GFCI in bathrooms

The way I understand it, all the receptacles in a bathroom need to be GFCI protected. My question is:

Some bathrooms have open walls into the bedroom (typically just the sink area). At what point is a wall receptacle in the bedroom and not in the bathroom? I am guessing that any receptacle within 6 feet of the sink (or shower/tub) should have GFCI protection.

Whether it’s code or not makes little difference.
As a HI inspector, you have the freedom to call it out as a safety issue for the reasons you stated. Your client can determine it’s importance for him.

I understand it that way as well regarding the bathroom. In a situation like you describe I would go with the 6’ rule. Just my opinion.

As Micheal Says…However if you would really like a code interp. from someone who gives them alot…here you go.

Art. 100 gives us a defintion of a bathroom and 210.8, 210.11©(3) and 210.52(D) tell us alot about the bathroom circuit.

If the following apply it is part of the bathroom -
a.) On the dedicated circuit and designed to be associated with the bathroom and meeting 210.52(D)-Its the bathroom
b). If the circuit required in 210.11©(3) is installed for the purpose of 210.52(D) then it is the bathroom
c.) If an additional 15/20A circuit is installed because someone wants to and it is inside the bathroom and services the bathroom, facing into the bathroom location then it is part of the bathroom.

Now fall back to 210.8(a)(1) - If in your judgement it is in the bathroom, facing the bathroom and is intended to be part of the bathroom then it is part of the bathroom and would be on GFCI.

In regards to the phantom 6’ rule in bathrooms for dwellings ( yes, Phantom rule I guess )…It could be just as unsafe at 7’ as the average arm span is near 6’ anyway…dont underestimate what ignorance can lead to. if it is in the bathroom make a statement it needs to be on GFCI or if older construction make a safety advice enhancement and help educate them.

FYI- I give them alot…does not mean I am always right when I give them :wink:

Since the definition of bathroom is the “area” containing the basin and other bathroom fixtures there is a judgement call about where this area ends if there is no wall.

I’m not sure I can agree with that definition. There was a discussion on several years ago, and if I remember correctly, someone found some code section somewhere that defined a bathroom as a toilet (or “water closet”) and “something else,” be it a shower, a bathtub, or a sink basin.

Here it is straight from the book

Bathroom. An area including a basin with one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub, or a shower.

Ah, so I had it backwards. It’s a basin with something else. Thanks. That leaves vanities out since they don’t have that something else.

That is why they say “area”. If you have a vanity with a basin next to a separate toilet room you can still call the “area” a bathroom.
That is why this becomes a judgement call for the AHJ. Usually when we see a vanity counter outside the shower/toilet room and in the bedroom, the GFCI will just be required on the countertop receptacles or a wall directly across from or near the counter.
There is certainly enough ambiguity to expand on that.

If the home was built prior to the “ALL” have to be GFCI protected in the bathroom then the 6 ft foot thing would probably apply in a court of law , however I would have to ask a judge and a slick lawyer if my opinion counted, and we all know what the answer would be. I would just note it on the inspection that the bathroom would probably not meet today’s codes for GFCI’s and may have meet the requirements when the home was built, (IF) they are protected within 6ft. Then you’ve covered yourself as you probably don’t know what year the home was exactly built and what code book they was under, I still know some Jursidictions that are still under the 1993 UBC, which still allows the 6ft thing. Remember to document it though.

In a bathroom all receptacles are required to be GFCI protected no matter how far they are from a sink. At least one receptacle MUST be installed within three feet of each sink.

If the vanity is separate from the tub, shower or toilet then the only receptacles that I would be concerned with would be any that are within three feet of the sink(s) and any installed in the tub, shower and toilet area. These would need to be GFCI protected.

The six feet rule applies to - (7) Laundry, utility, and wet bar sinks — where the receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the outside edge of the sink

My statement is in keeping with the OP’s statement, Obviously if the room does not define the bathroom…it just might make the entire room it is within comply with the requirements of a bathroom…

So we have to be very careful and draw a line somewhere…most bathrooms will have some threshold we can use to define the space…but as always their are the weird situations where we have to use common judgement.

As an AHJ, I will error on the side of safety and will make the call that the receptacle described in the first post should be protected with a GFCI.

In McGraw-Hill’s NEC Handbook (25th Ed.), they call it this way: "If a room is not a bathroom according to the definition, then the requirement of 210.52 for “at least one wall receptacle outlet…within 3 ft. of each basin location"does not apply. If, however, a receptacle is installed in a room that is not a “bathroom”…such as a room containing a basin only…GFCI protection is not required for the receptacle because it is not a bathroom receptacle. However, serious consideration should be given to providing GFCI protection anyway.”

In the city where I do the code inspections, when it comes to GFCI I apply no grandfathering or “technical exceptions”, knowing that an appeal is more costly than the receptacle and that the receptacle can save a life.

As a home linspector for a real estate transaction, I will make the same recommendation for the same basic reasons.