ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
Top Posters(30 Days)
dsk 13
Admin 4
Recent Posts
electircal ageing test on IPC
by SIAME. 08/15/17 02:43 AM
electrical aging test on IPC
by gfretwell. 08/15/17 12:27 AM
Bathroom electrical
by gfretwell. 08/14/17 02:05 AM
"Line level" audio on Cat 5?
by gfretwell. 08/08/17 10:39 PM
Fire alarm phone lines and color coding
by gfretwell. 08/08/17 10:26 PM
New in the Gallery:
Housebilding DIY wiring
Popular Topics(Views)
239,878 Are you busy
175,446 Re: Forum
167,727 Need opinion
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 43 guests, and 12 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate This Thread
#180948 - 09/17/08 04:50 PM All bath receptacles on 20A circuit?  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
I believe that the intent of 210.11, C, 3 was to require all receptacle outlets in dwelling unit bathrooms to be supplied by at least one 20A circuit, but it seems that with the exclusion of the word "ALL" that this would also allow other receptacle outlets on 15A circuits to be installed in bathrooms.

Keeping this in mind, and if so, couldn't someone interpret this to say that the receptacle outlet required by 210.52, D within 3-feet of the outside edge of the sink wouldn't be required to be on a 20A circuit?

Seems that adding the word "All" would clarify this if indeed the intent were that all general-purpose receptacle outlets are to be on a 20A circuits.
Was this an intentional omission to continue to allow fan/lights units with their internal receptacles to still be connected to 15A lighting circuits in these bathrooms?

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides

#180950 - 09/17/08 05:16 PM Re: All bath receptacles on 20A circuit? [Re: KJay]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
First of all: vocabulary. While all receptacles are 'outlets,' not all outlets are 'receptacles.' Therefore, there is no reason to require the lighting to either be on a 20 amp circuit, or require bath lighting to be separate from other lighting circuits.

Likewise, 210.11 (C)(3) says 'at least one.' I see no reason why there could not be an additional circuit of 15 amps serving other receptacles, or outlets.

Why would one wish for another circuit? Well, my very own bathroom (circa 1940) has just such a separate circuit, to power a space heater. The other half of my duplex has removed the space heater ... and replaced it with a 15 amp receptacle. In both cases, the #14 wires are on 15 amp breakers. (Mine is a GFI smile )

#180952 - 09/17/08 05:36 PM Re: All bath receptacles on 20A circuit? [Re: renosteinke]  
KJay  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
That is my take on this code article as well, even though that may not be what the NEC was trying to convey.
This has been a bur in my side since the ’05 code when I installed a 15A GFCI receptacle on a separate 15A circuit for a towel heater in a bathroom remodel and the inspector was adamant that it be on with the 20A circuit, citing 210.11,C, 3.
I couldn’t see how it was a violation the way the article was worded, but for the sake of getting the job signed off, I changed it.
Just wondering how others see this as I guess it is more a matter of perception. crazy

#180953 - 09/17/08 05:58 PM Re: All bath receptacles on 20A circuit? [Re: KJay]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Well, there's no denying that the NEC crossed over into 'design' with the bath issue. Look at the way it developed:

First, they wanted them GFI protected. Prior to this, bath receptacles were - if present at all - often tacked on to any convenient circuit. Remember the plugs in the bases of the lights?

Well, with the GFI requirement extended to bathrooms, the result was that bathrooms were now put on the same circuit as the laundry room - the first place to require a GFI. Anything to avoid buying another $10 device.

With the advent of pistol-grip hair dryers, curling irons, etc., in the '70's, it was decided to require the bathrooms to not only be on their own circuits - there were plenty of service calls inspired by searching for the GFI - as well as the requirement that the circuit be a 20 amp circuit.

(Prior to the '70's, a 'hair dryer' was something that today would make you think of a haz-mat suit ... a little suitcase with a hose, and a cap that fit over the top of the head. Or, something you sat in, and had a 'helmet' lowered over you.)

Still, the code allows multiple baths to be on the same circuit. As a result, a recent McMansion I worked on had the bath circuit zipping all over the place, just to serve all five of the baths, on three levels of the house.
Personally, I'm not convinced that this was the best way to do things ... but it WAS code compliant.

#180970 - 09/17/08 10:34 PM Re: All bath receptacles on 20A circuit? [Re: renosteinke]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,103
I have one of those questionable circuits too. There are 2 20a circuits in my master bathroom. One hits my wife's side (3 times) and the fan ... OK
The other hits my counter receptacle and the 1/4hp whole house fan. The inspector didn't figure it out and I didn't tell him. I am not sure I have plugged anything in there in 10 years. My wife has all 6 of hers full.
I am getting ready to do the guest bath and I have the same question as Kjay. Do I have to abandon the existing 15a if I add a 20? (I'm not going to but I am curious)

Greg Fretwell

#180976 - 09/17/08 11:06 PM Re: All bath receptacles on 20A circuit? [Re: renosteinke]  
EV607797  Offline
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
Geez man, it's the 1,800 watt hair dryers that are causing this insanity. The manufacturers keep making them bigger and bigger. Next thing you know, they will be making 240 volt curling irons. I won't be surprised to be cruising the local store and to see 2,500 watt hair dryers sometime soon.

Yep, the NEC has changed from being a reference for safety, uniformity and compliance. They have now decided to dance to the tune of bath/kitchen designers and manufacturers of connected appliances. It is all about the bucks.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."

#180988 - 09/18/08 11:42 AM Re: All bath receptacles on 20A circuit? [Re: EV607797]  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Originally Posted by EV607797
Next thing you know, they will be making 240 volt curling irons.

Had 'em here for years! grin

#180992 - 09/18/08 12:12 PM Re: All bath receptacles on 20A circuit? [Re: pauluk]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,103
Ed they just make bigger claims, not bigger hair dryers. I have never seen one that actually pulls more than 1500w at 120v, no matter what the label says.
Typical result

Greg Fretwell

Member Spotlight
Brick, NJ USA
Posts: 6,857
Joined: April 2002
Show All Member Profiles 

2017 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2017 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Shout Box
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.017s Queries: 15 (0.003s) Memory: 0.7975 MB (Peak: 0.9591 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2017-08-17 19:31:55 UTC