Bathroom lights required to be GFCI protected?

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Old 12-01-13, 08:35 PM
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Bathroom lights required to be GFCI protected?

The bathroom lights share the same circuit as the hallway lights and outlets. The bathroom outlets on a separate GFCI circuit.

Does the National Code say anything about having the bathroom lights GFCI protected? I suppose I would be concerned with excessive shower steam leading to moisture around the bathroom lights that could potentially trip the breaker.
 
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Old 12-01-13, 09:25 PM
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Not required and best practice they should not be GFCI protected. That way you are not left in the dark if you trip a GFCI. However within the footprint of a shower or tub the lights may require GFCI protection depending on manufacturers recommendations.
 
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Old 12-01-13, 11:39 PM
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Bathroom Fixtures

The NEC has no requirement for GFCI protection of lighting in bathrooms. If you have a bath fan or bath fan w/light installed over the tub or in a shower, the manufactures instructions will usually call for GFCI protection. The NEC does not allow track lighting or pendant fixtures in a shower area or over a bath tub extending 3ft from the edge of the tub and to a height of 8ft above the tub rim. Recessed fixtures or surface fixtures over a tub or shower must be damp labeled and if subject to shower spray they must be wet location listed.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 07:34 AM
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How do you GFCI protect a single bathroom fan or shower light while keeping it on the same non-GFCI circuit as the rest of the lights?
 
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Old 12-02-13, 07:51 AM
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You can't. What brought this up? Are you wiring a new bathroom?
 
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Old 12-02-13, 08:25 AM
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Receptacles in a bathroom must be on a 20 amp dedicated circuit. If that circuit serves only one bathroom the lights in that bathroom are the only other thing that can be on it. If it serves two or more bathrooms not even lights can be on it.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 09:06 AM
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Thanks. I do know that bathroom receptacles have to be on a 20 amp dedicated circuit. The bathroom receptacles / outlets is already on a 20 amp dedicated circuit. The bathroom lights, however, are on a different circuit. Those bathroom lights share the same circuit as the adjacent hallway lights and hallway receptacles. What brings this up is the purchase of a new bathroom vent/fan and shower light. Sorry that I wasn't clear.

My dilemma is that the manufacturer of the bathroom fan and shower light have a mandate in the installation instructions for purposes of the warranty that the devices (fan and shower light) must be GFCI protected.

So, other than wiring a separate dedicated GFCI circuit from the panel to the bathroom fan and shower light, I don't see how else to GFCI protect the fan and shower light, and thus keep the warranty. I really don't want to isolate the bathroom fan and shower light from their current hallway circuit to a new dedicated circuit if I don't have to. It seems to be alot of unecessary work just to stay compliant with the manufacturer's warranty.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 09:22 AM
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So, other than wiring a separate dedicated GFCI circuit from the panel to the bathroom fan and shower light, I don't see how else to GFCI protect the fan and shower light, and thus keep the warranty.
I wouldn't worry about the warranty as much as I would about safety, that's why there is a requirement. If this is being installed over the footprint of a shower or tub, yes, it must be GFI protected. Depending on how the circuit is wired, you could mount a deadfront GFCI device in a cut-in box near the wall switch and route the switchleg through this new device.

GFCI, Dead Front, Ivory, 20A
 
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Old 12-02-13, 09:37 AM
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other than wiring a separate dedicated GFCI circuit from the panel to the bathroom fan and shower light, I don't see how else to GFCI protect the fan and shower light, and thus keep the warranty.
How about feeding the switch(es) for those fixtures from the LOAD terminals on the GFCI receptacle in the bathroom? Or just from the receptacle if the GFCI protection is a breaker?

Don't worry about the warranty. That's not why this is important.
Originally Posted by CasualJoe
I wouldn't worry about the warranty as much as I would about safety, that's why there is a requirement. If this is being installed over the footprint of a shower or tub, yes, it must be GFI protected.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 09:52 AM
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Bring power into a two gang box and use a deadface GFCI and a duplex switch.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 12:04 PM
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Thanks guys for the suggestions. The deadface GFCI front is a hideous looking solution. Its a good idea, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Trying to GFCI protect the shower light and fan seems more of a design challenge than I thought. This is a small bathroom.

If I really want to GFCI protect the shower light and fan, it seems like my options are:
  • Feed the all the bathroom lights, including shower light and fan, into the dedicated GFCI bathroom outlet. I'm not sure I like the idea of the bathroom lights going out during a shower when there is too much steam tripping the breaker.
  • Feed only the shower light and fan into the dedicated GFCI bathroom light, leaving the other bathroom lights on a separate non-GFCI circuit. I don't know about this one. It seems like weird.
  • Keep the bathroom GFCI outlets on its own GFCI circuit. Create a new circuit at the panel for the GFCI protected shower light and fan. And create a new circuit at the panel for the other non-GFCI protected bathroom lights. This would mean a total of 3 separate circuits just for a small bathroom. And I am already running out of space in the panel!

