Dedicated circuit required?

Hi All,

I did a search but couldn’t find anything specific to this question…

With regard to NEC 210.23(A)(2) - Does this section prohibit the installation of a typical in-wall heater on the same circuit with overhead lighting and outlets?

I was under the impression an installed space heater such as this was to be on its own dedicated circuit. The homeowner claims all work was done by a licensed electrician, yet she states that her in-wall heater and the light for the same room no longer function. Both seem to have gone out concurrently, which I find curious unless the wiring is not quite kosher.
It’s also a possibility that an outlet located within 5 feet of both the lightswitch and the heater also no longer functions.

She also states they have had some mouse problems recently and I want to make sure she’s looking in all the right places, and at all the correct possibilities. Or at least has a proper electrician do so.

I haven’t found any subpanel associated with this addition to the main house.

Thanks for the great info here!



I am on a job right now…I will answer this for you when I get back to the office in terms of explaining sect. 210.23(A)(2)…i will keep it simple.

On a 20a circuit a 1000 watt heater would be legal, a 1250 watt would not.

(2) Utilization Equipment Fastened in Place** The total rating of utilization equipment fastened in place, other than luminaires (lighting fixtures), shall not exceed 50 percent of the branch-circuit ampere rating where lighting units, cord-and-plug-connected utilization equipment not fastened in place, or both, are also supplied.

*By the strict letter of the code all this can be on the same circuit if the circuit is isolated to just that one bathroom. NEC - 210.11©(3)Exc.

Paul, you are actually on a job and you are checking in???

Now that’s dedication! :mrgreen:


Yep…actually I have a Pocket PC and when I am checking my e-mails I check out the board…but it takes TOO long to TAP in a reply so I keep it short…lol…

Basically 210.23(A)(2) states that if you have a fastened in place equipment like lets say a “Central Vac” in a work area…you MUST size the circuit to supply it so that the actual AMP draw is not more than 50% of the rating of the equipment…IF their are other plugs on the circuit that would allow other cord and plug equipment or luminaires to be plugged into the circuit…

Thats it in a NUTSHELL…

Peter and Paul,

Thanks for the info.

I believe we’ve solved the problem and tracked it to probable rodent activity in the walls/ceiling.

The heater hasn’t been used since last winter. The light and outlet appeared to work fine until the heater was turned on for the first time this month.

Then, all 3 stopped working. The homeowner and son report the recent onset of significant mouse activity in this 6-year old addition.

I suspect they may have dined on wiring insulation in the ceiling or walls and caused an undetected short-circuit that only became evident once the heater was turned on.

It was determined that there was a ground fault (hot to ground) at the outlet. The son plugged a GFCI-bearing hair dryer into it. Nothing worked. Until he pressed the reset button on the plug, then all came to life.

I warned the homeowner that this has not solved the problem, but helped to pinpoint it. Advised that any associated breakers be turned off until proper evaluation and investigation by a licensed electrician.

Until then, it’s just a matter of time before the problem recurs or something more serious happens.

Thanks again for your info!

P.S. Unexplained is why no breakers tripped during this incident. Owner and son went through all of them trying to get it back on and found no apparent tripped breakers. I would have thought plugging the hair dryer in and hitting reset might trip, but nope.
I can only figure it was a do-it-yourself addition to the garage. Owner says no new breakers or subpanel were added, despite the additional outlets, lighting and the in-wall Cadet heater. Scary.


Quite possibly their is no EGC and thus not enough to clear the breaker itself. For example if a light post has 120V to it but only a 2 wire system ( ie: no EGC)…but someone added a ground rod and think it is safe…remember a 25 OHM ground rod only will never CLEAR the OCPD if you become energized from that light pole…