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Old 04-28-2008, 10:28 PM   #1
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Proper placement of switches


What I have is on one side a bathroom and the other side of the wall is a side entrance with stairs leading up and down. Currently the walls are down in the bathroom so I have full access to move things around. On the entrance side of the wall some previous owner installed a clever mirror that latches to the wall to hide the tub water shutoff access. However they were shorter people, so the mirror shows me my chest. We plan to double the height of the opening in the drywall and mount a larger mirror.
However, here is the issue.. above the mirror currently are 2 switches (not together, one red wire one white.. i already unhooked the red), one to a flood light and the other to an exterior outlet. I would like to put the two together and below the mirror, however I'm not certain if this is against code with the electrical switches being directly below shower valves.
See the attached picture, I've highlighted two possible locations.
The other less desirable option is to move it further down the wall where it will be above steps instead of the landing.

So is this against code to put the electrical switches right below the valves?
opinions please.
Thanks.
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Proper placement of switches-lightswitchwhere.jpg  

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Last edited by Hobb3s; 04-28-2008 at 10:28 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:03 PM   #2
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Proper placement of switches


I can't think of any. You should be fine. I'm hoping that the locations are at a convenient height on the other side of the wall.

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Old 04-29-2008, 11:13 AM   #3
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Proper placement of switches


It isn't against code to have the switch in the wall facing the opposing way underneath plumbing pipes or valves.

It is, however, against code to place a switch anywhere that would require someone to traverse any stair or landing riser before being able to activate it. The reason is that you should be able to illuminate the stairs before ever lifting a foot. When enforcing this part of the code, I try to think in terms of little kids and frail old ladies, not average people with long reach!
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:03 PM   #4
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Proper placement of switches


Thanks guys that answers my question perfectly. These two switches both control outdoor things, so the stairs aren't an issue. That is good to know however for the future.
My wife just got back to me too and confirmed with her building code experts the same as you told me.
Thanks again!
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:08 AM   #5
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Proper placement of switches


Quote:
It is, however, against code to place a switch anywhere that would require someone to traverse any stair or landing riser before being able to activate it. The reason is that you should be able to illuminate the stairs before ever lifting a foot.
Thekctermite, Can you tell me where this is in the code book, I'm going to need to move a few switches before my inspector comes.

I was able to find (in the 2005 NEC - 404.8 Accessibility and Grouping) that "All switches and circuit breakers shall be located so that they may be operated from a readily accessible place. They shall be installed such that the center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or circuit breaker, when in its highest position, is not more than 2.0m (6 ft 7 in) above the floor or working platform". I'm not sure if this is different in the 2008 NEC.

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Old 01-20-2009, 07:20 AM   #6
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Proper placement of switches


See "(c)"


210.70 Lighting Outlets Required.

(A) Dwelling Units.
(2) Additional Locations. Additional lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c).

(a) At least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in hallways, stairways, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power.

(b) For dwelling units, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power, at least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed to provide illumination on the exterior side of outdoor entrances or exits with grade level access. A vehicle door in a garage shall not be considered as an outdoor entrance or exit.

(c) Where one or more lighting outlet(s) are installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level, and landing level that includes an entryway, to control the lighting outlet(s) where the stairway between floor levels has six risers or more.

Exception to (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c): In hallways, in stairways, and at outdoor entrances, remote, central, or automatic control of lighting shall be permitted.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:05 AM   #7
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Proper placement of switches


If you DO put them below one of your valves, be aware that the valve packing on the valves might eventually start to drip. This can occur out of the blue, but most likely time will be when the valve is operated for whatever reason.

Just make sure your box is not going to get dripped on and water get inside when this happens.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:27 AM   #8
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Proper placement of switches


Petey's right about 210.70(A)(c), but the specific language I'm talking about is taken from the IRC code. Haven't checked the NEC recently to see if they're worded the same.

IRC section R303.6.1 Light activation states The control for activation of the required interior stairway lighting shall be accessible at the top and bottom of each stairway without traversing any steps. The illumination of exterior stariways shall be controlled from insided the dwelling unit. Exception: Lights that are continuously illuminated or automatically controlled.

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