Anyway, I thought you guys were saying that National Code doesn't require that bathroom lights, including shower lights, be GFCI protected. And if that's the case, then who care's what the manufacturer's warranty says. Couldn't I just keep everything the same as it is? After all, the bathroom outlets are already on their own GFCI circuit, and all the bathroom lights are tied into the adjacent hallway circuit. I mean, maybe that's not manufacturer warranty approved, but that's still code compliant, right?
 
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Old 12-02-13, 12:42 PM
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then who care's what the manufacturer's warranty says.
No one but the NEC does require you to follow the manufacturers instructions and it is the instructions that require that.

The deadface GFCI front is a hideous looking solution
Then put it in a cabinet. Not a good solution but you think it is ugly so be it.

Just so we are on the same this is a dead face GFCI:

Name:  TGS_I_Blank_Face_GFCI.jpg
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Last edited by ray2047; 12-02-13 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 12-02-13, 01:43 PM
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I am not sure if the note about the warranty would be included in the listing and labeling instructions that the NEC requires to be followed.

I too would suggest a remote mounting of the GFI in a remote location. Just don't forget where it is.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 05:55 PM
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I thought you guys were saying that National Code doesn't require that bathroom lights, including shower lights, be GFCI protected.
Only if a light is located over the footprint of the tub or shower is it required to be GFCI protected.

You have an option you didn't list, you could change the breaker for the hallway lighting circuit to a GFI breaker.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 06:18 PM
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I have never seen a light that called for GFI protection over a shower or tub. The NEC does not require the lighting to be GFI protected, unless the instructions call for it.

The instructions for exhaust fans/lights over a shower or tub do call for GFI protection if over the footprint of the tub or shower.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 09:57 PM
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Are you guys sure about this? There seems to be some question whether or not a light on the ceiling right above the shower is required by the NEC to be GFCI protected. The bathroom fan is about 1-2 feet away from the shower.

I'm kinda bummed because I didn't want to have to go through a lot of work to bring this up to code. All I did was buy a different style of shower light and bathroom fan. I can easily hook it up, but I do want to be safe. So, if the National Code says that shower lights and bathroom fans must be GFCI protected! then I'll have to suck it up and just do it.

Anyone know for sure? Is there a link somewhere to the code on this specific thing?
 
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Old 12-02-13, 10:27 PM
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Bathroom Lights

The NEC has no requirement for GFCI protection of lighting in a bathroom. If your fan is not inside the shower it does not require GFCI protection. You stated your bath lighting is on a lighting circuit outside the bathroom with receptacles. Chances are the bath lighting is supplied from a receptacle on that circuit, if you want to protect the shower fixture for some reason, find the receptacle where the circuit goes to the bathroom and install a GFCI Feed-Thru receptacle at that location.
 
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Old 12-02-13, 10:29 PM
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My dilemma is that the manufacturer of the bathroom fan and shower light have a mandate in the installation instructions for purposes of the warranty that the devices (fan and shower light) must be GFCI protected.
Originally Posted by pcboss
I have never seen a light that called for GFI protection over a shower or tub. The NEC does not require the lighting to be GFI protected, unless the instructions call for it.

The instructions for exhaust fans/lights over a shower or tub do call for GFI protection if over the footprint of the tub or shower.
Are you guys sure about this? There seems to be some question whether or not a light on the ceiling right above the shower is required by the NEC to be GFCI protected. The bathroom fan is about 1-2 feet away from the shower.

I'm kinda bummed because I didn't want to have to go through a lot of work to bring this up to code. All I did was buy a different style of shower light and bathroom fan. I can easily hook it up, but I do want to be safe. So, if the National Code says that shower lights and bathroom fans must be GFCI protected! then I'll have to suck it up and just do it.
I thought you guys were saying that National Code doesn't require that bathroom lights, including shower lights, be GFCI protected. And if that's the case, then who care's what the manufacturer's warranty says.
Maybe this will help clarify what we've been saying:
110.3(B) Installation and Use. Listed or labeled equipment
shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions
included in the listing or labeling.

[SUB]Source: National Electrical Code[SUP][/SUP], 2011 Edition[/SUB]
 
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Old 12-03-13, 01:43 AM
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I recently replaced a bathroom fan and also moved the location to directly over the shower. The new fan also required GFCI protection. I connected its wiring to the old light that was already above the shower, since I wanted the light switch to also turn on the fan. The power feed for the light switch was in the electrical box on the bathroom wall. I fed the power down with new cable to a new GFCI receptacle and connected to the Line terminals. Then I ran another cable back to the switch box from the GFCI Load terminals. Then I connected the hot from the GFCI Load to the old switch, and the neutral to the cable going to the light and fan. So now power flows to the switch box, next to the GFCI receptacle, then to the light switch, and finally to the light and fan. It has worked fine.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 07:23 AM
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I fed the power down with new cable to a new GFCI receptacle
But if the O/P thinks a dead face GFCI is ugly think how ugly he must think a GFCI receptacle is since it has even more ugly bits. O/P wrote:
The deadface GFCI front is a hideous looking solution.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 08:59 AM
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I have never seen a light that called for GFI protection over a shower or tub.
Perhaps I spoke too quickly, but I know I have seen that requirement somewhere. I double checked and you are right, the NEC does not require it. Maybe it was a local thing, I'll keep looking.
 
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