Recessed light over shower

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Magicrat, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Magicrat

    Magicrat New Member

    Messages:
    2
    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
  2. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Seattle
    recessed shower light

    standard caveat: i am not an electrician, however, i have wired two bathrooms with such lights and they have passed inspection. that being said....

    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.

    yes. however, i would go GFCI (load side) --> switch --> light.
  3. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    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.
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    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
  5. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    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.
  6. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA

    Exactly, the code is minimum whether electrical or plumbing.
  7. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Here is an electrical problem inside a shower.
    [​IMG]
    Photo by Mike McClogan, Home Inspector
  8. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    Did you say that panel was inside a shower? I'm a little confused. Isn't that the main panel?
  9. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

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    432
    Location:
    USA
    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?
  10. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    That's pretty scary. I've seen dumb things, but that might pretty much top them all.
  11. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

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    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    And if you can answer WHY to any of your statments I will be impressed.
  12. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    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.
  13. Magicrat

    Magicrat New Member

    Messages:
    2
    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
  14. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Exactly.
    And no, 4' away would not be considered over the shower. :D
  15. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    +1 ..........
  16. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    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.
  17. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    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?
  18. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    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.
  19. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    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?
  20. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    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.
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