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#48636 - 02/17/05 12:03 PM bathroom GFCI in old house
cvelectric Offline

Registered: 04/29/04
Posts: 31
I just had a customer ask about installing a recept. in the bathroom of an old house (1940s). It would be easy to come out of the light with the feed but I know it is required to put bathroom GFCIs on a dedicated 20a. circuit. They are now using a (non GFCI) recept. that is built-in to the old fixture. It would be a fair amount of work (and money) to run a circuit to the second floor. Any thoughts?

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#48637 - 02/17/05 01:44 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
My thoughts might differ from others here. Since this is a new installation it would have to comply with current codes. If I were doing it it would be a new 20 amp circuit or nothing.

#48638 - 02/17/05 03:33 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
pdh Offline

Registered: 01/20/05
Posts: 354
I would suggest asking the AHJ to see if they will allow this. I've been told that many AHJs are receptive to upgrade situations where a little money gets people into a safer condition (and closer to compliant) than they are in now, and where more money isn't available.

If it were a case of an existing wall outlet on an ungrounded 15 amp circuit, replacing the receptacle with a GFCI would be an improvement (as I understand it). IMHO, that's better than doing nothing at all. This situation is a little different because you'd have to tap the light circuit (which is already used for receptacle power purposes, anyway), put in a new box, etc. But in terms of the improved safety, it's the same.

I've seen a number of old houses around where the electrical is in terrible shape, but because it was compliant when installed, the AHJ has little power to force a change (that in many cases would do no more than put a family on the street, which aside from imminent danger situations would not be politically good). So it seems plausible to me than many AHJs would be glad to see an incremental improvement towards code compliant and improved safety where otherwise nothing could get done.

#48639 - 02/17/05 03:43 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
Roger Offline

Registered: 05/18/02
Posts: 1779
Loc: N.C.
This is one of those situations where there needs to be an exception.

I see Scotts point but I agree with Pdh that a safety improvement is going in the right direction even if we are fudging the rules a little.

FWIW, I would do it.


#48640 - 02/17/05 04:51 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
Sparks30 Offline

Registered: 03/23/02
Posts: 125
Loc: Connecticut.usa
I am with Scott. A new circuit is the right thing to do.

#48641 - 02/17/05 05:11 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
Joey D Offline

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 263
Loc: Arlington MA U.S.
I would do it if the customer is not able to afford the correct method, not because they are cheap.

#48642 - 02/17/05 05:52 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
sierra electrician Offline

Registered: 02/12/05
Posts: 220
Loc: North Fork, CA USA
Scotts way is the only way you can do it. The liability of installing a circuit that is half right and could harm your customer will come back on you.


#48643 - 02/17/05 06:41 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
Clydesdale Offline

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 139
What is the reason behind the dedicated circuit rule for bathroom GFI? I understand it is code to have a dedicated circuit for the bath gfi, but is it "less safe" than non-dedicated? i also agree with scott, but question the motives of the code. is it for reasons other than safety?

#48644 - 02/17/05 07:04 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
sierra electrician Offline

Registered: 02/12/05
Posts: 220
Loc: North Fork, CA USA
Have seen the equipment women use? Plus you can put all the baths on the same ckt.

#48645 - 02/17/05 07:26 PM Re: bathroom GFCI in old house
SolarPowered Offline

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
It occurs to me that, depending on what kind of panel they have, you might be able to install a GFCI breaker on the circuit. Then the recept. on the light would be protected, without the legal issues that might arise from a non-compliant upgrade.

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