Allowable for one remote to controll several lights?

In doing an inspection I found that one remote control is used for the light/ceiling fan in a bedroom, kitchen, and living room. All adjoining rooms. The remote is not in a fixed location, but loose. My concern is that one room could be inadvertantly turned off leaving someone in the dark, or, that someone in the dark won’t have access to a remote in an emergency situation. I looked through my code check book and online but didn’t see anything about it. Have any of you encountered this kind of setup? How’d you handle it? Thanks for all your insight!

Everything worked so we lived with it.

We bought new house and the great room and master bedroom had identical fan/lights and identical remotes that could be used interchangeably.

When we operated them, we kept them pointed at the fan/light we wanted to control until one of the remotes quit. Then I replaced that remote with an aftermarket remote and am living happily ever after. LOL!


Hey Larry, I could understand if there were multiple remotes, however, in this instance there is only one remote to control all three lights.

Are there other lights in those rooms?

You (and we as inspectors) could make a recommendation to get a remote per room, for safety and convenience, if you felt it necessary. Or, narrate that there is but one remote visible…blah, blah, blah.

(Although, it is hard to believe other remotes ar not somewhere. Especially, if a newer place.)

I wrote up the Kitchen light as inoperative since there was no switch to turn it on. The seller indicated the remote in the bedroom controlled the kitchen light. There was no other mention of any remotes.

Are you saying there were no other switch controlled Outlets, receptacles, in those rooms? Lighting only controlled by remote control?

210.70(A)(1) Habitable Rooms. At least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room, kitchen, and bathroom.

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In the kitchen there were other lights, but I’m not sure about the bedroom. I’m going back tomorrow. I’ll check it out.

Recommend adding a remote for each room and be done with it.

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A remote device does not satisfy the requirements of the NEC. The 2020 added some additional language to clarify the requirement. It can have an occupancy sensor control device but would still require a wall switch.

210.70(A)(1) Habitable Rooms.
At least one lighting outlet controlled by a listed wall-mounted control device shall be installed in every habitable room, kitchen, and bathroom. The wall-mounted control device shall be located near an entrance to the room on a wall.
Exception No. 1: In other than kitchens and bathrooms, one or more receptacles controlled by a listed wall-mounted control device shall be permitted in lieu of lighting outlets.
Exception No. 2: Lighting outlets shall be permitted to be controlled by occupancy sensors that are (1) in addition to listed wall-mounted control devices or (2) located at a customary wall switch location and
equipped with a manual override that will allow the sensor to function as a wall switch.

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Not a defect, I might mention it as inconvenient but that is all.

The switched outlets always appear on the wrong wall (for the furniture I have). In the worst cases they occupy the same wall as the switch. In my bedroom the switch is just ON all the time as that outlet is used for the smart tv and cable box.

I always identify the switched bedroom outlets with a green dot sticker (buy the removable kind - orange dots for a miswired outlet).

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Are there wall switches in these rooms?

Is this a hand held remote? That would lead me to look for smart bulbs or smart switches and a relay.

Any equipment at or near the service panel?

From HGTV. One of the most popular home automation system components, remote-controlled lighting allows *homeowners to control the operation and intensity of a home’s lighting.

I would ask the homeowner or attending sellers agent for disclosure.

already been answered, twice


Hey everyone, just an update. A second trip to the home revealed there is a switch operated light in each room. The initial problem was the lack of a switch control for the ceiling fan/light in the kitchen. This led the sellers to disclose the remote in the bedroom controls the ceiling fan/light in the living room and the kitchen as well. Mind you, the house is a 1,334 sq ft 3/2.

The ceiling fans have a light pull chain, but no fan pull chain. There are no wall mounted fan switches for any of the units, but there is a light switch for the unit in the Master Bedroom, so, you can turn that one on/off with a wall switch.

The remote controlls all three ceiling fans/lights… at the same time. There’s no way to turn only one on/off. (except for the light via the pull chain)

The fan speed controll affects all the fans, except the Master Bedroom. When the high speed is selected all the fans go to high speed except the Master Bedroom which goes back down to low speed.

The fans in the living room and kitchen rotate in one direction, the fan in the Master Bedroom rotates in a different direction. There’s no way to individually change the rotation of the fan.

There’s time when I’m glad I don’t have to figure it all out; I just need to write it up.

Thanks for the update. That mess would definitely go into my report.


With the popularity of remote controlled fan/lights I’ve often wondered about this - isn’t a remote mounted to the wall (usually in a little holder of some type) a, “wall mounted control device?” I get that it could (will) be lost, misplaced, etc. but the way that code section reads it sounds like it might qualify?

No issues if Wall Switches, required per room, operated successfully.

Write up anomalies. Refer to a electrician that installs remote lighting.

Or you could suggest they look at the instructions and see if there’s a way to change the code for multiple remotes.


I write things like this up not because there’s a code or rule, but just to inform my client of something that, IMO, is a little odd or quirky or annoying or that will otherwise make my phone ring with them questioning why I didn’t tell them. Basically, if I were buying the house would I want to know about? This profession has gotten far too code/rule crazy.


That’s how I approach my inspections and the way I write my reports also.


Thats what I do also Matt.