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  1. #1
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    Default GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Fan/light in shower. Lens was jammed in place, bezel is partially buried in wall, could not get these loose standing in the shower, and did not want to risk scratching the shower with my ladder, so don't know how it's listed.

    However... fixture is downstream of and protected by the GFCI outlet serving the bathroom's sink (and serving this bathroom only).

    Before I write this up, I need to know: can/does installed GFCI protection override the need for a fixture listed for this location?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Fan/light in shower. Lens was jammed in place, bezel is partially buried in wall, could not get these loose standing in the shower, and did not want to risk scratching the shower with my ladder, so don't know how it's listed.
    One thing I am sure of ... that it is *NOT* listed for use in a shower (99.9995% sure of).

    Before I write this up, I need to know: can/does installed GFCI protection override the need for a fixture listed for this location?
    Nope.

    And burying the cover part way into the wall is, I am also sure of, not in the installation instructions or in its listing and labeling.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    "And burying the cover part way into the wall is, I am also sure of, not in the installation instructions or in its listing and labeling."

    Ya think?

    The reason I ask is that I can remember reading, somewhere that imparted some semblance of credibility to the statement, that unlisted fixtures can be used in this location if GFCI protected.

    Now, the reason I remember it is, I remember thinking at the time "Now there's a Bad Idea".

    But, I do remember it.... vaguely...

    And I don't want some electrician coming back at me waving the code book and going "See, see... just look here..."

    Same reason I'm asking about that ridiculous DW connection in the other thread...


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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Michael,

    Does this help?

    From the NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - II. Luminaire (Fixture) Locations
    - - 410.4 Luminaires (Fixtures) in Specific Locations.
    - - - (A) Wet and Damp Locations. Luminaires (fixtures) installed in wet or damp locations shall be installed so that water cannot enter or accumulate in wiring compartments, lampholders, or other electrical parts. All luminaires (fixtures) installed in wet locations shall be marked, “Suitable for Wet Locations.” All luminaires (fixtures) installed in damp locations shall be marked, “Suitable for Wet Locations” or “Suitable for Damp Locations.”

    I don't see any exception for GFCI protection there.

    I underlined this part "shall be installed so that water cannot enter or accumulate" because there are holes in there which can, will, allow water to "enter".

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  5. #5
    Martin lehman's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Question: Is it ok to install a fan/ligh not listed for wet/damp locations on the cieling above the tub/shower if the ceiling is >8ft? In otherwords is the area above 8ft in the bath/shower location still considered a wet/damp location??

    Off the top of my head, if there is a shower, it is likely considered damp, but is it considered a "wet" location?
    Now, if there is no shower head, just a tub spout, is that even considered a "damp" location?


  6. #6
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin lehman View Post
    Question: Is it ok to install a fan/ligh not listed for wet/damp locations on the cieling above the tub/shower if the ceiling is >8ft? In otherwords is the area above 8ft in the bath/shower location still considered a wet/damp location??

    Off the top of my head, if there is a shower, it is likely considered damp, but is it considered a "wet" location?
    Now, if there is no shower head, just a tub spout, is that even considered a "damp" location?
    Some broan units say: UL Listed for use over bathtubs and showers when connected to a GFCI protected branch circuit.
    Product Detail

    Bathtubs and showers are always wet, and not damp locations as per NEC and UL.
    http://www.paramountlighting.com/wet_locations.pdf

    Aaron


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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Digging further, I find:

    This is the actual UL wording (GPVW):

    Fans intended to be mounted over tubs or showers have been evaluated for such purposes and are marked "Acceptable for use over a bathtub or shower when installed in a GFCI protected branch circuit."

    Shower Fans and Fan/light combos - Mike Holt's Forum

    It's actually the way the can is listed. I imagine you've seen 410.4 (D), noticed that recessed can aren't mentioned; but it goes on to mention that "...(lighting fixtures) installed in this zone {8' x 3' from threshold} shall be listed for damp locations, or listed for wet locations where subject to shower spray."

    Mike Holt's Code Forum: GFCI protection for recess shower light?





  8. #8
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Just watch... the electrician will pry the cover off that thing, and its gonna' be OK for use with a GFCI....

    At least there was a good reason I could not check the labeling.

    Live and learn, I guess.


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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Michael,

    I will highlight what you posted differently and you can see how it reads better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Shower Fans and Fan/light combos - Mike Holt's Forum

    It's actually the way the can is listed. I imagine you've seen 410.4 (D), noticed that recessed can aren't mentioned; but it goes on to mention that "...(lighting fixtures) installed in this zone {8' x 3' from threshold} shall be listed for damp locations, or listed for wet locations where subject to shower spray."

    Mike Holt's Code Forum: GFCI protection for recess shower light?
    I.e, it *must have at least an Damp Location Listing* minimum, and, *IF* subject to shower spray, then it *must have a Wet Location Listing* minimum.

    Now, to address your other issue being discussed in those posts: GFCI protection.

    Your original question was: "Before I write this up, I need to know: can/does installed GFCI protection override the need for a fixture listed for this location?"

    My original answer to that question: "Nope." That answer still applies, i.e., GFCI protection cannot be used *INSTEAD OF* a proper listing.

    Did I muddy that up or make it clearer?

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  10. #10
    Martin lehman's Avatar
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    "Installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, such as vehicle washing areas;and in unprotected locations exposed to weather." IMO, shower/bath area does not fit the NEC definition of a "wet" area. "Damp" area sounds like a better fit according to the NEC. How is a light above the shower going to get saturated with water?? How about a tub w/o a shower??? I'm not convinced...

