Bathroom light switches - Location

I've been living in Red Sox Country for over 45 years and have noticed that more often than not bathroom light switches in homes around here are located outside the bathroom, while the light switches for other rooms are located near the door opening inside the rooms they serve.
Our own home, built 19 years ago,has the bathroom light switches outside the bathrooms.
I've assumed that had something to do with codes from earlier days requiring that any line power electrical apparatus be far enough away from sinks and bathtubs so you couldnt touch them when some part of your body was in contact with a plumbing fixture or immersed in water. That sort of made sense to me when thinking about earlier two wire systems where switch plates weren't grounded and a fault in the switch or a poorly insulated splice touching bare metal could make the switch plate hot.
A friend who has been a Massachusetts licensed master electrician for 30 year told me there's nothing in the present code preventing light switches from being mounted inside bathrooms, and code required GFCIs have allowed outlets to be located near sinks in bathrooms for some time now.
Can someone confirm the reason why I see so many bathroom light switches outside the bathrooms they service? Maybe it's just that old traditions die slowly.
I think those outside light switches are troublemakers for at least two reasons. One is that guests are less likely to turn the lights off when they finish using the bathroom if they don't see a switch in an expected location, and the other is that it's no fun to be sitting on the pot after dark and have some nasty child come along and turn the lights out on you. (Yes, I can find my own ass in the dark; It's the TP I have to fumble around for. <G>)
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Here in Yankees country, all the bathroom light switches are located on the proper side of the wall, and funny that you mention this problem as my brother who lives in Newton, Mass has a bathroom light switch outside the door and on the hinged side, making it nearly impossible to find. I've always assumed that they just didn't want to mess with the tile on the inside walls, but it is possible that years ago there were local codes that prohibited it

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On 8/14/2005 1:13 AM US(ET), Jeff Wisnia took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

My house was built in 1984 and the master bathroom light switch is outside the bathroom door. When the house was being built, I asked the electrician why it was there. He said that it was code that the switch could not be reached from the tub/shower. I accepted this at the time, and since my bathroom was small, there was no place to put the switch inside the room, unreachable from the shower, except on the outside wall (shower stall walls and pocket door took up most of the inside wall space). In this same bathroom, there is an outlet on the wall right above the sink. In the two other bathrooms, the light switch is inside the bathroom, right next to the sinks, and can be reached with wet hands. I have only one GFCI switch in my breaker panel, and it is for the outside outlets and inside garage. Why one source of electricity is OK in the proximity of sink water, and another source is NOT OK in the proximity of tub/shower water is a mystery to me.
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Bill


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It is to stop people from turning it on while standing in the tub or shower.

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Here in Canada we have to keep them atleast 39" from the tub or shower wether it is GFCI circuit or not.

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[snip]

As far as I remember, outlets were allowed near bathroom sinks before GFCIs were available. They didn't even have to be grounded at one time. (N) work now, of course, requires them.
[snip]
charles
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