Light Switch Near Shower

(Vince Santos, Reg104669Cc) #1

It’s my understanding the NEC is not very clear on these applications. Would you comment on this and what verbiage would you use?

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(Jeffrey R. Pope, CMI) #2

Sure it is. There's nothing to comment about.

NEC 404.4 Switches shall not be installed within wet locations in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly.

These switches are clearly outside of the "shower space."

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(Jim Port) #3

Jeff has it summed up right there. As long as you are outside the footprint, even by 1/16", you are code compliant.

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(Blaine Wiley) #4

Since we are becoming responsible for cradle to grave service for our clients...

"Dry your hands before touching these switches lest the grave portion of our service will come sooner than you may wish"..;-)

Nothing to write up about them otherwise, as Jeff said.

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(Michael Roberson) #5

Do they run through the GFCI?
Might be a good idea

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(Tim C. Howell) #6

I thought the switch had to be a minimum 3' from the shower. Recommend GFCI / evaluation by an electrican

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(Paul W. Abernathy) #7

Tim...I believe that is in Canada but not in the US.

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(Jeffrey R. Pope, CMI) #8

[quote="thowell, post:6, topic:39428"]

I thought the switch had to be a minimum 3' from the shower. Recommend GFCI / evaluation by an electrican
[/quote]

What is there to "evaluate?"

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(Frank M. Carrio, CMI) #9

[quote="vsantos, post:1, topic:39428"]

It's my understanding the NEC is not very clear on these applications. Would you comment on this and what verbiage would you use?
[/quote]

Vincent,
Here are some graphics on light fixtures that you might find useful.

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(Bob Elliott, 450.0002662) #10

[quote="fcarrio, post:9, topic:39428"]

Vincent,
Here are some graphics on light fixtures that you might find useful.
[/quote]

Never knew the 8 foot rule.
Good illustration if still up to date.

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(Frank M. Carrio, CMI) #11

[quote="relliott, post:10, topic:39428"]

Never knew the 8 foot rule.
Good illustration if still up to date.
[/quote]

Hi Robert,

Your question as to whether or not this graphic was "still good" prompted me to do a lot, and I mean a lot of research.

  • I have found that information still valid.

I've gone out of my way to research the "electrical section" of the International Residential Code to look for "switches, receptacles, and luminaries" in damp/wet locations.

Here's what I found and I hope it is of some use.

Please feel free to add it to your "database".:p

[size=4]International Residential Code [/size]

SECTION E3603
REQUIRED BRANCH CIRCUITS
E3603.4 Bathroom branch circuits.
A minimum of one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply 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 Section E3602.

*E3605.7 Location of overcurrent devices in or on premises. *
Overcurrent devices shall:

*LOCATION, WET. *
Installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth and locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, such as vehicle-washing areas, and locations exposed to weather.
{This also includes swimming pools, Jacuzzi's, hot tubs, "regular tubs", sinks, showers and basins.}

Chapter 38 Power and Lighting Distribution
Section E. 3801, Receptacle Outlets

E3801.6 Bathroom.
At least one wall receptacle outlet shall be installed in bathrooms and such outlet shall be located within 36 inches (914 mm) of the outside edge of each lavatory basin. The receptacle outlet shall be located on a wall that is adjacent to the lavatory basin location.
Receptacle outlets shall not be installed in a face-up position in the work surfaces or countertops in a bathroom basin location.
*Exception: *
The receptacle shall not be required to be mounted on the wall or partition where it is installed on the side or face of the basin cabinet not more than 12 inches (300 mm) below the countertop.

SECTION E3802
GROUND-FAULT AND ARC-FAULT
CIRCUIT-INTERRUPTER PROTECTION
*E3802.1 Bathroom receptacles. *
All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in bathrooms shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

SECTION E3803
LIGHTING OUTLETS
E3803.1 General.
Lighting outlets shall be provided in accordance with Sections E3803.2 through E3803.4.

E3803.2 Habitable rooms.
At least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room and bathroom.

