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Old 05-07-2010, 06:12 AM   #1
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How should I GFCI-protect this?


So I am in the middle of renovating both bathrooms. I planned to have two dedicated 20A circuits (one for each bathroom's outlets) and a 15A shared lighting circuit. I now need to gfci-protect the upstairs fan, because I will be putting it in the shower. First off - is it OK to put a fan in the shower? The manufacturer says it's ok if it's GFCI protected, but is it advisable?

There is a junction in the basement on the 15A circuit above a dropped ceiling, this is where I split off to the upper/lower bathroom. I could easily put a blank-faced GFCI "receptacle" here, but if it trips, the next homeowner will never find it, and who wants to go down 2 floors to reset it. But, how often will it trip? Not often or ever I suspect. I could put a note inside the panel. So far, this is my best idea.

I'd rather not GFCI-protect the whole lighting circuit with a breaker. I also don't have much wall room in the upstairs bathroom.

Ideas? Thanks!
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:51 AM   #2
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Do not put the GFCI in a box above a suspended ceiling.

I think the best solution is a GFCI breaker or have the lighting circuit first go to a receptacle box just outside the panel where a GFCI receptacle is installed.

Can you route the bathroom lighting sub-branch to a new receptacle in a hall room just outside the bathroom to put the GFCI in? This can be helpful in providing a hall receptacle for the vacuum cleaner but can be worse than the basement if you have to go into someone's bedroom to reset the GFCI.

I would not put the fan unit in an enclosed shower stall since moisture will persist there longer when someone forgets to turn the fan on and then the fan will rust.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-07-2010 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Can you route the bathroom lighting sub-branch to a new receptacle in a hall room just outside the bathroom to put the GFCI in?
Not a bad idea at all, thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
I would not put the fan unit in an enclosed shower stall since moisture will persist there longer when someone forgets to turn the fan on and then the fan will rust.
It's a tub with a surround, if that makes a difference. I could just wire the fan to come on with the lights and force people to turn it on (or not see!). It's just a guest bathroom, so it won't get much use anyway.

Thanks, Allan.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:25 AM   #4
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The GFI could not be located in another room. The bathroom circuit can only serve the bathroom or bathroom receptacles.

How about moving the fan just outside the footprint of the shower? That way no GFI protection would be required.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:30 AM   #5
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The receptacles are already on their own separate 20 amp circuits. The lighting/fan circuit can serve anything it wants.

Why not add the fan to the receptacle circuit?
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:40 AM   #6
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Why not add the fan to the receptacle circuit?
Not a bad idea. It might make my switch box a bit overcrowded though. I will have a 2-gang box with a single switch for the vanity light, and a double switch for the fan & shower light. If I had to bring in an extra 12/2 with my 14/2 already in there, I will probably overcrowd the box.

I could go to a 3-gang box, but it would look pretty ridiculous in this tiny bathroom.

If I can't get an outlet in the hallway (might not be room around the door frame to do it), is it to code to put another bathroom outlet (15A on the lighting circuit) in the bathroom, near the floor? I think a bathroom lighting circuit can do whatever you want as long as you have a dedicated 20A bathroom outlet circuit also, right? Besides, if someone is using a hairdryer, they aren't going to plug it in near the floor, they'll use the one beside the sink.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
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How about moving the fan just outside the footprint of the shower? That way no GFI protection would be required.
The reason I want to put it in the shower is because the wall framing makes it way easier to run the duct from here.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:27 AM   #8
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You are not permitted to install an outlet on a 15 Amp circuit in the bathroom. They all need to be on the required 20 Amp circuit(s). That being said, if you are really hell-bent on using a different lighting circuit to feed that fan, you are permitted to install a blank-faced GFCI unit where you were proposing to install the extra outlet.

I'd just wire it up with a #12 wire, and put it on the same circuit as the outlet at the sink. You could install the switch(es) elsewhere in their own box, maybe closer to the tub?
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:31 AM   #9
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I've never heard that you can't have a 2nd circuit in the bathroom



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Old 05-07-2010, 08:36 AM   #10
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Why not just use a combination GFCI/switch combo unit to control both the light and fan in the shower?



This device comes with line and load wires for the switch and you can take the line and connect it directly to the load of the GFCI and splice both switchlegs (fan and light) to the other lead. It fits in a single Decora space in your switch box. Be aware of your neutrals for the fan and light and only connect those to the load side of the GFCI.

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Old 05-07-2010, 09:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
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I'd just wire it up with a #12 wire, and put it on the same circuit as the outlet at the sink. You could install the switch(es) elsewhere in their own box, maybe closer to the tub?
I have two wires run to the bathroom already, #14 for the lights and #12 for the outlet. I guess I could just cap the end of the #14 and leave it in the wall, then cap the end in the basement. Pulling the wire out isn't an option. Then I could use the #12 to power the whole bathroom. Not a bad idea.

It IS permissable to put this proposed 15A outlet in an adjoining bedroom or hallway, yes? Just not in the bathroom?
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
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...It IS permissable to put this proposed 15A outlet in an adjoining bedroom or hallway, yes? Just not in the bathroom?
Yes, that would be permissible
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:16 AM   #13
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I've never heard that you can't have a 2nd circuit in the bathroom
You can have a 2nd and even a 3rd circuit. It's just that if you want to connect receptacle outlets to it, it has to be a 20 Amp circuit dedicated to bathroom outlets.
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:06 PM   #14
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Just for those eavesdropping: If you have one 20 amp circuit serving receptacles in more than one bathroom then you may not hang a fan for either bathroom off of it.
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:54 PM   #15
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You could install a cut-in box above the switch box and install a blank-face GFCI just for the fan.
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