I am trying to fix up my mom's bathroom. Currently she has a
fluorescent light on the wall with an outlet in the light fixture. I
want to replace this light by adding a GFCI outlet then connecting a
switch to the outlet that leads to a new light fixture. Would I simply
add the new outlet from the wires originally going into the light, run
a wire from the outlet to the switch, and then a wire to the new light
fixture. I have done some electric work in the past, but never really
rewired things. Any suggestions. Thanks again.
Sorry forgot to mention this. Currently the wiring is coming directly
from the wall into the light fixture. I want to run this wire to a new
gfci outlet then to a new light switch then to the new light fixture.
So the outlet would be always on and the light would be turned on/off
from the switch. Would it be this simple or am I forgetting something.
You've got it right, and taking the switch wrom the output side of the
GFCI is a good idea for bathroom stuff.
Only possible problem I can envision is if too much steam from showering
gets into the light fixture and makes the GFCI trip. But why not "suck
it and see", it probably won't happen.
Make sure you extend the ground wire too, if there is one.
I am understand and appeciate all the feedback. Here is my main reason
for the way I plan on doing it. If I put the light first with a switch
before the outlet then wouldnt the outlet only work when the switch was
in the on position. If this is not correct could someone please
explain how I could get around this.
The simplest way would be to have a hot, nuetral, and
ground coming into the GFCI box, pigtail two wires to each,
and have one set go to the gfci outlet, and another set
go to the switch, and from there to the light.
THe only difference from what you desccribed is that
the cable going to the switch is connected before
the gfci, instead of to the outlet side.
I dunno diddly about fill-ratios, but I do know that
getting a GFCI and three sets of 12-AWG wires into
a normal outlet-box is crowded, so you might have
to use a bigger box that you normally would.
I have the lights in my bath on the 'protected' side of a GFI and have never
had them trip because of steam. The one thing I'd never do again is put the
GFI on the switch. It wasn't a big deal at first since any time I needed
something plugged in I also needed the lights. But now with so many things
rechargable (toothbrush, shaver, etc.) it's a pain since there is no 'hot
all the time' outlet near the sink.
Just because you are feeding the lights off the GFI doesn't mean you need to
feed them off the protected side. Depending on the style of GFI there are
generally several options for continuing a non-protected line out of the
If you want the light supplied via the GFCI you will need to run four
wire cable between the lighting outlet box and the switch / GFCI
receptacle box. Two of the wires bring the power to the GFCI
receptacle. A jumper from the GFCI receptacle's brass colored load
terminal supplies the light switch. The remaining two wires in the
cable go from the silver screw of the GFCI load for the white wire and
the other terminal of the switch for the black or red wire. The best
cable to use for this would be the nonmetallic cable with two whites and
two blacks that are used to bring AFCI protected circuits to bedrooms.
Failing that you use four wire cable with White, Black, Red, and Blue.
The blue is re-identified as a White to serve as the grounded current
carrying conductor from the lighting outlet box to the switch /
receptacle box. If neither type of four wire cable is available you
could run two separate two wire cables between the two boxes or run
flexible raceway and pull the needed conductors into that. In either
case the box for the switch GFCI needs to be large enough for a wire
count of nine wires @ 2.00 cubic inches for each number 14 AWG conductor
or 2.25 cubic inches for each number 12 AWG conductor. If you use a
plastic box the number of cubic inches of internal space is printed
inside the back of the box. For ganged metal boxes two two and one half
inch deep, three by two inch, device boxes will be fine. For the nine
wires in the lighting outlet box a two and one half inch deep by four
inch octagonal box should be OK. If the existing lighting outlet box is
only one and one half inch deep or less you will need to change it's
support to keep the front edge flush with the surface of the wall.
