looking to possibly install a shower light

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by mcf57, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. mcf57

    mcf57 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    GA, USA
    I have a finished basement with a finished bathroom. All works good, but when I originally had it finished, I simply had the existing ceiling light kept where it was (essentially in center of bathroom). There is also then vanity lights (over sink area) and an exhaust fan. Therefore, there is a 3 panel switch near the bathroom entrance to control all of these independently. Near this light switch is also a standard GFCI protected outlet for plugging in two devices.

    I now wish I would have had the electrician move the current centered ceiling light over to the tub/shower area. Luckily, this bathroom's one main wall is adjacent to an unfinished room that contains the main floor's HVAC system, the whole house water heater, the open studs for this bathroom & access to all of this bathroom's plumbing.

    Since I have easy access to the main bathroom wall from this unfinished area, I was thinking of trying to put in my own additional tub/shower light. This unfinished area has some professionally installed outlets so I was hoping I could basically tie off from one of them in order to provide the power and switch for a tub/shower light. I realized since its a bathroom, I would also have to get some sort of GFCI protected circuitry. Here is what I was thinking of getting from my local home depot or Lowes:

    outlet.jpg

    I wanted to use this specifically so I could not only have the switch, but gain another outlet in a useful area of this bathroom. Haven't decided exactly what tub/shower light I'm gonna get, but don't think its gonna be anything expensive or grand. Basically here is how I thought the wiring would run:

    CURRENT STANDARD OUTLET ---> new GFCI outlet/switch---> tub/shower light


    Unfortunately, I can't tie off the existing GFCI outlet in this bathroom cause its on another wall that is not easily accessible. Can I pretty much use this GCCI switch/outlet combo unit and have it coming off a normal, existing outlet (in the unfinished area) as described above? Or is there maybe some other factors I should take into consideration?
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  2. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    You do not ned to GFI protect the shower light, but you can if you want to.
    If you do add another receptacle (like the one posted) then it must A GFI (protected) receptacle.
  3. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Pete is right, it is not required that your shower light be gfi protected. Not that it would not be a good idea. You could even put in a conventional outlet with two points and a switch next to it in a 4" square box, and have the switch fed by the gfi. Ask questions if that is unclear to you.

    What you SHOULD do is assure that the light is shower rated. Not even remotely all are. A good solution would be a 6" can light with a proper shower rated lens protecting the bulb.

    Here you are mostly looking to avoid water getting on the hot bulb, which will shatter right over your head.

    Becoming a path to ground thru the plumbing is not as likely as it might seem. But a proper shower stall light will make it impossible for you to reach up and find the hot wire.
  4. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet Member

    Messages:
    377
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    Are you quite sure the receptacle in the unfinished basement area you intend to get power from is not GFCI protected (perhaps by a GFCI recep. "upstream")?
    As I recall, such receptacle outlets have been required to be GFCI protected for many decades now, and you did say they were "professionally" installed.
  5. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Good point. Worth checking. My polarity tester also has a button to check that function.
  6. mcf57

    mcf57 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    GA, USA
    Yea, I figured if I was gonna have a switch area for the shower light, then I would like to also add another outlet too. Sort of kill two birds with one stone since I would be cutting out an area for it. The outlet part was really the reason I was inquiring about the GFCI protection.



    I guess this is a possibility too, but I guess I was thinking of wanting something to take up less room. Therefore, the combo unit from above is what I figured was more doable. However, now that I think of it, I guess the advantage of a 4" square box is that there is more room for plugging items in and them not interfering with the operation of the switch itself.


    I am pretty sure the receptacle I want to "tie" off from is not GFCI protected. I think that room basically has its own circuit breaker in the box. None of the outlets in there are connected to or coming off the HVAC system either. Therefore, why I figured I would have to put a GFCI outlet of some kind from it if it ultimately goes to this bathroom that is on the other side of the wall.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  7. big2bird

    big2bird IBEW Electrician

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    Anaheim, Ca.
    I feel it is important to note here that although it is not required by the NEC, the fixture is required to be rated for this use. Because some fixtures require a GFCI protection to maintain it's UL listing for this application, it is safer to do so. READ the fixture paperwork.
  8. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Just curious, how many such lighting fixtures have you seen in your experience?
    I for one have not seen any.
  9. big2bird

    big2bird IBEW Electrician

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    Anaheim, Ca.
    I read it on a box label here:http://www.necaconvention.org/show/

    I haven't worked tract housing since 1979.
  10. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    :confused: OK.

    Not sure what "tract housing" has to do with it. DO you consider all residential work tract housing?



    I must re-state my position on this. I should have said "standard" light fixtures. I have seen this was once with a speciality recessed light designed for steam showers.
  11. big2bird

    big2bird IBEW Electrician

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    Anaheim, Ca.
    I consider all tract housing to be residential.
  12. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Ok. Just not sure what that has to do with ANYTHING. :confused:
  13. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    1,006
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Regarding your PM, I was referring to this comment about tract housing. It is out of left field and I was wondering why you wrote it.
    Forget it now, it's not worth it.
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