Q

I have been asked if GFCI protection is required in patient washrooms. I do not seem to be able to find an answer in my Code book.

A

By patient washrooms, I assume you mean the “washrooms” attached to or part of patient bedrooms in hospitals. These areas usually include a basin (lavatory) and a toilet and may include a tub or shower. As such, they meet the definition of a bathroom found in Article 100 because they include “a basin and one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub or a shower.”

Section 210.8 (B) requires GFCI protection for all 125V, single-phase, 15A and 20A receptacles in all non-dwelling unit bathrooms. Section 517.21 modifies this requirement in critical care patient rooms where the “toilet and basin are installed within the patient room.” In such cases, the GFCI protection is not required, partly because such receptacles are not likely to be used the same way by critical care patients as they are by patients in general care areas, and partly to clarify that the entire bedroom is not to be treated as a “bathroom” just because it includes a toilet and basin. Nevertheless, in other than critical care areas, and in separate washrooms, GFCI protection would be required according to 210.8.
Noel Williams

Light switch placement

Q

Where is it shown in the National Electrical Code how far a light switch must be from the door?

A

This response is based on the 1999 NEC. There is no specific Code rule to cover your question. Section 210-70 covers required lighting outlets but does not specify the exact location of the switch. Section 210-70(a)(1) covers habitable rooms in residential occupancies. This section requires the light outlet to be controlled by a wall switch. Based on the wording of the section, the switch may be anywhere in the room or even in some other room. A switch is also not required at each door or point of entry into the room. Of course, normal practice is to place the switch near the door, within easy reach.

Storage and equipment spaces in residential and other locations are covered by Section 210-70(a)(3) and 210-70(c). In these locations the switch must be at or near the door. However, a maximum distance is not given.
Dann Strube


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