    Shower/bath does fit the criteria for a "wet" location according to UL definition. This definition is not as vauge as NEC when it comes to the shower area. "A location in which water or other liquid can drip, splash,
    or flow on or against electrical equipment."
    I can see water splashing onto a light above the shower.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Just watch... the electrician will pry the cover off that thing, and its gonna' be OK for use with a GFCI....
    Ah, you need to read it slower ... ... *nothing* says 'it cannot be used with a GFCI', neither did you, did you?

    Now, back to my post just above, when the electrician pries the cover off, it will also *not state* that it can be used with GFCI in a damp location without also being listed for use in a damp location. Which was your question, was it not?

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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Martin,

    You are seeking the wrong argument (as in debate) for the debate at hand.

    The question is not 'is this a wet location or is it a damp location', the question is 'can the requirement for damp location or wet location listing be replaced by GFCI protection'.

    The answer to that is 'No.' and 'It must still be properly listed for the location, Damp Location or Wet Location as it is not a 'dry location'.'

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Jerry,

    As I could not get the cover off (it was buried in the wall) the recommendation was 1) that the fixture be relocated, and 2) that they have an electrician verify that the fixture was listed for use in its eventual location. I also noted - verbally - that AFAIK it's not sufficient to protect the fixture with a GFCI, that the fixture had to be listed for use in its location.

    So I'm OK as far as my reporting goes.

    What I now understand, which I didn't then, is that there are fans intended for use in this location as long as they are GFCI protected. I'm not wild about this approach given the failure rate for at least the oldest GFCIs and the code limitations on powering other fixtures downstream of a GFCI in bathrooms (I do a mostly older homes, and it's rather unusual for me to see a separate circuit dedicated to a bathroom) , but UL apparently does not agree.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 08-09-2007 at 03:37 PM.

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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Aaron, thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    What I now understand, which I didn't then, is that there are fans intended for use in this location as long as they are GFCI protected.
    If I am understanding you right (and I might not be), you are still not quite there.

    Add "and listed as 'Suitable for use in a Damp Location' or 'Suitable for use in a Wet Location'."

    The choice between Damp Location and Wet Location, for those in most showers, is up to the installer. But ONE OF THOSE labels (Damp Location Wet Location) must be present 'along with the GFCI protection' when the GFCI protection is required.

    You can install a Damp Location labeled fan in a damp location (like the typical residential shower) without GFCI protection if the fan does not specify a requirement for GFCI protection.

    You are not allowed to install a fan in a damp location just because it has GFCI protection, if so required, without it ALSO being labeled for Damp Locations (or Wet Locations).

    That part is not an either/or, the Damp (or Wet) Location label (listed for use in ... ) is a basic requirement, a must, as in "shall be marked", as stated in the code reference I posted.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    If you could not get the cover off, does that not mean that the junction box is inaccessible?

    How would one change a bulb?

    If the fixture is 8 ft. above the threshold -- and in a shower pan, that threshold is only inches above the floor -- it's not 'in' the shower, it's above the 'shower zone.'


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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    The fixture is about 7' 6" above the shower floor. Standing on my short ladder, I could not get the lens off, nor get a good look at how it was attached. My taller ladder would not fit in the stall in such a way that I could get to the light. At that point, it became a problem for an electrician (needed at this property for other reasons in any case). My question was whether that was some sort of exception that allowed the installation of a dry location fixture (if what it is) in a location requires a damp area listing.

    I now understand that there is not, so the question becomes:

    1) Is the fixture rated for a damp location as installed (downstream of a GFCI outlet).

    2) Hopefully, when someone gets the lens off, we will have an answer.

    3) If not, and the bezel must be removed to find label, then things get more complicated, as it's partially buried in the shower wall.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    the question becomes:

    1) Is the fixture rated for a damp location as installed (downstream of a GFCI outlet).
    The fixture will be, or will not be, rated for Damp Location or Wet Location. Regardless of anything else. If it is not rated for Damp Location or Wet Location, there will be no sticker stating it is, and there is no sticker which states it is not - thus, if there is no label stating it is rated for either of those locations, then it *is not* so rated.

    2) Hopefully, when someone gets the lens off, we will have an answer.

    3) If not, and the bezel must be removed to find label, then things get more complicated, as it's partially buried in the shower wall.
    You are correct. The label could be located (and quite possibly is) behind the lamp assembly. Which would mean removal of the entire trim assembly, which would include the lampholder assembly.

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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    If you could not get the cover off, does that not mean that the junction box is inaccessible?
    Excellent point.

    If the fixture is 8 ft. above the threshold -- and in a shower pan, that threshold is only inches above the floor -- it's not 'in' the shower, it's above the 'shower zone.'
    Sort of ...

    The fixture is not 'in' the shower as it relates to a "cord-connected luminaires (fixtures), hanging luminaires (fixtures), lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans", however, it would *still be* 'in' the shower's damp location area.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Jerry, are saying that if the fixture is above the 8ft 'shower zone' then the it only has to be rated for a damp location if it is subject to shower spray?
    Thanks


  21. #21
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    Default Re: GFCI ahead of bathroom fixture

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin lehman View Post
    Jerry, are saying that if the fixture is above the 8ft 'shower zone' then the it only has to be rated for a damp location if it is subject to shower spray?
    Thanks
    No.

    If it is above/within the area defined by the shower enclosure, it needs to be AT LEAST rated for Damp Locations ... but it could also be rated for Wet Locations as a 'Wet Location' rating is a higher (better) rating.

    If it is within the above area AND IS subject to shower spray, then it needs to be rated for Wet Locations ... a fixture rated for Damp Locations is insufficient.

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