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Magicrat
12-22-2008, 03:45 PM
Hello,

I plan on installing a HALO recessed light and shower trim cover over a corner (neo-angle) shower. A few quick questions....

Does the light need to be part of a GCFI protected circuit?

Is it ok to branch from the load side of a GFCI wall outlet to the light?

Thanks

beekerc
12-22-2008, 04:47 PM
standard caveat: i am not an electrician, however, i have wired two bathrooms with such lights and they have passed inspection. that being said....


Does the light need to be part of a GCFI protected circuit?

my understanding is no, unless the switch controlling the light is reachable from the tub/shower. i don't know what the code definition of reachable is, but an electrician did explain it as greater than the distance that you can reach while being able to touch a wet surface in the shower/tub. this roughly equates to 3 to 5 feet. i'm inclined to think that even if it's outside that range, since it's a switch you're likely to hit while still wet (getting out of the shower), it's probably a good idea to GFCI it anyway.


Is it ok to branch from the load side of a GFCI wall outlet to the light?

yes. however, i would go GFCI (load side) --> switch --> light.

jar546
12-22-2008, 04:51 PM
GFCI protected? Short answer, No, as long as the fixture and trim is listed for the application and properly secured.

You can only use the GFCI required receptacle power for this ONLY if the circuit feeds the bathroom in question and no other bathrooms. If it feeds off to another bathroom receptacle as many do then the answer is NO, you cannot use that power at all.

jwelectric
12-22-2008, 05:27 PM
my understanding is no, unless the switch controlling the light is reachable from the tub/shower. i don't know what the code definition of reachable is, but an electrician did explain it as greater than the distance that you can reach while being able to touch a wet surface in the shower/tub.

The location of the switch plays no role at all.

GFCI protected or not the switch can be right beside the tub/shower it just can't be within the foot print of the tub/shower

GabeS
12-22-2008, 06:28 PM
If I was all wet and touching anything that had to do with electricity, I wouldn't definitely feel more comfortable with GFI protection regardless if the code requires it or not. Don't forget code is minimum standards.

jar546
12-22-2008, 06:40 PM
If I was all wet and touching anything that had to do with electricity, I wouldn't definitely feel more comfortable with GFI protection regardless if the code requires it or not. Don't forget code is minimum standards.


Exactly, the code is minimum whether electrical or plumbing.

jar546
12-22-2008, 06:42 PM
Here is an electrical problem inside a shower.
http://www.independentinspectors.org/inspection-photos/fuseshower.jpg
Photo by Mike McClogan, Home Inspector

GabeS
12-22-2008, 06:47 PM
Did you say that panel was inside a shower? I'm a little confused. Isn't that the main panel?

jar546
12-22-2008, 06:52 PM
Yes but it was in the way of where they wanted the shower so he cleverly made a hinged panel to cover it.

It is not code compliant, nor is it safe but when you are trying to save money, who cares?

GabeS
12-22-2008, 07:01 PM
That's pretty scary. I've seen dumb things, but that might pretty much top them all.

Chris75
12-22-2008, 07:33 PM
If I was all wet and touching anything that had to do with electricity, I wouldn't definitely feel more comfortable with GFI protection regardless if the code requires it or not. Don't forget code is minimum standards.

And if you can answer WHY to any of your statments I will be impressed.

GabeS
12-22-2008, 07:51 PM
Chris, I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are asking. Can you please clarify your question.

If you're asking why I would want GFI protection, it's because the outlet would shut off if electricity starting flowing through my body.

Magicrat
12-23-2008, 04:02 AM
Thanks for the replies,

Got it, no GFCI required and I will branch off the existing light circuit in the room.

I also want to install a ventilation fan that will run off the same switch as the recessed light above the shower. The difference is the fan will not be directly above the shower (about 4 feet away). I understand that most fans require GFCI protection if "over a shower or bathtub". Does a fan require GFCI if it is 4 feet away?

Thanks again

Speedy Petey
12-23-2008, 04:19 AM
Got it, no GFCI required and I will branch off the existing light circuit in the room.

I also want to install a ventilation fan that will run off the same switch as the recessed light above the shower. The difference is the fan will not be directly above the shower (about 4 feet away). I understand that most fans require GFCI protection if "over a shower or bathtub". Does a fan require GFCI if it is 4 feet away?

Exactly.
And no, 4' away would not be considered over the shower. :D

Speedy Petey
12-23-2008, 04:20 AM
and if you can answer why to any of your statments i will be impressed. +1 ..........

