it if I don't have to... Can just one person out there reconfirming IvoryRing's declaration about 20A, I just feel better when redoing the work... not to mentioned waste of the wires... hopefully could find usage of them somewhere else... I am in Toronto, would there be a slight chance that Toronto has a looser code... well, I probably don't take the chance and change the wires to 20A...

Well, it is better to correct now than later anyway when more things got hook up...

IvoryRing 06-14-2006 02:15 PM


Well, that throws almost everything I said out the window. The advice on sizing, etc, I gave is based on a non-professional understanding of the NEC, which is for US - Canada uses something else, but I know nothing about the details, more or less demanding.

KUIPORNG 06-14-2006 03:08 PM

I will go back to my Canadian edition of HomeDepot Wiring book see if I get some light from there...

Speedy Petey 06-14-2006 07:32 PM

I will refrain from commenting on the OP's questions since I do not know the codes for Canadian bathrooms.

I will say, the statement "Pretty much everything in a bathroom needs to be GFCI protected.", is quite false.

You can protect anything you want, but only receptacles, fans over tubs & showers, certian types of lights over tubs (NOT recessed) and jet tubs require GFI protection.

KUIPORNG 06-20-2006 10:05 AM

Got some answer from Canadian Authority (Toronto)
I sent an email to Canadian Code Authority in Toronto region, got answer back, share with you here in case you want to know, see below questions and reply (read from bottom up):

1. If the bathroom circuit includes lighting outlets, then the maximum rating of the circuit is 15 amps.
2. Lighting and receptacle outlets in a bathroom can be on the same circuit.
3. The code requires that receptacles in a bathroom be GFCI protected. The code does not require the lighting outlets or the exhaust fan to be GFCI protected.
Ontario Electrical Safety Code Rules 26-700, 30-104.
Code Specialist
Electrical Safety Authority
ESA encourages the use of Licensed Electrical Contractors.
All electrical work requires a Certificate of Inspection from the Electrical Safety Authority.
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 4:33 PM
Subject: ESA email contact form

I am doing wiring on my basement. Few questions related to bathroom wiring:
Do I need to use 20A circuit for the basement bathroom circuit? or 15A is fine as long as it is not overloaded.
Dose receptacle and lights on the bathroom must be on two separate circuits?
Does everything in the bathroom including lights/fan/receptacle have to be GFCI protected?


jbfan 06-21-2006 06:27 AM

According to the response you received from the email, I would say that a 15 amp circuit is all that is required.
The lights and outlets CAN be on the same circuit, and only the outlet must have GFCI protection.

That is the way I understand what was in the email.

KUIPORNG 06-21-2006 08:06 AM

I have already wired 15 Amp for the bathroom, just finished this morning, first device to the bathroom is GFCI receptacle, then to Fan, Lights, Shower Lights, so all will be protected by GFCI. Thanks for all the info, although some answer different from Canadian code, but it points me to the directions to seek for... Thanks everyone.

I intend to make a few more device on the same circuit before going to the bathroom not to waste such circuit, as it is only have 5 devices so far, and the web site from code department said approx 12 devices is allow for a circuit in general. so I probably either put in more receptacle or lights before entering into the bathroom, that one I still thinking about it...

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