Outlet height placement question

MoOctober 30, 2010

I'm in the middle of a bathroom renovation (1973 home), and I'm not thrilled with the fact that the light switch and outlet are at different heights. The light switch was previously at the same level as the switch, but the electrician moved it so the bottom of it is 48" from the floor.

I asked the GC about the outlet height, and he said it's like that because of the code. Even if it is the code, I thinking of having him get the electrician to move it regardless. The side of the vanity will be about 9" away from that wall, so I don't see how that would have anything to do with the outlet.

Do you see anything unusual about the outlet placement, or any reason why it can't physically be moved? If I'm going to have a change I need to do it before the painting starts, and the permanent switches and outlet are installed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Also posted in bathrooms forum.

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bus_driver

Perhaps your electrician sees something in your bath that I do not see. Article 210.52(D) of the NEC specifies that at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed within 3 ft. of the outside edge of each basin. If installed on the side or front of the basin cabinet, it must not be more than 12" below the countertop. So long as it meets these specifications, it can be placed as you desire. If he argues, hire someone else.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 5:14PM
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smithy123

i see one code violation and a possible second. the code requires that all recs in dwelling units be listed tamper resistant. also, the rec is not a gfi, but it could be a followthrough or on a gfi breaker. i hope you do not have a fpe or zinsco/sylvania panel.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 7:54PM
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spencer_electrician

Really? You know for a fact that the original poster's location has already adopted the 2008 code? I would be more concerned that the receptacle has a required 20 amp circuit back to the panel or is only on a 20 amp circuit with other bathroom outlets. I think I see a 12/2 coming into the receptacle but it also looks like it continues on to the switches that are feeding white romex. Likely 14/2 unless the wire is from back when 12/2 was commonly white. Then again the picture is not that clear to tell either.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 8:23PM
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smithy123

i just noticed that too, spence. did u pull apermit? i would call to get this inspected. there are alot of shoddy electricians out there. the wire that is white appears to be newer, while the older stouu has started to yellow.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 9:31PM
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spencer_electrician

I know it's wrong to judge but whenever I see blue boxes or white plastic staples, I start looking over other people's work very closely lol.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 10:27PM
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Mo

My county has adopted the 2008 code. There are some amendments, but none changing the height or distance. Our panel is Square D. The currently installed items are temporary for the GC to use. Permanent ones, including a GFCI, will be installed later.

We had a single light switch, but will have four. If I remember correctly, it was raised in order to be the same height as the rest of the switches in the house. Maybe GC "thinks" the outlet was left lower because of the code. I'll have him ask the electrician to be sure.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Mo

Bus driver said, "Article 210.52(D) of the NEC specifies that at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed within 3 ft. of the outside edge of each basin."

Does that mean 3 ft. from the nearest edge or the furthest edge?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 7:46AM
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smithy123

it still doesnt correct the 14awg. congrats in the sqd panel!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 9:00AM
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bus_driver

mona, if you need to ask that question (Does that mean 3 ft. from the nearest edge or the furthest edge?) ask it of your local electrical inspector.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 9:22AM
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brickeyee

"Does that mean 3 ft. from the nearest edge or the furthest edge?"

Usually taken to be the nearest edge of the basin from the receptacle.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 2:55PM
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smithy123

there IS STILL THE 14AWG WHICH SCREAMS 15A CIRCUT: CODE VIOLATION.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 8:41PM
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petey_racer

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???

The wire going to the receptacle is yellow. Calibrate your monitor will you.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 10:35PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

I could be wrong here but aren't only the receptacles required to be on a dedicated 20 amp circuit? Can't lighting be on another circuit?

The picture showing the cable isn't the best but my guess is that yellow cable appears to be going to the single gang box.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 10:48PM
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spencer_electrician

Yes, lighting can be 15 amp. I do see yellow feeding the receptacle box but it also appears that a cable leaves the box sideways to the switch box. Then again that wire could be heading somewhere entirely different.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 11:12PM
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Mo

From left to right the light switches will be center light, vanity light, tub light, and fan.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:43AM
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smithy123

they ran 12 to the recept, 12 to the switchbox, and 14 to the lights. CODE VIOLATION!!!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 4:15PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Spencer,

Looks to me that the "yellow" cable comes up from the floor in the corner (right side of picture). Across to the center (single) stud and down the right side of that stud to the single gang box with the receptacle. From there it appears to head back up, through the center stud and into of the middle of the 3-gang box.

I believe a dedicated 20-amp circuit can be used for both receptacles and lighting, provided it serves only a single bathroom. I would think it would be acceptable for another, in this case, 15-amp circuit to serve only lighting in the same bathroom. Or am I wrong.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 5:06PM
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spencer_electrician

Yes I know the lighting can be on the same 20 amp circuit with the receptacle. My question is: "Does the 20 amp circuit from the receptacle feed lighting that is wired with 14/2?" If that is the case, the 14/2 lighting wiring is being protected by a 20 amp breaker.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 6:08PM
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smithy123

could you put an ocpd in the switchbox(ie: minibreaker)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 8:34PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Does the 20 amp circuit from the receptacle feed lighting that is wired with 14/2?" If that is the case, the 14/2 lighting wiring is being protected by a 20 amp breaker.

Good question. We've got a piece of white cable coming in from the right and going to the 3-gang box. This isn't new construction (house built '73) so the cable could be 14 or 12 gauge.

How about this. The old Romex served the bathroom and quite likely a bunch of other stuff. The electrician leaves the old work in place and adds a new 20 amp circuit to serve the receptacle and perhaps some new lighting.

I really don't think we have enough information to accurately determine anything.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:13PM
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spencer_electrician

True, those blue boxes just have me on the prowl lol.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:39PM
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pharkus

I've still got about 1500 feet of white 12/2 kicking around... we can't assume it's 14awg because it's not yellow!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 11:10PM
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smithy123

the old wiring from back then started to yellow, so it has a brownish tint. my grandpa's house was built in 1972, and i can tell the difference between the old and the new, although he uses all 12.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 7:25PM
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