Not be located in bathrooms.

CHAPTER 39
DEVICES AND LUMINARIES SECTION E3901 SWITCHES
E3901.7 Wet locations.
A switch or circuit breaker located in a wet location *or outside of a building shall be enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure or cabinet. *Switches shall not be installed within wet locations in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly. {IE manufactured "watertight/water resistant" specifically for the installed unit.}

*WATERTIGHT. *
So constructed that moisture will not enter the enclosure under specified test conditions.
{NOTE:
Some luminaries are "waterproof/watertight" and are constructed/manufactured specifically for the use in "wet locations" such as within 36 inches of a tub, shower, or Jacuzzi.}

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

SECTION E3902
RECEPTACLES
E3902.11 Bathtub and shower space.
A receptacle shall not be installed within or directly over a bathtub or shower stall.

SECTION E3903
FIXTURES
E3903.8 Wet or damp locations.
Luminaries installed in wet or damp locations shall be installed so that water cannot enter or accumulate in wiring compartments, lampholders or other electrical parts. All luminaries installed in wet locations shall be marked SUITABLE FOR WET LOCATIONS. All luminaries installed in damp locations shall be marked SUITABLE FOR WET LOCATIONS or SUITABLE FOR DAMP LOCATIONS.

E3903.9 Lampholders in wet or damp locations.
Lampholders installed in wet or damp locations shall be of the weatherproof type.

E3903.10 Bathtub and shower areas.
Cord-connected luminaries, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended-luminaries, lighting track, pendants, and ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall not have any parts located within a zone measured 3 feet (914 mm) horizontally and 8 feet (2438 mm) vertically from the top of a bathtub rim or shower stall threshold.
This zone is all encompassing and includes the zone directly over the tub or shower. Luminaries located in this zone shall be listed for damp locations and where subject to shower spray, shall be listed for wet locations.

SECTION E3905
TRACK LIGHTING
E3905.4 Prohibited locations.
Lighting track shall not be installed in the following locations:
1. Where likely to be subjected to physical damage.
2. In wet or damp locations.

Once again, I hope this information can be useful to some or all of you.:nachi::nachi:

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(Michael Larson, WI Lic. # 1672-106) #12

That's great info Frank(thanks for your research) but none of it applies to Vince's original question of a light switch near the shower bay.

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(Bill Emelander) #13

The switch in Vince's picture is OK and as Jeff said there is nothing to comment about.

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(Frank M. Carrio, CMI) #14

[quote="mlarson, post:12, topic:39428"]

That's great info Frank(thanks for your research) but none of it applies to Vince's original question of a light switch near the shower bay.
[/quote]

Does it look like this light switch is within the 36-inch "wet zone" or within 36-inches* from the outside edge* of the shower?
http://www.nachi.org/forum/attachments/f19/29128d1244575384-light-switch-near-shower-100_5272.jpg
CHAPTER 39
DEVICES AND LUMINARIES SECTION E3901 *SWITCHES*
E3901.7 Wet locations.
:pA switch :p.... or circuit breaker located in a wet location *or outside of a building shall be enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure or cabinet*. :cool:Switches:cool:...... **shall not be installed within wet locations in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly.
{IE manufactured "watertight/water resistant" specifically for the installed unit.}

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(Jim Port) #15

Frank,

How would you consider that a wet location? It is outside the footprint of the drained area of the shower pan. I also scanned the code sections posted by you and did not see any mention of the 3' distance regarding switches.

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(Marcel Gratton, CMI) #16

In my opinion, if you're standing in the bathtub or shower and can reach a light switch then it is not safe...period!