GabeS
12-23-2008, 09:05 AM
And if you can answer WHY to any of your statments I will be impressed.

Can you elaborate please. I'm still not quite understanding what you are getting at. Just come out and say it, don't be afraid.

jwelectric
12-23-2008, 10:14 AM
Can you elaborate please. I'm still not quite understanding what you are getting at. Just come out and say it, don't be afraid. I would like to know why you would feel safer.
If I came in out of the rain and was wet should the switch I turn on the light with be GFCI protected?
Would it be safer if the whole house had GFCI protection?

GabeS
12-23-2008, 11:55 AM
Actually, yes it would be safer if the whole house had GFCI protection.

Should every light be GCFI protected? Depends on how safe you want to make the house.

GabeS
12-23-2008, 11:58 AM
It's surprising that you would know the complicated answer to your light bulb question(50 watt and 100 watt and someone removes the neutral, blah blah blah) and not know the answer to the simple question you just asked.

Are you one of those guys who are really book smart but lack common sense?

Speedy Petey
12-23-2008, 12:19 PM
It's surprising that you would know the complicated answer to your light bulb question(50 watt and 100 watt and someone removes the neutral, blah blah blah) and not know the answer to the simple question you just asked.
Gabe, I think it is obvious that that is not the case.

Many folks who just don't know any better think that every electrical device in a home is inherently unsafe. You might just be one of those folks.

GabeS
12-23-2008, 12:36 PM
Speedy,

You still haven't explained to me how a GFCI is not safer than a regular outlet.

The reason you can't explain it, is because you know that a GFI IS safer than a regular outlet. The same way a ARCI breaker is safer than a regular breaker.

I can't believe you're saying that someone wouldn't be safer with a GFI. I thought you said you were an electrical instructor.

Speedy Petey
12-23-2008, 12:59 PM
You still haven't explained to me how a GFCI is not safer than a regular outlet.
I NEVER said that.
My opinion is why do you need the extra safety? A properly wired and grounded circuit is almost as safe as having a GFI.
If you understood why GFIs are required in the locations they are, and that typically only receptacles require protection, you would see my point.

Properly installed lighting does not pose a threat, but people do stupid things with things that are plugged in to a receptacle.
Thing is people are STUPID!! If they were not we would not need half of the codes and laws we have today.

GabeS
12-23-2008, 01:20 PM
I NEVER said that.
My opinion is why do you need the extra safety? A properly wired and grounded circuit is almost as safe as having a GFI.
If you understood why GFIs are required in the locations they are, and that typically only receptacles require protection, you would see my point.

Properly installed lighting does not pose a threat, but people do stupid things with things that are plugged in to a receptacle.
Thing is people are STUPID!! If they were not we would not need half of the codes and laws we have today.

You were confused and perplexed when I said I would feel safer with a GFI connected to a light switch that I would flick on or off while wet in the shower.

Speedy, you ask why do you need the extra safety? The answer is to be safer.

The same reason they are requiring AFCI breakers on most circuits. To be safer. Do you think it makes sense to ask why do we need the EXTRA safety?

Are you kidding me? Are you saying that electricity flowing through a house cannot become potentially unsafe. It's electricity my friend, it can kill and has killed. If there's a way to make it even a little safer, I'm all for it. Someone else chime in and please tell me I'm not going crazy.

jwelectric
12-23-2008, 01:28 PM
Someone else chime in and please tell me I'm not going crazy.


We will as soon as you rethink what you are saying

jwelectric
12-23-2008, 01:44 PM
I thought you said you were an electrical instructor.

So letís instruct. ;)
Letís think about what is happening when we GFCI protect a receptacle. A receptacle is a place where a cord is plugged into that has an electrical appliance on the other end. This means that the electrical appliance is portable and in most cases easily moved from one location to another such as a hair dryer that is moved from one angle to another while in use.

A switch on the other hand is never used as a receptacle. It never has a portable appliance plugged into it that is easily moved from one location to another location. A switch is located in a box is for the most part is flush with the wall. There are no exposed live parts that someone could come in contact with such as the slots of a receptacle.

Some lights when installed in a wet location are required to be protected by a GFCI device. In such cases a light when on produces heat and should cold water come into contact could cause the bulb to rupture and expose live parts that are internal to the bulb.

A switch on the other hand is never used as a light fixture. It never has bulb that could break. A switch is located in a box is for the most part is flush with the wall. There are no exposed live parts that someone could come in contact should the bulb burst.

In summary it is real easy to understand why a receptacle would need GFCI protection in wet locations and why some light fixtures would need to be protected but not one reason to protect a switch.

