National Electrical Codes For Bathrooms

luxury bathroom Interior
Peter Mukherjee/Vetta/Getty Images

The National Electrical Code (NEC) was written to provide a set of rules and regulations to keep the use of electricity in your home safe. Here are the top bathrooms codes you need to live by to remain safe and keep your electrical devices working properly.

Top NEC Bathroom Regulations

Each bathroom should have a circuit for lighting and an exhaust fan. This may include a blower-heater-light combination.

There should also be a 20-amp circuit, separate from the lighting circuit, to provide power for an outlet to feed things like curling irons, razors, hair dryers, and even portable milk house heaters.

Connected to the outlet circuit, you should install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to protect the user. A GFCI trips and disconnects the circuit power if it senses a difference in potential on the circuit, like a short circuit or a path to ground, which could be right through your body. This device is very important and can save your life!

Since bathrooms are wet, switches should be grounded as well to give any stray voltage a direct path to ground, instead of through you. You'd hate to get out of the shower, soaking wet, and get shocked by touching a switch.

Install at least one ceiling-mounted light fixture to allow ample lighting. This may be in addition to wall sconces or strip lighting in the bathroom.

Place exhaust fans or heater-fan-light combinations far enough from the bathtub, shower, or hot tub so that no one can stand in water and touch it. I'd like to see the fan located somewhere over the toilet area.

The Bottom Line

Just remember, these are the bare minimum requirements, and you can add more circuits as you see fit to accommodate the load of the appliance you plan to plug in or add to your bathroom. For instance, you may have three girls needing to use a hair dryer at the same time. In that case, you may want to add a circuit and GFCI outlet for each hair dryer.

One tip to keep in mind is that for each motorized appliance or device you should add a separate circuit to feed it. That way, you'll have ample circuitry to handle every situation in that area of the home.