Code Requirements for Bathroom Electrical

Electrical light switches and outlets are addressed in bathroom codes.
Electrical light switches and outlets are addressed in bathroom codes. (Image: Light Switch and Outlet image by Towards Ithaca from

Electrical codes for bathrooms are different than every other part of the house, and for good reason: No other area of a home has more potential for water and electricity to meet. Besides potential shock hazards, fire safety is an issue that is addressed in bathroom electrical code a well as other important factors.

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Bathroom Outlets

All outlets in a bathroom must be GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets. GFCI outlets have an electrical disconnect that trips when exposed to water. This prevents major electrical shock and possible fire.

The GFCI outlets are required to be 20 amp outlets wired to a 20 amp circuit breaker. This is for appliances such as blow driers and curling irons.

GFCI outlet are mandatory in bathrooms.
GFCI outlet are mandatory in bathrooms. (Image: electrical outlet image by Mat Hayward from

Lights In Showers

All shower lights must be UL rated for moisture resistance and be specifically made to be installed above shower units. The use of unapproved products could void home warranties and/or cause electrical fires.

Electrical Appliances

Electrical appliances such as lamps, radios, televisions, or any other appliance that is not readily stored after use is prohibited within 6 feet of a water source unless that appliance is specifically made for high moisture areas.


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