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Old 05-29-2019, 02:04 PM   #1
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Bathroom wiring


I will soon begin renovating a small bathroom in our home. This will also provide me the opportunity to replace the old wiring and install new switches and receptacles. My plan is to install a new 20 amp GFCI/AFI breaker in the panel, then create a dedicated circuit for this specific bathroom. The circuit will include three switches to control one ceiling light, a wall sconce near the sink, and ceiling vent/fan. Two new duplex receptacles will also be added.

Is it permissable by code to include all of the above on one circuit? I believe I read somewhere that lighting should be on a separate circuit in the event the breaker is tripped, in which case the lights won't cut out as well. I fully understand this reasoning. However, considering this is a small second bath off the bedroom, losing the lights if the breaker is tripped is not a major concern.

What would "best practice" be in this situation? Just trying to plan ahead before I begin renovating. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: Bathroom wiring


The entire bathroom can be on the one 20a circuit. Since this is an existing bathroom, you already have at least a 15a circuit in there, so why not utilize it for the lights, leaving the new 20a circuit to feed the 2 receptacles.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:00 PM   #3
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Re: Bathroom wiring


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Originally Posted by myproject7000 View Post
However, considering this is a small second bath off the bedroom, losing the lights if the breaker is tripped is not a major concern.

It is a big concern if you are the one in the shower when the lights go out and you are standing in the dark.



Just my 3 cents worth. But I never have power and lights on the same circuit. It is always handy to have power in each room even if one circuit is dead.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:01 PM   #4
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Re: Bathroom wiring


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Originally Posted by myproject7000 View Post
I will soon begin renovating a small bathroom in our home. This will also provide me the opportunity to replace the old wiring and install new switches and receptacles. My plan is to install a new 20 amp GFCI/AFI breaker in the panel, then create a dedicated circuit for this specific bathroom. The circuit will include three switches to control one ceiling light, a wall sconce near the sink, and ceiling vent/fan. Two new duplex receptacles will also be added.

Is it permissable by code to include all of the above on one circuit? I believe I read somewhere that lighting should be on a separate circuit in the event the breaker is tripped, in which case the lights won't cut out as well. I fully understand this reasoning. However, considering this is a small second bath off the bedroom, losing the lights if the breaker is tripped is not a major concern.

What would "best practice" be in this situation? Just trying to plan ahead before I begin renovating. Thanks.
I know some people will disagree with me on this, but as I interpret the code the lights must be separate from the receptacles.

I cite 2017 NEC Article 210.23(A) Exception.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:04 PM   #5
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Re: Bathroom wiring


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Originally Posted by HandyAndyInNC View Post
It is a big concern if you are the one in the shower when the lights go out and you are standing in the dark.
Just my 3 cents worth. But I never have power and lights on the same circuit. It is always handy to have power in each room even if one circuit is dead.

Exactly! And for this reason, I would propose for the NEC to eliminate the option for wiring the entire bathroom to a single circuit. In other words, require the receptacles to be on a 20A circuit with no other loads, period. The lights would need to be powered from the nearest 15A lighting circuit.
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:36 PM   #6
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Re: Bathroom wiring


Bathrooms do not require AFCI. Using a GFCI receptacle much cheaper than a breaker.

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Old 05-29-2019, 05:39 PM   #7
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Re: Bathroom wiring


I am not an electrician, and I am looking for clarification from the real sparkys.

If the light over the vanity and/or the exhaust fan over the shower is within 6 feet of water, dowant code REQUIRE them to be on a GFCI protected circuit?

Typically, I wire the entire bathroom by bringing power into a GFCI receptacle, and putting all lights, fans, etc on the load side of that GFCI.

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Old 05-29-2019, 06:10 PM   #8
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Re: Bathroom wiring


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Originally Posted by jeffmattero76 View Post
I am not an electrician, and I am looking for clarification from the real sparkys.

If the light over the vanity and/or the exhaust fan over the shower is within 6 feet of water, dowant code REQUIRE them to be on a GFCI protected circuit?

Typically, I wire the entire bathroom by bringing power into a GFCI receptacle, and putting all lights, fans, etc on the load side of that GFCI.

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The fan over the shower is usually required by the manufacturer (And consequently by the code) to be GFCI protected.

I never saw a vanity light require GFCI protection. Only certain approved ceiling shower lights and trims are permitted to be within 3' of the inside edge of a tub, but they are not required to be GFCI protected. Other lights have to be beyond 3'.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:25 PM   #9
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Re: Bathroom wiring


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The fan over the shower is usually required by the manufacturer (And consequently by the code) to be GFCI protected.

I never saw a vanity light require GFCI protection. Only certain approved ceiling shower lights and trims are permitted to be within 3' of the inside edge of a tub, but they are not required to be GFCI protected. Other lights have to be beyond 3'.

This is why I install can lights with such trims (LED trims) over the shower/tub, and the exhaust fan outside of the area. Then I never need to have GFCI protection for anything other than receptacles.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:57 AM   #10
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Re: Bathroom wiring


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This is why I install can lights with such trims (LED trims) over the shower/tub, and the exhaust fan outside of the area. Then I never need to have GFCI protection for anything other than receptacles.
As I have discussed in my bathroom fan repair guide, the optimal fan location for the installer is not always the best for the client. My personal experience with clients and my own bathrooms is that the best place for the bathroom fan to be located is over the tub or shower to remove steam. It helps to lower the humidity better and reduces the growth of mold.

I like the Panasonic line of bathroom fans with the combination fan/light/nightlight. They are quiet and excellent for retrofit applications, but do require additional wiring for three switches. Very good customer satisfaction after removing the $15.00 builder installed noisemaker fans. Relocating the ducts can be a pain depending on the original installation, but you figure that into your estimate.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:23 AM   #11
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Re: Bathroom wiring


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Originally Posted by HandyAndyInNC View Post
It is a big concern if you are the one in the shower when the lights go out and you are standing in the dark.

Just my 3 cents worth. But I never have power and lights on the same circuit. It is always handy to have power in each room even if one circuit is dead.

It's all fine and good to to go above and beyond the code. The code is a minimum standard, and not a design manual.
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Old 05-30-2019, 11:41 AM   #12
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Re: Bathroom wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmattero76 View Post
I am not an electrician, and I am looking for clarification from the real sparkys.

If the light over the vanity and/or the exhaust fan over the shower is within 6 feet of water, dowant code REQUIRE them to be on a GFCI protected circuit?

No. A light over a tub/shower must be listed for the purpose and need not be GFCI protected unless the manufacturer requires it. A light over a vanity doesn't even require any special listing at all. The "within 6' of water" was an older code requiring GFCI protection of receptacles within 6' of the kitchen sink, unless rendered not readily accessable by an appliance.

Quote:
Typically, I wire the entire bathroom by bringing power into a GFCI receptacle, and putting all lights, fans, etc on the load side of that GFCI.

Sent from my SM-G530T using Tapatalk

That's fine, but it's you personal preference. I would argue that a bathroom is more dangerous when a GFCI trips and the lights go out, then it is if the lights/fan were not GFCI protected at all.
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