Class dismissed :D

Speedy Petey
12-23-2008, 04:29 PM
You were confused and perplexed when I said I would feel safer with a GFI connected to a light switch that I would flick on or off while wet in the shower."Perplexed"?? You certainly are one for the drama.
No, I don't think I was.




The same reason they are requiring AFCI breakers on most circuits. To be safer. Do you think it makes sense to ask why do we need the EXTRA safety? No, it's because the manufacturers lobbied the code making panels and to prevent litigation in cases where that stupidity I mentioned rears it's ugly head. The ONLY thing we need to be safer from is ourselves!


Are you kidding me? Are you saying that electricity flowing through a house cannot become potentially unsafe. Whoa! Back up, and do NOT put words in my mouth. That is NOT what I asked or said.
Of course it can become unsafe if there is damage or someone messes with it who should not be messing with it. Or if someone did not install it correctly in the first place. THAT sir is my point.

I HATE being coded into a corner because Johnny Handyman is a hack and we need to write new codes to protect him !!!!

Speedy Petey
12-23-2008, 04:30 PM
BTW, you are going crazy. ;)

GabeS
12-23-2008, 07:27 PM
Ok. I see everyone's point.

Not sure I agree with the ARCI theory. An outlet can produce an arc that wouldn't trip a regular breaker, but would trip an AFCI.

Petey, you're right that Joe Homeowner is never going to stop messing with systems in his house that he doesn't understand because that's just the way people are. Call them stupid or call them whatever, that's how it is. When it comes to home repairs people do stupid things. The right way, nah, why would anybody want to do that. It's too boring to do it that way. :D

burleymike
12-24-2008, 09:51 AM
No matter how many GFCIs or AFCIs you have bad things can still happen. Just look at one of my favorite videos to see the kinds of things that can go wrong with elctricity. While this is not something that happens often it can happen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTPiowK6JQY

jar546
12-24-2008, 10:40 AM
Gabe,

If you want to feel better protected then a GFCI breaker feeding the entire bathroom circuit is a better idea.

The GFCI receptacle only protects what is plugged into it or what is downstream of the load side if used.

An AFCI breaker is also a great idea for arcing and sparking issues.

GFCI protection is not foolproof and there are ways in which a GFCI will not trip and you will be electricuted. If there is not path to ground during the fault and the GFCI senses the exact same current on the feed and neutral then it will never trip.

The 2008 codes add a significant amount of GFCI and AFCI protection to homes. We are still on the 05 in our area.

GabeS
12-25-2008, 07:32 AM
Jar, you're right. Good point.

The only thing I don't like about the GFCI breaker is that it's more unlikely to get tested every month or two because it's stashed away in the panel and probably gets neglected. Whereas the outlet is right in front of your face everyday and will likely get tested more often than the breaker.

Besides, you can just bring the feed for the bathroom directly into the GFI outlet and feed the rest of the bathroom off the load to protect the entire bathroom.

Don't know myself what the stats are to which one lasts longer or operates better.

I heard that they are trying require every circuit to have AFCI. Is this true? Is this required in the new code? Could get pretty expensive.

jwelectric
12-25-2008, 08:31 AM
I heard that they are trying require every circuit to have AFCI. Is this true? Is this required in the new code? Could get pretty expensive.

210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
(A) Definition: Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI). A device intended to provide protection from the effects of arc faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected.

(B) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.

GabeS
12-25-2008, 07:34 PM
Aren't those things like 40 bucks each? Whoa.

jwelectric
12-26-2008, 10:03 AM
Aren't those things like 40 bucks each? Whoa.

Yep but worth every penny if the life they save is mine

beekerc
12-26-2008, 04:43 PM
Properly installed lighting does not pose a threat, but people do stupid things with things that are plugged in to a receptacle.
Thing is people are STUPID!! If they were not we would not need half of the codes and laws we have today.

a sad truth. i don't know which is more disturbing, that people actually lack common sense, or that they don't actually lack it, but are too lazy to use it.


A switch on the other hand is never used as a light fixture. It never has bulb that could break. A switch is located in a box is for the most part is flush with the wall. There are no exposed live parts that someone could come in contact should the bulb burst.

agreed, but as is pointed out below, just as GFCI's can malfunction, so can switches, and the point about being went and in contact with a switch is a valid point. this is why i opted feed the shower light, and switch, off the load side of a GFCI outlet that is requred in the bathroom (due to it's proximity to the sink).


