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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 51
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Sorry for long post, please read, though.

I have a friend who remodelled part of his home after a fire. He had a friend do most of the wiring, but my friend helped, and decided what went where. The work was inspected, (and passed?). I asked if there were any violations, and he said the inspector told him that the only problems he had were some "twisted wires" that needed to be straightened out??

Though they put each room on separate circuits, separate lighting circuits, separate m-wave circuit, etc. I see numerous violations of Article 210(A)(1) on receptacle spacing, no receptacle in the storage/pantry, things like that.

But, my post is really about the light switches. Has anyone seen (and what is the code) where a switch controls the light to a room that you are about to enter? For example, the kitchen light is controlled by two 3-way switches, but, each switch is located on the OUTSIDE of the doorways in/out of the kitchen, in the next room.
So, as you prepare to enter the kitcken from the entryway, you turn on the kitchen light BEFORE you walk through the doorway into the kitchen. If you walk through the kitchen, there is a switch at the next doorway to turn on the light for the next room. Once you enter that room, there is a switch on THAT side of the doorway to turn the kitchen light off.

His thinking is that you turn a light "on" to a room BEFORE you enter that room, and you turn that light "off" only AFTER you exit that room.

The WHOLE first floor is this way, (five rooms including the bathroom - whose light is, of course, on the outside of the bathroom, not one on the inside!!).

Is this bizarre, or common???

I have no idea which switch to flip in his house. He (and wife and kids do), but who else would???

The fire, by the way, before the remodel, was determined to have been caused by a defect in a microwave which caused it to catch fire and spread (they were not home at the time, and m-wave was off).

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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Moderator
The NEC does not specify switch locations except at stairways and utility rooms.

Quote
The WHOLE first floor is this way, (five rooms including the bathroom - whose light is, of course, on the outside of the bathroom, not one on the inside!!).

You friend could have located all the switches for these rooms near the front door if he wanted to. [Linked Image]


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 849
Y
Member
210.70A1 (Shall be installed IN every habitable Room.)

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 269
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Quote
Quote
210.70A1 (Shall be installed IN every habitable Room.)
The lighting outlet must be in the room. Does not say the switch must be in the room. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by electricman2 (edited 10-20-2004).]


John
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,034
Likes: 1
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I've seen this before and have to vent on one situation. I don't think having the switch for the Bathroom light outside the room is a good idea.

[Linked Image]
Bill


Bill
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
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It may not be a good idea, Bill, but it's not a code violation. My house was wired with switched outlets. Not all the outlets, but only the one nearest the switch. That never seemed to be the one we wanted to plug a lamp into. I don't think this is a good idea either.

I don't want to sound rude about this, but maybe you should have provided your friend with an electrical print approved by the local building department, which your friend could have discussed with you so there wouldn't have been this misunderstanding. (Thank you, thank you, this is the world record for the longest run-on sentence)

Dave

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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Moderator
Hi Bill

Quote
I've seen this before and have to vent on one situation. I don't think having the switch for the Bathroom light outside the room is a good idea.

I agree that inside is better [Linked Image], however I am glad that the code leaves it open.

I have had to put the switch outside the bathroom in some very small apartments.

The other choices where in the shower or behind the door swing. [Linked Image]

Same for some small apartment kitchens, the switch would have been over the stove or far from reach inside.

Options are always appreciated in the field. [Linked Image]

Bob


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 381
H
Member
Re bathrooms ...
In the UK (and South Africa), unless the light is switched by a drop cord from the ceiling, the switch *has* to be outside of the bathroom. Wet fingers and all that.

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
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Personally, I'm an OFF person. I like turning the light OFF as I'm leaving the room. I guess your friend is an ON person who likes to switch a light on as he's entering a room. I guess from your post that you're an OFF person also.

My family would have a party in a house with the switches outside the room...turning the light off for the person in the room, especially for the bathroom.

The question that burns in my mind about this is, didn't you notice this at your friends house??? If I had a friend who wired his house with all the switches outside the rooms, I'd tell him I wanted mine inside the rooms.

Article 210 III covers Required Outlets.

Dave

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 51
B
Member
Thanks for the replies.

My friend did the remodel about three years ago. At that time, I was unaware of what the NEC required (or didn't require). I had not ever read or seen the NEC, although I was, and am, an industrial mechanic. I have a AOS degree in Electromechanical Systems Mechanics, however, we did not cover any residential wiring, or the NEC at all, for that matter.

I have only begun studying the NEC (2002) within the past few months, and have learned a lot. (Especially in my industrial career, knowing which wiring methods are legal, safe, how to size OCPD, motor overloads, etc.)

At the time of the remodel, I had told him that I thought his method was odd, and that I would locate the switches inside the room that the light was in. He is a person who has to do things 'his' way, regardless of anyone else's suggestions.

For instance, when installing a shelf in a closet, I suggested that he not install it too high, making sure his wife could reach the shelf. After the closet was completed, he said, "I should have installed that shelf lower". Among other things...

Anyway, I am not "knocking" his install, in fact it is pretty good considering he is in no way an electrician, nor was his helpers (including myself). I am only asking if this is common, or if it is legal.

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