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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some rental houses and I was helping a tenant this evening and found that they're cooking with a microwave in the bathroom. So, I don't really care what's going on other than that microwave is plugged into a plug on a florescent light fixture. See the picture (sorry it got turned somehow in landscape).

There weren't any markings on the outlet or fixture that I could find indicating wattage limits. The plug does have a ground, but I thought that most lighting had a 600W limit.

There are no other outlets in the bathroom besides the one on the light.
 

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Just curious, why are they using a microwave in the bathroom?

No plugs in the kitchen to use??? Or maybe the microwave keeps popping breakers???

The most popular microwaves range from 700 - 1100 watts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Who knows why the microwave's in there. They're in college and if this is the dumbest thing they do that's fine.

I just don't really want to find that the place burned down because the microwave overloaded the light.
 

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Whether the receptacle in the light fixture can handle 15 or 20 amps depending on the branch circuit's breaker rating depends on whether there are thin "taps" running from the box with the feed conductors over to the fixture innards.

If the fixture wiring to the receptacle is the full 14 or 12 gauge then the receptacle can handle 15 or 20 amps respectively.

The tenant can expect that the fixture receptacle can handle the full circuit breaker rating unless there is a label at the receptacle stating otherwise.

Many cities require that only a licensed electician work on wiring in commercial properties, multifamily properties, or houses rented to non-relatives.
 

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It doesn't need to be GFCI protected because it's an older house. That's a good point though about the hairdryer. The microwave doesn't take more than a 1700w hairdryer.
I'm so glad my kids aren't in your hovel, er, rooming house. Spend the $20 to put a GFCI outlet in there in case of the kids' stupidity mixing water and electricity. Not sure why you equate age of house and not making it as safe as possible for habitation?
 

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The hair dryer that people are talking about is 120vac. The microwave has an internal HV transformer and capacitor that can run as high as 4000vac.

While both can be hazardous around water, which one do you think has the higher risk factor ?
 

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Takes few amps to kill; I think in the milliamp range, so either one.
One site:
"While any amount of current over 10 milliamps (0.01 amp) is capable of producing painful to severe shock, currents between 100 and 200 mA (0.1 to 0.2 amp) are lethal. Currents above 200 milliamps (0.2 amp), while producing severe burns and unconsciousness, do not usually cause death if the victim is given immediate attention."
source: https://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~p616/safety/fatal_current.html
 

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I've been wiring houses since the early seventies. In my experience the receptacles that were integral to the lighting fixtures were always wired with 14 if not 12 wire. The bathroom circuit is probably a 15A circuit. If it's not tripping the breaker by now it shouldn't be an issue. Concentrate your efforts in verifying the countertop receptacle is GFI protected.
 

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I'm so glad my kids aren't in your hovel, er, rooming house. Spend the $20 to put a GFCI outlet in there in case of the kids' stupidity mixing water and electricity. Not sure why you equate age of house and not making it as safe as possible for habitation?
Because they're thinking of the letter of the code rather than safety.
 

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Been a LONG time since I've seen outlets near a water source that weren't ground fault circuit interrupters. Yes, in some cases these are more expensive, but in the long run the expense is worth the expense.

In the end, this your property so are your free to do what you want, but personally I'd rather spend the money on a GFCI outlet rather than potentially dealing with a fire hazard and or a potential lawsuit.
 

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It was always my understanding that GFCI protection of a transformer's primary side didn't offer any protection against faults occurring on the secondary side.
GFCI circuitry doesn't know what's downstream of it. It can't know where the fault is. All it knows is if the current in equals current out. If they're not equal, there's a leak somewhere. Actually I think GFCI is kind of a misnomer. It should be called current leak detection.
 
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