I would like to install a heat lamp in an existing bathroom. I have no
problem with the installation and wiring of the lamp itself, but how do I
tie into the existing circuit? Currently I have a single switch with a six
bulb vanity bar. I am also assuming that I will need to install a second
switch or timer to run this from. What about the breakers? Will I need to
install another one at the box or can I run it off the current one?
Depends on whether the total wattage (probably only lights;
although in some jurisdictions the 'mixing' of lights and outlets
is allowed on the same circuit!) already on that circuit; plus
the wattage of the heat lamp does not exceed the gauge of the
wiring and the circuit breaker of that circuit.
That's a very basic question to anything electrical; there is
sometimes a tendency for people to 'just add' things to existing
circuits and if it seems to work OK ...............! Later on an
insurance company or a coroner may not like it!
Additional wiring from an appropriate supply; most likely can be
from an existing ceiling or wall light fixture box. In general it
is unlikely that you will have to run wiring back to the circuit
breaker panel; but it all depends on what is presently on the the
circuit you intend to hook up to! If a separate wall switch for
the heat lamp is needed then standard wiring to the location of
switch will be needed; in accordance with electrical codes in
Also, what does your electrical code and insurance company say
about the type of fixture and where and how the heat lamp must be
located and whether it must be (most likely) grounded and perhaps
bonded to bathroom plumbing for electrical safety. Also some
codes, for example, say that any/all switches for bathroom lights
etc. must be outside the room.
If the heat lamp is going to be over, say, the bath tub an
approved type of of correctly grounded fixture may be required.
Sorry to preach but your question raises some basic concerns!
<< What about the breakers? Will I need to install another one at the box or
can I run it off the current one? >>
If your lighting circuit is separate from the BR outlets (properly on GFCI)
the breaker should be rated for 15 Amps. If your vanity lights are 150 watts
and the heat lamp is 150 watts, your current draw is still less than 3 Amps. Do
the math to figure how many heat lamps you want. Most timers are well rated so
that shouldn't be a problem, but check the label to be sure. HTH
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