Switch Over Tub

In my AHIT training manual, it states that an electrical switch should not be installed within 5 ft of a tub or shower. This bathroom has switches at the head and foot of the jetted tub, and on the back of the shower enclosure wall at the corner. They control the lights and fan. Can anyone give me a Code section that applies?



Ya mean AHIT tells it to you but doesn’t back it up with a reference???

What kind of training is that.

I see no problem with the installations you’ve pictured, assuming the first picture is a tub only, not a tub-shower combination.

Ok…since AHIT wont teach it I will…lol

Article 404.4- Wet Locations - A swtich or circuit breaker in a wet location or outside of a building SHALL BE enclosed in a waterproof enclosure or cabinet that shall comply with 312.2(A) . 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: It has to be made into the unit and the unit manufactured for the installation otherwise a violation.

Now…just like receptacles…they can go RIGHT up to the point of the tub or shower area…as long as they do not break into that space…or it has to meet the above article.

So the one behind the wall is fine…I MIGHT reject the first one…hmmm…now that i think about it I probably could FIGHT that one…lol…I have been known to give it a try…lol

Even in the tub area if no shower is it subject to being WET…anyone have a 8 year old KID in a bathtub…OH YEAH…it will get wet…lol…so is it subject to saturation…?..you tell me…and if you conclude it can…then it is a wet location and would not be allowed past the threshold in MY opinion.

In theory, I agree that the switch in picture #1 is subject to potentially “wet” conditions, but I don’t think that switch is technically in a “wet location.” I think it qualifies (possibly) as “damp.”

The NEC is very specific with regard to the probited “zone” for receptacles and types of luminaires.


Is it NOT subject to saturation?..I believe it is in my view…lol

Also…what do YOU consider “Tub or Shower Space”…do you not think the threshold is considered WITHIN that space to the point 404.4 should not apply since it directly makes a statement about switches within the location?

I don’t think it’s subject to saturation any more than the disposal switch, next to the kitchen sink.

With regards to 404.4, personally, I think it’s too vague, and subjet to interpretation that would allow the installation as shown.

It does not say that the tub and shower space is a wet location, and it does not say the switch cannot be installed within the tub and shower space.

It says the switch shall not be installed within** wet locations** of the tub and shower space.

So, it’s not a matter of what we consider to be “the tub and shower space,” the question for me is - what is the wet location of the tub space?

lol…Jeff is within PVC buried a wet location…yep it is acording to the NEC…lol…so a sink is not within the space of the BOWL area…it is outside of it…on the wall.

The switch in the first picture is clearly PAST the threshold and in the bathtub area…

Ok…everyone has their own view of the NEC…lol…but lets say this…is the switch in THIS area more subject to being sprayed and saturated where it wont harm the wall…versus on the counter where the WIFE will get quite TICKED at the mess on the counter …lol

Ok…lol…the original posted wanted a reference and I gave one…lol…let the interpretations fly…lol…I would not like it personally so my interpretation is i dont like it…:slight_smile:

lol…I looked up Mr. Holts opinion and guess what…he agree’s with MY view jeff…lol…sorry


I think AHIT was refering to Art . 680.22, outdoor spas and hot tubs near switches…the 5’ issue does not apply to bathtubs,shower stalls and hydromassage bathtubs.

Hope that helps…but personally I find the switch in the FIRST image on the inside of the tub space…and subject to saturation as well…

But thats ME…lol

Thanks Guys!

I really appreciate your enthusiasm. I don’t like either switch, or the two switches I didn’t take a picture of that were at the foot of the tub.

I can just imagine sitting in the tub after putting a dimmer switch in place of the standard switch in case I want a little more romantic mood lighting. So I put a dimmer in there. Yeah, now I can turn it down. So I reach up with lavendar bath salts running down my arm and grab the dial. The water runs down the shaft and ZAAAAP! So much for my mood. (X})

Or, lets look at the switch by the shower stall. It is for the fan. Now I am standing in the bath with water running down my arms. You know you can stand under the shower and get a regular stream of water off your finger tips. I just realized that I forgot to turn the fan on, so I reach around the stall to turn it on. The water, mixed with the more manly Irish Spring that I am using to wash off the lavendar smell, runs down my arm and off my fingers as I grope around the corner for the light switch. After getting the switch thoroughly drenched, I finally find it. ZAAAAP!

Ok, so maybe only a small chance that there will be enough water going inside the switch to make contact. But, I don’t like it.

For this inspection I am going to point out that there are differing opinions about the switch. I was hoping for an honest and for true reference that substantiated the 5’ claim for switch distance from tubs and showers as indicated in the training materials I have. And yes, I know NOT to use those materials as my reference. That is why I am asking the questions. I couldn’t find it in my IRC code and don’t have a copy of the NEC to look it up. And I did find those sections about the hot tub and spas and figured it didn’t apply here. Again, I was hoping someone else could point me to a hard reference.


First of all, if there are differing opinions between myself and Paul, you should always use Paul’s opinion over mine. He’s the expert with regard to electrical matters, I am a Home Inspector (a generalist).

Occasionally, I like to throw things against the wall to see if anything will stick :smiley:

In this case, I could make a good argument as to the way it is worded, but Paul knows better as to the intent of the code (this is his field).

The reference you are looking for does not exist (I think Paul and I both agree on that).

Hi John,

I believe that the AHIT manual (and other standard references) are wrong, the mistake being based in a Carson Dunlop image that is widely referenced by US training companies, the image that is quoted relates to Canadian rather than US codes.

Without getting into a big code interpretation discussion I believe that the NEC only prohibits the placement of switches and outlets “within the footprint of the bath or shower”. I also feel that this area of code could stand some tidying up.



2003 IRC

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.

E3902.11 Bathtub and shower space. A receptacle shall not be installed within a tub or shower space.

E3903.9 Bathtub and shower areas. Cord-connected luminaries, hanging luminaries, lighting track, pendents and ceiling-suspended paddle fans shall not have any parts located within a zone measured 3 feet horizontally and 8 feet 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 and shower.

Paul…Do you really LOL that much when you post? Every sentence is LOL, good info but man all that LOL is obnoxious. LOL

lol…I happen to enjoy it…thanks…and it is my trademark…:slight_smile:

Yes, if you ever attend one of my Seminars…I do make everyone laugh alot and LEARN…:slight_smile:


I did…404.4 applies in the FIRST picture…but in the second one their is no NEC violation and you wont find anything in the IRC in regards to the electrical that the NEC would not cover.

I can’t provide you with a 5’ on the tub and shower area because it does not exist…I many times see people in the schools not knowing all the fine points…as they have alot to cover in a short amount of time…so have AHIT call me and I will gladly come and explain it to them…thehehehhee

Thanks guys! Especially Jeff and Paul.

I thought Home inspections aren’t considered a code inspection. How about writing a note suggesting it be moved (best remedy), or installing a non-metallic weatherproof cover (minimal) and putting it on a GFCI breaker controlled circuit (better remedy)


…remember I am an electrical educator and my job is to EXPLAIN why and where the issues apply, not to tell someone what they should write as I am not responsible for the inspectors report…only the education behind it.