Whether you’re designing a new home or remodeling your current home, electrical wiring requires careful planning. Bathrooms are one place where it is especially important to be knowledgeable about codes and safety standards before attempting to wire. Bathrooms are damp and often use a lot of power, so they have special needs when it comes to wiring. We’ve compiled a list of a few things to keep in mind while you’re planning appropriate bathroom electrical wiring.
What Electrical Wiring is Needed for a Bathroom?
Most bathrooms are damp, and many don’t have windows to help remove moisture and odors. Even with windows, a bathroom vent fan is more effective at removing moisture and odors.
Vent fans are required in all new bathrooms and remodels. You can install a vent fan that has a built-in heater, but this has different wiring requirements than a standard fan without a heater. If the vent fan has a built-in heater, it must have its own 20-amp circuit, called a dedicated circuit. The same applies to heat lamps, wall heaters, and other built-in heating appliances.
Many bathrooms do not provide much natural light, so plenty of lighting should be installed. In general, side lights are best around the mirror. Overhead lighting has a tendency to leave your face in shadow when you get close to the mirror. Side lights can be combined with lights mounted on the wall above the mirror for fuller illumination.
Bath and shower areas must have special light fixtures. Fixtures for these areas carry one of two ratings: damp locations and wet locations. Any light fixture in the “shower zone” (the tub or shower area and adjacent room three feet horizontally and eight feet vertically from the rim of the tub) must be at least rated for damp locations. However, if the fixture could be sprayed from the shower, it must be rated for wet locations.
In general, a basic bathroom electrical wiring includes a 20-amp, GFCI-protected circuit for the receptacles and a 15-amp lighting circuit for the switches, fixtures and vent fan. Depending on your geographical location, it may be required for lighting and receptacles to be on separate circuits. That way, if a receptacle trips the circuit breaker, the lights won’t go out. In some areas, it is permissible to install the lighting, receptacles, and a vent fan on a single 20-amp circuit, as long as the circuit serves only the bathroom.
All outlets in the bathroom must be GFCI-protected. A GFCI-protected outlet will shut off the flow of electricity when it detects that electricity is flowing through something other than the outlet (say, water or a human body). This is critical to preventing electric shock, especially in the damp and wet conditions of a bathroom.
You can get GFCI protection by using a GFCI circuit breaker or by installing GFCI outlets on the receptacle circuit. If you are using a single GFCI outlet, it must be wired for “multiple-location” protection so that it protects all of the outlets downstream on the same circuit.
White’s Electrical has got you covered when it comes to bathroom electrical wiring.
Not only is wiring a bathroom (or any room!) potentially dangerous, but it requires knowledge of codes and standards to pass inspection. Luckily, the electricians at White’s Electrical are skilled, licensed electricians that understand the process and legal requirements of bathroom electrical wiring. Connect with us on Facebook, submit this online contact form, or give us a call today to see how we can help you!