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Old 10-21-2009, 06:29 AM   #1
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


I was planning on running my bathroom lighting on its own circuit and protected by a GFCI breaker. The lighting circuit would include a few dimmer switches and also a vent fan with electronic timer. Is this ok with code? Will the dimmers or timer interfere with the GFCI?

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Old 10-21-2009, 06:31 AM   #2
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


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I was planning on running my bathroom lighting on its own circuit and protected by a GFCI breaker. The lighting circuit would include a few dimmer switches and also a vent fan with electronic timer. Is this ok with code? Will the dimmers or timer interfere with the GFCI?
There is no need to run the lighting on a GFCI. That being said, there is no problem with doing so as you specified.

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Old 10-21-2009, 06:32 AM   #3
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


There is no need to protect the lighting circuit with GFCI.
The breaker would be an extra expense.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:33 AM   #4
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


the lights dont need to be gfi protected. only the fan if its above water. Another option is to use a standard breaker (cheaper than gfi breaker) and run that to a gfi outlet then out to the switchs and the fan and lights.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:39 AM   #5
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


I have dedicated circuits for lighting in the house
At present the only lights GFCI protected are in a steam shower & over a stall shower
Some Mfg's may require GFCI depending upon location of the light/fan
If you have lighting circuit that isn't heavily loaded I would simply add on to that circuit

You can always go above & beyond what code requires
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:02 AM   #6
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


Dimmers & fans will absolutely not trip a GFCI inadvertently. I do recommend using one GFCI recept, not more on the same circuit. The other recepts can be regular and attached to the load side of the GFCI one and will inherit the protection. All my bathrooms lighting is on dimmers, the fan is on a timer, and all are on the load side of my GFCI (protected) and have never tripped.

There's basically 2 methods for wiring a bathroom by code...

Here's your choices

1.) All the recepts of bathrooms can share the same 20A GFCI protected circuit. Lights & other stuff go on another circuit. Since all the recepts of the bathrooms share the same circuit the breaker will trip if 2 people use a hair dryer at the same time in different bathrooms but since lighting is on a different circuit they won't be left in the dark. I find this useful when there's a small master bathroom with a regular bathroom on other side of the wall. Just one 20A circuit to a GFCI recept and the rest of the recepts of both bathrooms attached to it and requirements are met. Lighting goes on a general circuit (or shared). or when remodelling an older house often one finds the bathroom is on a 15A general circuit (using #14). To bring it up to snuff it's easier to just let the lighting and #14 remain and run a new #12 line to a GFCI recept in the bathroom, add a 20A breaker and call it a day.

2.) Or all the stuff in the bathroom can be tied into the same dedicated 20A circuit (the way you mentioned) using at least #12 size wire for the whole thing. The recepts have to be GFCI protected anyway (since NEC 1975) which adds nothing to the cost if you want to have your other stuff protected as well. You can have all the lights/fans/dimmers on the load side of the GFCI recept making them protected OR not. It's your decision but all recepts must be protected. Some situations require lighting/fans be on GFCI (over a shower usually), but lighting attached to the load side will shut off if the GFCI trips and some argue being in the shower with no lights is more dangerous than protecting the lights with GFCI so they opt not to. However, I personally like having the total bathroom protected especially with a kid. So far, can't say one way or the other my GFCI has never tripped.

Last edited by Piedmont; 10-21-2009 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:40 PM   #7
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


Thanks for the advise. We added a master bath as part of our complete upstairs remodel, this will be the only bath upstairs. I ran a #12 20amp circuit for the all the bath recepts (5 total), the first will be the GFCI with the rest using standard recepts connected on the load side. I ran a second dedicated #12 recept which will be under the whirlpool tub framing, this one using a GFCI breaker instead of a GFCI recept. I ran a third #14 bathroom only lighting circuit. I have water tight can lighting over the shower and over the tub and in a recesed shelve infront of the tub, along with regular vanity lighting, a vent fan and a standard ceiling mounted light fixture in the middle of the bathroom. I figured with all this lighting so close to water sources a GFCI breaker would add that extra protection. I never thought about it tripping and leaving the bathroom dark, but considering there will be no outlets on my ligthing circuit (reducing nesusance trips) the rare chance it does trip, could mean someone just got spared a nasty jolt....

I realize my approach my not be the most cost effective, but right now (knock on wood) the budget can handle it.

Last edited by TReally; 10-21-2009 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:05 PM   #8
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Bathroom lighting on GFCI?


As stated, nothing wrong with doing what you propose. It certainly isn't a code requirement, but code is a minimum standard.

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