Unclear on the bathroom circuit issue

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  #1  
Old 02-17-06, 08:45 AM
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Unclear on the bathroom circuit issue

Can someone please explain why a bathroom must be on its own circuit? My neighbor and I were just laughing about this. He has a 2 bd/1ba house with 2 kitchen circuits, 1 bathroom circuit, and 1 circuit for the following: both bedrooms, living room, family room, hallways, exterior receptacle and lights. He recently updated his "entertainment center" in the family room and wanted to put that room on the bathroom circuit, but the building dept. said no.

Thanks for any feedback on this.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 08:50 AM
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Many of the dedicated circuit rules in the code are to ensure that you have adequate power where you need it, and thus discourage you from doing unsafe things with extension cords. If not you, then the next owner of your home.

People in older homes who need more power are much better off to run new circuits than to overload existing circuits. You have to recognize that the home was designed for the average lifestyle of years ago, not the average lifestyle of today.

Note that the actual code doesn't say exactly what you said. There are options (which we don't need to go into here) other than having a bathroom on its own circuit.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 10:22 AM
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Hair Dryers Thats Why!

The reason that the code now requires that bathroom receptacles be on a separate circuit is that a single portable hair dryer can need the entire ampacity of a fifteen ampere circuit. Thus the requirement that bathroom receptacles be on a separate twenty ampere circuit that serves only other bathroom receptacles or only other loads in the same bathroom.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 10:33 AM
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bathroom circuits are covered in 210.8(A), 210.11(C)(3), 210.52(D) and 210.70(A)(1). these articles cover gfci requirements, branch circuit requirements, location of bathroom outlets and lighting requirements. you just cant put an entertainment center in a living room on a bathroom circuit.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 04:57 PM
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I appreciate the replies. This is an 80 year-old house and my neighbor has lived in it for the last 40 or so. While updating the service would be beneficial, he has no desire to do so, and just thought it was odd that the bathroom circuit just sits there unused 98% of the time.

Hair dryers, huh? Okay, I guess I can buy that, although my neighbor occasionally runs a 1500w portable electric heater which draws at least as much power.

I realize that for those with 200 amp service this is a non-issue, and that the code is written and updated based on current standards. Nothing is going to convince my neighbor, though, that it makes any kind of sense that he can't add on to the bathroom circuit.

Thanks very much.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 08:13 PM
darinstarr
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Is it customary to put a bathroom fan on the same circuit that feeds the bathroom receptacles, or must that circuit be dedicated?
 
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Old 02-17-06, 09:35 PM
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Is it customary to put a bathroom fan on the same circuit that feeds the bathroom receptacles
That's fine; it's no different from a ceiling fan in this regard (unless it includes a 500W heater or something like that).
 
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Old 02-17-06, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by darinstarr
Is it customary to put a bathroom fan on the same circuit that feeds the bathroom receptacles, or must that circuit be dedicated?
If the circuit serves only that one bath room you can put a fan on the same circuit. Any fixed load such as a fan or heater must not draw more than fifty percent of the circuits ampacity or 1200 watts in the case of a twenty ampere circuit.
 
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Old 02-17-06, 09:44 PM
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can't skip load calculation

Originally Posted by hornetd
Any fixed load such as a fan or heater must not draw more than fifty percent of the circuits ampacity or 1200 watts in the case of a twenty ampere circuit.
But it must also leave enough ampacity for the actual loads. If you are pulling off 1200W for a fan and 360W for lights, and then you run a 1475W blow dryer, the circuit really does not meet the actual load.
 
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Old 02-18-06, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bolide
But it must also leave enough ampacity for the actual loads. If you are pulling off 1200W for a fan and 360W for lights, and then you run a 1475W blow dryer, the circuit really does not meet the actual load.
That is why I find the present version of that rule inadequate. It would permit a thousand watt kick heater on the same circuit as the basin receptacle. Since we already know that many portable hair dryers draw fifteen amps the rule should require a twenty ampere circuit for each bath's duplex basin receptacle outlet and permit no other loads.
 
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Old 02-18-06, 06:46 PM
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The code is a compromise. It can't cover all possible situations. If it tried, it'd be 7000 pages long instead of 700. So it just attempts to cover the most common situations. It will be too restrictive in some cases and too permissive in others. That's probably the best we can hope for.
 
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