Switch to GFCI

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-29-01, 08:20 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Exclamation

In my bathroom I have a standard light fixture and a switch
on the wall. I do not have an outlet. I want to replace the light switch with a combo GFCI switch/outlet. My current
light switch has only 2 wires comming from it(black/white).
How do I hook this up to the new GFCI switch/outlet?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-29-01, 09:34 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Sorry, you can't get there from here. Those two wires are a hot from your panel and another hot going from the switch to the light fixture which is hot when the switch is on and dead when the switch is off. In a typical light circuit you can't send a hot wire directly to the fixture or it'll never turn off, so they detour the hot to the switch first, which interrupts the hot that is ultimately connected to the fixture. The neutral goes from the panel directly to the fixture, where it is permanantly connected. You need a neutral, which you don't have. The only way to get a receptacle is to run a new romex with both hot and neutral to the receptacle. In theory you could pick up hot and neutral in the ceiling box where the light is, but then the receptacle would be switched on & off with the light since your hot is routed to the fixture throught the switch. There's another reason this should not be done:

The National Electrical Code now requires one 20 amp dedicated circuit for each bathroom and at least one GFCI receptacle. Nothing in the rest of the house may be connected to this circuit. The Code did not always require this, and if your bathroom was wired to the Code of the day and passed at the time it is legal today. But if you modify that circuit you would then be required to bring the bathroom up to the 1999 Code.

Sorry to break the bad news. Your question is a very common one, though.

Juice
 
  #3  
Old 08-29-01, 03:17 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I agree with everthing Juice said except ...

You can run a cable from the light box to the location of the new receptacle without making the receptacle switched. In fact, you will then have the choice of whether or not to make that receptacle switched, depending on which wires you connect to up in the ceiling.
 
  #4  
Old 08-30-01, 06:04 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
John Nelson, I must disagree with you. Not on the basis that what you are suggesting won't work, but rather on the requirement that if the bathroom circuit is modified it must be brought up to the 1999 Code. If the bathroom is on its own dedicated circuit as-is, and 12 AWG wire was used and the circuit has a 20 amp breaker or ONLY if the entire circuit has #12 wire and the breaker is increased to 20 amps, then yes, they can do as you described providing that a GFCI is used. Is this fair to say?

Juice
 
  #5  
Old 08-30-01, 07:06 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Fair. But I'm not sure adding one outlet counts as a significant enough modification to require bringing the whole bath up to current code. I'd like to hear what Wg and others would say about that.

And since "tuna" gave us no information that said that he didn't already have 12-gauge wire, nor that anything outside the bath was on this circuit, then I don't think we have enough information to say what needs to be done, even if a full code upgrade is necessary.
 
  #6  
Old 08-30-01, 09:50 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I said "if" this and "if" that to elicit more information from tuna, or at least spell out the requirements and limitations so tuna can decide for his/her self which way s/he needs to go. I would also be interested to know what Wg & others have to say. Adding a recep where there was none before, and being a bathroom, which has very specific requirements in the Code, I personally imagine that this modification qualifies for the upgrade requirement. I'd also be willing to bet that different AHJs would rule both ways on whether or not this is a simple device replacement. I also have to imagine that there are a lot of folks out there that wouldn't pull a permit for such a minor piece of work.

Juice
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: