Lightswitch In Tub Area


Today I found this dimmer control for the lights over a whirlpool tub. The dimmer is over the horizontal surface of the tile, but not directly over the tub itself. It is the right-most of the three coverplates in the picture, and is OBVIOUSLY put in that position to be reached from within the tub. The light switches for the rest of the bathroom are on the other wall, and don’t control these lights. It is NOT protected by the GFCI serving the bathroom. I think it is dangerous. What do you think? At a MINIMUM, I think they should wire it to the GFCI protected outlet that is less than eighteen inches away. The third coverplate in between the two is for cable-tv and a phone.


It’s not over the tub so it’s legal. Safe is a judgement call.
IMO it is not unsafe if it is wired properly.

Yep, looks good to me.

“Click To Enlarge”


Does this look like the AHJ had it removed? Why was it wrong?

IMG_2436 (Small).jpg

It’s inside the tub area. It should be located outside the tub area.

Still think so?:wink:

IMG_2437 (Small).jpg

Well, I wasn’t on-site, but if you draw a line straight down from the outlet, it’s inside the tub area.

Look for yourself…

“Click To Enlarge”

David, I agree with you but seems a gray area in the (word we don’t use). The location in my pic is just as accessible as the one in John’s original post.

Let me through in another question for thought:

How far would the wall behind the actual tub foot print in my pic have to be before the switch location became a non issue?

Hmm. I have to admit, the drawing is straightforward. Still, the switch is over the tile, which is part of the tub structure. The drawing shows the switch over the floor.

I guess I am stuck on the intent. If you need to install a fan/light, which is in the ceiling, on a GFCI protected circuit (per the manufacturer’s instructions) why would you not need to install a 120v light switch, that was clearly installed so that the occupants of the tub can reach it, with GFCI protection at least?

Is that a fridge?? First I’ve seen that set-up in a bathroom (coffee maker and fridge)

Yeah Brian, That is a fridge. It kinds of reminds me a a hotel room.

You know, stepping back a minute. There really isn’t that much different here than in the kitchen or bathroom where you have your hands under the water, or holding the sprayer, and reach up to turn on the light or the garbage disposer. The current, were your hands to be wet and somehow the water got to the conductor, would run down one arm, through the heart, and out the other. You would be just as dead, or at least severely hurt, as if you reached up to that switch from the tub.

Only you wouldn’t be floating around in your all in all when they found you…

If the Electrician simply installed this switch 4 to 5 inches to the right, like this…
IMG_2436%20%28Small%29.jpg(outside the outer rim)

then it would have been all set.

In John’s original picture (butt ugly bathroom, imo) or Michael’s I can’t see a non-destructive access panel to inspect the pump motor bonding and possibly GFCI receptacle for the hydro-tub.

I call access absence all the time as well as depicted switches.

“although the hydro-tub switch location may pass past or current AHJ building standards, I advise removal and coverplate installation too avoid the potential for electrocution.”

I don’t need anything but common sense to report what I find and will leave the fighting to the homeowners, builders…

The rest would be up to the consumer to choose their fate.

You are absolutely correct Barry and it was reported as such but that wasn’t the point of the thread;-)

When I first observed this I thought maybe acesss was through the vanity sidewall but none there either. Why the AHJs approve this type on installation is beyond me.

I still would like to see the professional opinion of some of our sparkies on the light switchbox placement. I think the NEC is a bit unclear on this issue and the diagrams I’ve seen never seem to show this type of situation. I guess that leaves it up to the AHJs and us poor HIs.

Got it, but in my pea-brain if I can’t verify the “other” required electrical installation features it helps to better drive my points across to my clients that the entire hydro-tub installation may be incorrect. thus they may be more apt to remove and cover as in your photo.

Is the dimmer in the right corner behind the plant? If were comparing it to Davids last picture revamp :slight_smile: where it’s outside the outer rim, then it’s fine?

I agree it’s not really safe or ideal, but all you can do is state your opinion about the matter and make recommendations if needed.

(David, you’re a damn good “cloner”) :slight_smile:


I truly consider this an alarmist view. Tell me the “potential for electrocution”.
(“Electrocution”…great alarmist word by the way.)

Thing is you make these statements and go away. Then the seller, buyer and contractors have it out over who is right. All we hear is *“The inspector said…”. *The we are charged with the task of proving you wrong. It is a “guilty until proven innocent” scenario.

lol…why not just ask us directly…lol…the NEC is very clear in my mind…the threshold of the tub defines the area…then the 3 ft x 8 ft zone for certain luminares is also then defined.

If the receptacle or switch is outside the threshold of the tub…its legal…and if installed properly safe as well…unless you are in Canada.

You also have to remember David. Not everything is always as it seems. The customer may have changed the tub after the rock went up and no one wanted to pay for patching the walls. Or the prints may have been offf, or the room size altered.

Then there are times when you simply have no choice. Last year I did a bath where the semi-circle shower doors came within 6" of the door frame. I HAD to put switches there, really.
Luckily this was the non-operable side of the enclosure, but iether way, I guarantee a H-I would call this out. Regardless of the fact that it is 100% legal and 100% safe.

Or California.

*“Switches installed just outside the area of a tub or shower are know in the state of california to cause cancer”

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: