Ecmweb 4362 210 11c3 01 Web

Code Q&A

May 16, 2008
Can the lights in a dwelling unit bathroom be on the same circuit as the bathroom receptacles?

Q. Can the lights in a dwelling unit bathroom be on the same circuit as the bathroom receptacles?

A. Maybe. There are two options when wiring bathroom outlets in a dwelling unit:

  • Option 1 [210.11(C)(3)]: One 20A, 120V branch circuit must be provided for the receptacle outlets required by 210.52(D) for all dwelling unit bathrooms. This 20A bathroom receptacle circuit must not serve any other outlet, such as bathroom lighting outlets or receptacle outlets in other rooms (Fig. 1). A 15A, 125V receptacle is rated for 20A feed-through, so it can be used for this purpose [210.21(B)(3)].
  • Option 2 [210.11(C)(3), Exception]: A single 20A, 120V branch circuit is permitted to supply all of the outlets (including outlets for lighting and equipment) in a single bathroom, as long as no single load fastened in place is rated more than 10A [210.23(A)] (Fig. 2).
About the Author

Mike Holt

Mike Holt is the owner of Mike Holt Enterprises (, one of the largest electrical publishers in the United States. He earned a master's degree in the Business Administration Program (MBA) from the University of Miami. He earned his reputation as a National Electrical Code (NEC) expert by working his way up through the electrical trade. Formally a construction editor for two different trade publications, Mike started his career as an apprentice electrician and eventually became a master electrician, an electrical inspector, a contractor, and an educator. Mike has taught more than 1,000 classes on 30 different electrical-related subjects — ranging from alarm installations to exam preparation and voltage drop calculations. He continues to produce seminars, videos, books, and online training for the trade as well as contribute monthly Code content to EC&M magazine.

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