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(Jeffrey R. Wicklander) #17

[quote="fcarrio, post:14, topic:39428"]

Does it look like this light switch is within the 36-inch "wet zone" or within 36-inches* from the outside edge* of the shower?
http://www.nachi.org/forum/attachments/f19/29128d1244575384-light-switch-near-shower-100_5272.jpg
CHAPTER 39
DEVICES AND LUMINARIES SECTION E3901 *SWITCHES*
E3901.7 Wet locations.
:pA switch :p.... or circuit breaker located in a wet location *or outside of a building shall be enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure or cabinet*. :cool:Switches:cool:...... **shall not be installed within wet locations in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly.
{IE manufactured "watertight/water resistant" specifically for the installed unit.}
[/quote]

How did you come up with 36 inches outside of 'the wet-zone' as 'the wetzone' itself?

Jeff

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(Frank M. Carrio, CMI) #18

[quote="mgratton, post:16, topic:39428"]

In my opinion, if you're standing in the bathtub or shower and can reach a light switch then it is not safe...period!
[/quote]

Agreed!
That was why the "36-inch" rule was devised! :p

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(Frank M. Carrio, CMI) #19

[quote="jwicklander, post:17, topic:39428"]

How did you come up with 36 inches outside of 'the wet-zone' as 'the wetzone' itself?

Jeff
[/quote]

Look at the diagram. The “wet zone” is anything within 36-inches from either edge of the tub or… 8-feet above the tub!
These areas are considered “wet zones” because they are “subject to shower spray”.
http://www.nachi.org/forum/attachments/f19/29210d1244785621-light-switch-near-shower-bath-elect.jpg
[FONT=Arial]E3903.10 Bathtub and shower areas.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Cord-connected luminaries, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended-luminaries, lighting track, pendants, and ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall not have any parts located within a zone measured 3 feet (914 mm) horizontally and 8 feet (2438 mm) vertically from the top of a bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. [/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]This zone is all encompassing and includes the zone directly over the tub or shower. Luminaries located in this zone shall be listed for damp locations and where subject to shower spray, shall be listed for wet locations.[/FONT]

CHAPTER 39
[FONT=Arial][size=3]DEVICES AND LUMINARIES SECTION E3901 *SWITCHES[/size][/FONT]*
[FONT=Arial][size=3]E3901.7 Wet locations.
*:razz:A switch :razz:.... or circuit breaker located in a wet location *or outside of a building shall be enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure or cabinet. :cool:Switches:cool:...... **shall not be installed **within wet locations* in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly. [/size]*[/FONT]

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(Frank M. Carrio, CMI) #20

FROM THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE.

2008 National Electrical Code
ARTICLE 404-*SWITCHES*
404.4 Damp or Wet Locations.
A surface mounted switch or circuit breaker in a damp or wet location shall be enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure or cabinet that shall comply with 312.2.
A flush mounted switch or circuit breaker in a damp *or *wet location shall be equipped with a weatherproof cover. Switches shall not be installed within wet locations in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly.
{NOTE: According to both the NEC and the IRC a damp/wet location is in the area within 36 inches of either edge of a tub sink or basin and/or an area that is subject to "spray". The "wet/damp area also extends 8 feet vertically.}

Luminary Locations
410 10.10
*{A.} Wet and Damp Locations *
Luminaries installed in wet or damp locations shall be installed such that water cannot enter or accumulate in wiring compartments, lampholders, or other electrical parts. All luminaries installed in wet locations shall be marked, "suitable for wet locations". All luminaries installed in damp locations shall be marked "suitable for wet locations" or suitable for damp locations.

{D.} Bath Tub and Shower Areas.
No parts or cord connected luminaries, chain, cable, or cord suspended luminaries, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling suspended {paddle} fans shall be located within the zone measured 900 mm {3 feet} horizontally and 2.5 m {8 feet} vertically from the top of the bathtub when I'm or shower stall threshold.
This zone is all encompassing and includes a space directly over the tub or shower stall. Luminaries located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m {8 feet vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations were subject to shower spray.

PLEASE NOTE:
BOTH THE NEC AND THE IRC HAVE THE SAME DEFINITION FOR THE "WET ZONE".

:nachi:I hope this has been of some help to my fellow NACHI members
{and guests}:nachi:

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