If the light does not include a receptacle and is not to be GFCI
protected for other reasons then you only need three insulated wires
between the two boxes. The black and white will bring constant power to
the GFCI and the light switch and the red will bring the switched hot
back to the light fixture. The white wire for the light fixture will be
made up to a white jumper wire from the two spliced white wires in the
lighting outlet box. That will drop the wire count in both boxes down
to eight conductors. Both wire counts assume you will not use internal
cable clamps. If you do use internal clamps then add one conductor
volume to each count. Both counts also assume you are using non
metallic cable, type MC cable, or flexible raceway that have a separate
equipment grounding conductor in the cable. If you use type AC cable
then you can drop the count by one conductor volume in each box were
there is no Equipment Grounding Conductor within the box.
If you have any questions please ask.
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
I am NOT an electrician. I have done some of my own wiring. I would always
check code. But another question I see is wouldn't it be better to have
the light up stream of the GFCI outlet so if it trips you can see to reset
it? Anything down stream of the GFI will not work, so I'd also make sure
nothing else, like an outlet with a clock is on the circuit after the
breaker. Just something to consider
"Code says you have 2 choices for bathrooms.
#1: You can run a single 20amp circuit to feed the outlets (and only
the outlets) in all bathrooms. In this case you could use 1 gfci in
the first location, and protect the other outlets from it. The
downfall to this is that if you trip a gfci in the downstairs, and you
are in the upstairs bathroom, you have to run downstair to reset it.
#2: You can run a single 20amp circuit to feed everything in one
bathroom only (outlets, lights, fans etc...), and not use that circuit
in any other room. Since there is alot more hair dryers, curling
irons etc being used these days, it makes more sense to run 1 circuit
for each bathroom, and install a gfci in each required location, next
to the basin. "
The circuit that enters the bathroom goes to the switch first or the
light fixture.? Receptacle first.,?
If it goes to the light fixture then you would need two wires and a
ground from the light to the switch. The two wires would be a hot and
a switch leg.
If the circuit comes in the bathroom and goes to the switch first.
Then you would need 3 wires and a ground from the switch to the Light
1 wire to operate the light. 1 to keep the receptacle hot all the time
the neutral and the ground.
Are you sure about this? The needle on my BS meter is twitching here.
It sounds unlikely that the electrical code would allow one to wire an
outlet in a bathroom to be protected by a remote GFCI outlet *in another
room*. I thought all outlets protected by ground-fault interruptors had
to live in the same room as the interruptor.
Having GFCIs located in the same room as any load they protect would be
too much like sense.
210.11 Branch Circuits Required.
Branch circuits for lighting and for appliances, including
motor-operated appliances, shall be provided to supply the loads
computed in accordance with 220.3. In addition, branch circuits shall be
provided for specific loads not covered by 220.3 where required
elsewhere in this Code and for dwelling unit loads as specified in
(C) Dwelling Units.
(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch
circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 20-ampere
branch circuit shall be provided to supply the bathroom receptacle
outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets.
Exception: Where the 20-ampere circuit supplies a single bathroom,
outlets for other equipment within the same bathroom shall be permitted
to be supplied in accordance with 210.23(A).
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
Thanks for providing that. But it says nothing about GFCI protection, so
I'm not sure what to make of it. Are you saying that by remaining silent
on the issue, the code is saying it's OK to rope outlets to multiple
bathrooms on one GFCI-protected outlet?
I'm still skeptical, and would never do it that way. But that's just me.
answers 3 and 4.
I don think there was a change in 2005 NEC. Have to peek.
I have seen many of the older houses that have a GFCI receptacles in
the Garage 10-15 feet from the panel and then they would take the
protected side of the circuit into the house and that circuit would
feed ONLY the receptacles in the bathrooms. Receptacles marked GFCI
I would not do it that way either but ....................
On Fri, 06 Oct 2006 10:22:17 -0700, David Nebenzahl
On Thu, 05 Oct 2006 22:30:08 -0700, David Nebenzahl
It's easy and cheap to do it that way, and therefore moronic not to,
but code doesn't require it, no. Which is as it should be, since the
proper objective of code is designed to keep you uninjured, not to
keep you from being inconvenienced.
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