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NFPA 70 Questions: Bed and bath on same circuit; non-GFCI outlets by sinks

NFPA 70 Questions: Bed and bath on same circuit; non-GFCI outlets by sinks

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Old 04-11-10, 05:15 PM
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NFPA 70 Questions: Bed and bath on same circuit; non-GFCI outlets by sinks

I recently moved into a new apartment and think I might have some electrical code violations on my hands. I wanted to pass this by some other eyes before I go bug the leasing office about it.

First off, I live in an apartment in Ohio (Cuyahoga County - city of North Olmsted). As far as I can tell, apartments here are governed by NFPA 70.

Possible Violation 1:
My bedroom and bathroom are wired on the same circuit. In section 210.10 C3 of the 2008 NFPA 70 it says, "at least one 20-amp branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom receptacle outlets. Such circuits shall have no other outlets". To me that says my bedroom can't be on the same circuit as my bathroom.

Possible Violation 2:
There's three electrical outlets within 6 feet of our kitchen sink (just above the countertop). One of them is a GFCI. The other two look like normal outlets to me (no test/reset buttons). Are there GFCI outlets that don't have test/reset buttons? If not, then I think this is a violation of NFPA 70 section 210.8 B5 that states outlets within 6 feet of a sink require GFCI. Unless...does one GFCI protect the whole circuit?

Are these indeed violations? Do buildings have to comply with the current NFPA code if it was built before the code was released (some guys at work said the bed and bathroom used to be able to be wired on same circuit)?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 
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Old 04-11-10, 06:37 PM
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Maybe. The pros will weigh in...but here's my $0.02.

1- Your cite of the 2008 NEC appears to be correct...but the question is when was the electrical work in the building done and what edition of the code does it fall under? It is not compliant with the 2008 edition, but unless it's new it doesn't have to be. It must be compliant with the edition in effect at the time...which may not have required separate circuits.

2- Easy check...plug a radio into one of the "non-gfci" receptacles. Push the test button on the gfci receptacle. Does the radio go off? If so, it's protected by the gfci and is compliant...the gfci receptacle can protect all others downstream of it if it is installed that way. If it doesn't go off, check for a separate circuit at the panel...it may have a gfci breaker, which meets the requirement.

Again, the edition of the code in effect at the time the wiring was done is what governs. They do change...occasionally significantly.

Beer 4U2
 
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Old 04-11-10, 06:50 PM
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Thanks, Tom!

1. I believe the apartment complex is around 15 years old, so the 1993 version of the NFPE 70 would likely cover it. I will have to dig around at my local library and see if I can get a copy.

2. The "non-GFCI" outlets are protected by the GFCI outlet. Thanks for the easy test advice!
 
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Old 04-11-10, 07:28 PM
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You're welcome. You may want to check with your local building department for what edition was in effect when as not all municipalities adopt the latest version right away.

 
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Old 04-11-10, 07:32 PM
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I wouldn't think the bed and bath sharing some wiring would be a huge safety concern unless one was trying to run electric heat while someone was blow drying in the other room. I don't imagine they got to re-wire the whole place every time they change renters or with each code change.
 
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Old 04-11-10, 09:39 PM
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sberry - yeah, it isn't really a safety issue...more of a convenience issue. In order to use my hair dryer I have to turn off both the lights in my bedroom and the bathroom fan or it trips the breaker. I bought a battery backup for my computer so I wouldn't have to worry about it getting turned off when I forget to shut the lights and fan off, but it's still a pain (especially re-setting the times on my alarm clock!).

I'm trying to find a way to get out of my lease (I've got a laundry list of issues that aren't legally compelling enough to get us out), hence the attempt to find code violations. I'm still going to cross my fingers that the bed/bath wired together is against code in the older version.

Tom - good idea. I'll definitely give them a call.
 
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Old 04-12-10, 07:34 AM
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I took a quick look in my 87 Handbook and could not find a requirement for a bathroom circuit. Only that a receptacle be provided.
 
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Old 04-12-10, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tangledmusings View Post
Are these indeed violations?
The wiring sounds reasonably consistent with the estimated date of construction, so I do not believe there are violations. The building must comply with the code in force at the time of construction or most recent major remodel which may even be several versions behind at that time. For example, there are still areas in the USA that follow 2002 or 2005 code. Your building from 1993 could follow a code from the 80s if that's what your city enforced at the time.

The GFCI receptacle in the kitchen probably provides downstream protection for the other countertop receptacles. If it does not, that would be an issue.
 
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Old 04-12-10, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by tangledmusings View Post
sberry - yeah, it isn't really a safety issue...more of a convenience issue. In order to use my hair dryer I have to turn off both the lights in my bedroom and the bathroom fan or it trips the breaker. I bought a battery backup for my computer so I wouldn't have to worry about it getting turned off when I forget to shut the lights and fan off, but it's still a pain (especially re-setting the times on my alarm clock!).

I'm trying to find a way to get out of my lease (I've got a laundry list of issues that aren't legally compelling enough to get us out), hence the attempt to find code violations. I'm still going to cross my fingers that the bed/bath wired together is against code in the older version.

Tom - good idea. I'll definitely give them a call.
At that time I don't think it was code. I would go to your landlord and explain what's going on and ask him to get it fixed meaning a circuit for your bathroom. If you keep up tripping the breaker your wiring could get bad due to the overloading of the circuit to many times. It shouldn't take a electrican that much time to install a new circuit in the bath. Let us know what happens.

Jim

 
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Old 04-13-10, 04:33 PM
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ibpooks: You are right. It is code compliant. I figured it was a stretch, but you never know.

rukkus11: I doubt the landlord will do anything about it as we've got (in my opinion) serious issues that need to be taken care of that are basically being ignored (like a window with mold growing between its panes). Eventually something will happen so I can get out of this lease, I'm sure. If they do decide to fix the issue, though, I'll give you all an update.

Thanks for the help everyone! Even though I didn't get the answer I necessarily hoped for, I still learned some things I didn't know before that will undoubtedly come in handy when I move out of this horrible apartment and into a house
 
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