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Light switch at shower


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I see this so rarely that I forget - I know lights, fans, etc have to be at least 3 feet from the open shower edge but does the same apply to the light switch? I think it's wrong to have an interior grade switch that close to an open shower aera, but I can't remember if there is a specfic mention of switches in the NEC or not. Any quick help would be appreciated, but I can always go with "Verify with a licensed electrican that the placement of the light switch in the bathroom is acceptable."

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I'm not aware of any prohibition against it. In fact, if you look at Exhibit 210.9 of the 08' NEC, you'll see exactly what your photo shows, with not even GFCI protection provided to the 'tub' light switch.

I'd not refer to a sparky. I'd just say it's a shock hazard. Most people have good sense and won't question it.

Marc

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The IRC or NEC will tell you where you can and can't put a receptacle in the bathroom, or with regards to a pool, spa, hot tub etc. They will even tell you what you can do with luminaires in those circumstances. The switches to control them? Not a word. The closest you get with the code is "A flush mounted switch 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." With the shower door, you are outside the tub space so no code help on this. What a shockingly bad location for an electrical switch.

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It is not allowed in Canada, because Canadians conduct electricity. I don't know why Americans don't. [:0]

Better dielectric properties in their skin. I get shocked though - I'm 3/4s French-Canadian descendant.

Marc

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As long as the switch is outside the footprint of the tub or shower there is no NEC issue. I don't see why some get so worked up about this. I have used a switch with wet hands plenty of times and never seen or heard anyone having an issue. The plastic is not conductive.

Also not all lights and fans are prohibited above the shower. Only hanging or cord connected types. Surface and flush mounted are fine.

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As long as the switch is outside the footprint of the tub or shower there is no NEC issue. I don't see why some get so worked up about this. I have used a switch with wet hands plenty of times and never seen or heard anyone having an issue. The plastic is not conductive.

Also not all lights and fans are prohibited above the shower. Only hanging or cord connected types. Surface and flush mounted are fine.

I was once shocked mildly by the garbage disposer switch next to the sink. Stainless sink and galvanized steel fresh water supply lines.

It wasn't a bad shock but still enough to take the smile of your face and to remember it.

Marc

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As long as the switch is outside the footprint of the tub or shower there is no NEC issue. I don't see why some get so worked up about this. I have used a switch with wet hands plenty of times and never seen or heard anyone having an issue. The plastic is not conductive.

Also not all lights and fans are prohibited above the shower. Only hanging or cord connected types. Surface and flush mounted are fine.

Jim as you know, the light fixture needs to be rated for a damp location, not just any surface mount fixture.

The CEC sees the light switch as a potential shock hazard, and has had this rule on the books since the 50's. I think they were not concerned with people with wet hands. It was people with wet hands while standing in a tub of water, in those days a metal tub with metal plumbing pipes.

So it is the rule here still and we are used to it. Small bathroom, the switches are out in the hall.

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  • 2 months later...

OK, so the guy meant 36", not 36'. Even so, there's no 36" rule in the NEC. It's a Canadian rule that continually crosses south of the border. Another example of continuing folklore in our industry.

Actually there is a 36" rule in the NEC. Receptacles are *required* to be placed within 36" of bathroom sinks. . .

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Thanks for clarifying. I sometimes forget that one. What I meant was the "No switches or receptacles within 36" of a shower" rule is a Canadian thing.

Just send us your beer & hockey. Keep your electrical rules. Next thing you know we're going to start seeing panels mounted on their sides.

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wouldn't been so funny if you were in the shower with 17 other people![:-monkeyd

How funny would it be with 15 other people? Inquiring minds want to know.

you have 2 feet, plus 17 other folks with 2ea equals 34'

+2' equals 36feet or 36'.

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wouldn't been so funny if you were in the shower with 17 other people![:-monkeyd

How funny would it be with 15 other people? Inquiring minds want to know.

It depends on the individual.

Some will get the joke before the dancing monkey is edited in. Some will get it after. Some will get it after Les spells it out, and some never will at all.

Those are the folks who give you what Bain and I refer to as "the look." You get that just before they correct you and explain why it doesn't make sense.

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Gary, funny thing is I made a mistake with Jim's question. he asked about 15 not 17 and now of course I have to correct the math to 32feet or 160 toes. Bain would understand and let me off the hook.

I understood and laughed before the monkey showed up.

I think the question at this point is whether Jim was adding 15 more to the original 18? He never specified. That of course, would be just silly because no one has a shower that big.

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