GFCI protection is not foolproof and there are ways in which a GFCI will not trip and you will be electricuted. If there is not path to ground during the fault and the GFCI senses the exact same current on the feed and neutral then it will never trip.

In another thread I talk about wanting to have a GFCI that has both green (properly operating and protected) and red (fault/tripped) LED's. I found the Hubbell self-testing GFCI line. I opted for the faceless unit, but i'm sure they sell receptacled ones. the nice thing is the red LED flashes when it end-of-life's and is no longer able to protect. a great feature, and not a cheap one, but if it keeps you and your family safe, are you really going to squawk over a few bucks?


The only thing I don't like about the GFCI breaker is that it's more unlikely to get tested every month or two because it's stashed away in the panel and probably gets neglected. Whereas the outlet is right in front of your face everyday and will likely get tested more often than the breaker.

Even though the receptacle is "in front of your face", it still requires a conscious effort on the owner's part to actually to the testing - see my first response to Speedy's comment. This is why the Hubbell self-testing GFCI is so attractive, even at the additional cost.


Would it be safer if the whole house had GFCI protection?

sure it would, but then factor in the inconvenience factor of having surge strips and surge protectors tripping the GFCI units and killing power to computers, tv's, home theaters, or anything else worthy of surge protection..

jwelectric
12-26-2008, 05:32 PM
a sad truth. i don't know which is more disturbing, that people actually lack common sense, or that they don't actually lack it, but are too lazy to use it.

The truth of the matter is that most people use slang such as outlet when referring to a receptacle and this makes the knowledge level drop drastically. With out knowledge then common sense hold no merit.

If a switch is properly installed and the switch fails to the metal yoke then the equipment grounding conductor will open the overcurrent device. A fault to the yoke is the only way that a switch could be dangerous and if the EGC is not in place then it wouldnít much matter if it was in a bathroom or not.

Across the big pond whole house protection for Ground Fault and Arc Fault has been in place for the service disconnect for many years. There donít seem to be any problems over there with surge devices as seems to be over here. Then again the surge protector that I am using right now and protected by a GFCI receptacle hasnít tripped as yet either. It has been in place from early 2001.

Probedude
12-27-2008, 09:57 AM
No matter how many GFCIs or AFCIs you have bad things can still happen. Just look at one of my favorite videos to see the kinds of things that can go wrong with elctricity. While this is not something that happens often it can happen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTPiowK6JQY

Was that bucket lift to blame?

220/221
12-29-2008, 06:51 PM
I also want to install a ventilation fan that will run off the same switch as the recessed light above the shower

Put it on a seperate switch. The light and fan serve very different functions.
Install a timer/switch. Leviton makes a slick decora syyle that has 5, 10, 15, 20 minute settings.


And Gabe....if it makes you feel better, if I was standing barefoot on wet tile slab floor and the switches were GFCI protected, I too would feel safer. I have been stung a couple of times via a cover plate screw. It happens.

beekerc
12-29-2008, 11:49 PM
Put it on a seperate switch. The light and fan serve very different functions.

not completely necessary. if all you have is a 1-gang box. both leviton and broan/nutone make double and triple stacked switches for bathroom light/fan use. broan even makes one that's a triple stack, one for fan, one for heater and the bottom is a double rocker for full light or night-light


Install a timer/switch. Leviton makes a slick decora syyle that has 5, 10, 15, 20 minute settings.

personally, i like the 10/20/30/60 minute version. i replaced all my spring-loaded turn knob timer switches for ventilation fans and heat lamps with these push button ones.

TheElectricalGuru
12-30-2008, 02:05 PM
Jar, you're right. Good point.

The only thing I don't like about the GFCI breaker is that it's more unlikely to get tested every month or two because it's stashed away in the panel and probably gets neglected. Whereas the outlet is right in front of your face everyday and will likely get tested more often than the breaker.


Well the sad fact is and I quote " You can't Fix Stupid " so no matter how NO BRAINER we make it someone will STILL screw it up and thus nothing can be made idiot proof.....we can only work to make it USER friendly.:eek:

beekerc
12-30-2008, 03:00 PM
Well the sad fact is and I quote " You can't Fix Stupid " so no matter how NO BRAINER we make it someone will STILL screw it up and thus nothing can be made idiot proof.....we can only work to make it USER friendly.:eek:

to quote Dr. Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, "when you make something foolproof, you will always find that the fool is bigger than the proof".

yes, i do like my user-friendly GFCI with self-testing and blinking red end-of-life indicator. i'll still test it manually once a month or so.