Since some bathrooms are currently equipped with many electrical current hungry devices, bathroom electrical power supply requirements had to be slightly adjusted. We used to have a bathroom sharing an electrical circuit with exterior outlets, the kitchen, and a garage – not anymore.
Of course, the minimum bathroom electrical requirements listed below are not going to work if you add a steam shower, heated electric floor, hydro-spa heater, several light fixtures, heat lamps, etc. For all that additional equipment load calculation would have to be performed, but now, let me cover the basics.
The minimum requirement for a single bathroom electrical supply is one, 20-ampere rated electrical circuit. This electrical circuit should not be used for anything else than outlets and equipment within the bathroom.
Hydro-massage tub motor terminal needs to be bonded to a water pipe (cold) with solid #8 copper wire. The bonding is prohibited for a listed double-insulated type motors (it should say on the motor label, and there will be no terminal).
There are some types of light fixtures listed below that are not permitted within a certain area in the bathroom. This area is located directly above the bathtub and the shower stall, and additionally extends 3ft (0.9 meter) horizontally, and 8ft (2.5 meter) vertically from the bathtub top rim and the shower stall threshold.
The forbidden types of bathroom electrical light fixtures or parts of fixtures in this area are:
After seeing peoples’ lack of common sense in many hazardous situations, I always recommend to put any of the bathroom electrical light fixtures located above the bathtub and / or shower stall on a GFCI protected circuit… but that’s your choice (it is not required by code but may be in your local jurisdiction and / or light fixture manufacturer requirement).
Find out all required by 2008 NEC GFCI residential locations.
One last bathroom electrical component which under some conditions would require bathroom GFCI protection is covered here – Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Final bathroom electrical pledge – please, no electrical panels in the bathroom, and remember that properly installed bathroom GFCI could save your life.
Search existing Q&A in Bathroom Answers
This article was written by Dariusz Rudnicki
I'm a retired Illinois home inspector, founder and editor of checkthishouse.com, a blog which attracts around 2 thousand readers daily and is dedicated to answering the many questions of home owners and home buyers. Connect with me on Google+ Find me on Google+ Local