Location of switches

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
It means a switch on the wall for lighting purposes.
The switch has to be on a wall, but there is no rule about which wall. Specifically, the rule does not require that the wall switch be in the same room as the wall-switched lighting outlet.

From a language perspective, the phrase "wall switched-controlled" functions as an adjective that modifies the noun, "outlet." It tells us something about the outlet. But the essential sequence of words is, ". . . outlet . . . in . . . room." The meaning of the sentence does not come from the sequence, ". . . switch . . . in . . . room . . . "
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Let me add that I have lived in places that had local codes (building codes, not electrical codes) that explicitly required the light switch for a bathroom to be outside the bathroom. I infer that those code officials were concerned about a person stumbling about in the bathroom in the middle of the night trying to find the light switch, so they make sure you can turn on the light before you open the bathroom door. Would you say that this building code requirement is in conflict with the electrical code article under discussion? I would not.

By the way, I always hated that arrangement. I prefer having the option of entering the bathroom, closing the door, then turning on the light, so that the light does not disturb any other person who happens to be in that room, perhaps trying to sleep.
 

jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
The switch has to be on a wall, but there is no rule about which wall. Specifically, the rule does not require that the wall switch be in the same room as the wall-switched lighting outlet.

From a language perspective, the phrase "wall switched-controlled" functions as an adjective that modifies the noun, "outlet." It tells us something about the outlet. But the essential sequence of words is, ". . . outlet . . . in . . . room." The meaning of the sentence does not come from the sequence, ". . . switch . . . in . . . room . . . "
"UNCLE" ;)

OK so I can build a hotel and keep all the switches at the front desk so I can call "lights out" at 22:00.

(B) Guest Rooms or Guest Suites. In hotels, motels, or
similar occupancies, guest rooms or guest suites shall have
at least one wall switch?controlled lighting outlet installed
in every habitable room and bathroom.
 

Strathead

Senior Member
"UNCLE" ;)

OK so I can build a hotel and keep all the switches at the front desk so I can call "lights out" at 22:00.

(B) Guest Rooms or Guest Suites. In hotels, motels, or
similar occupancies, guest rooms or guest suites shall have
at least one wall switch?controlled lighting outlet installed
in every habitable room and bathroom.

I went back to the OP to make sure, and I still don't read that his question specifcally refers to habitable rooms either, so aside from the discussion about switches vs. outlets in an habitable space, the code does not even require a switch let alone dictate its location.
 

PetrosA

Senior Member
It shouldn't dictate the location. I recently bid a house for rewire - 1895 victorian with one bathroom. The door swings into the room and the clawfoot tub is immediately to the left of the door, as is the light switch, up against the shower curtain (one of those oval types they used for clawfoot tubs). I would certainly recommend moving that light switch to the outside of the bathroom in this case ;) Has it been safe for the last 90 years? Yep. Would I move it if I could? Absolutely.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
I see where you guys are going but that is not how I read it.

At least one wall (switch?controlled
lighting) outlet

So then it has to be a switched "wall" receptacle or a sconce!

It means a switch on the wall for lighting purposes.

Again if I am wrong what is required in the room on the wall?
It does not say the lighting outlet has to be on the wall, just in the room. Just the switch, and it does not say what wall, could be any wall in the house. As with the hotel, the same wording applies, it says a wall switched controlled lighting outlet, nothing about the location of the switch. In the future, lights will be voice activated, and wall switches will be obsolete! :lol:
 

sameguy

Senior Member
Location
New York
Occupation
Master Elec./JW retired
When we bid a house, we have only one switch that turns on a relay that runs all the lighting in and out of the house. we never miss a bid!! ;>
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I agree 100% Dennis. This is a perfect example of something that should be in the Building codes, if at all. Switches inside, switches outside, ceiling sensors, breakers as switches, pilot light switches, remote switches, override switches. This is all up to the State and how they want to dictate their safety and energy codes, or up to the customer on how they want to control the loads.
Same with smoke detectors. NEC does not cover installation of them other than actual wiring methods used if they are there. Whether or not a detector is required in a particular room or occupancy as well as required location in a room is something that comes from other codes.

And what part of this is NOT clear?

210.70(A)(1) Habitable Rooms. At least one wall switch?controlled
lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room
and bathroom.

HABITABLE SPACE. A space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.
"UNCLE" ;)

OK so I can build a hotel and keep all the switches at the front desk so I can call "lights out" at 22:00.

(B) Guest Rooms or Guest Suites. In hotels, motels, or
similar occupancies, guest rooms or guest suites shall have
at least one wall switch?controlled lighting outlet installed
in every habitable room and bathroom.
As others have said, only the lighting outlet is what is required in the room, the only thing even mentioned about the switch is it must be wall switch, no mention of what wall, not really any definition of exactly "wall switch" means either.

Is a wall mounted luminaire with a pull chain switch considered acceptable? Possibly not, the switch is part of the luminaire, the code requires the lighting outlet be controlled by the wall switch, the luminaire is really beyond the outlet.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
I walk the area and do my best to put switches in the most convenient locations. I also put them in order of the lights. Walking in, the far right switch should operate the far right light(s), etc. If 2 doorways are together at corners, I try to locate 1 switch between them or maybe reach across 1 doorway. If a short corner wall has no space, I put the switch in next room right at the doorway.

As for the disposal, if someone wants to put his hand in, he can flip the switch, then come back and stuff it in. In fact, farther away sets up the scenario that someone else comes along and hits the switch, thinking it is for a nearby light, then grinds up my hand.
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
so you don't care about, or put switches in the rooms simply because it isn't required? and no, I don't think anyone should mandate putting bulbs in fixtures, let's not be silly. I am not ashamed of my training, and don't see any reason to un-train. I think it's very sensible, practical, and safe to have switch location(in dwellings) possibly become part of the NEC.
1. The NEC only requires a wall switch controlled outlet. It does not require a light.
In a low bid situation you would be legal with a blanked off box, fed by a switch
2. Make the proposal on location of wall switch. It would be most interesting to see the CMP comments, I don't recall every seeing a proposal on this.
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
2. Make the proposal on location of wall switch. It would be most interesting to see the CMP comments, I don't recall every seeing a proposal on this.
I submitted one for 2014. I called for the switch to be immediately inside or outside a door to the space. I haven't checked, but I strongly suspect that it was rejected. :happyyes:
 

jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
1. The NEC only requires a wall switch controlled outlet. It does not require a light.
In a low bid situation you would be legal with a blanked off box, fed by a switch
2. Make the proposal on location of wall switch. It would be most interesting to see the CMP comments, I don't recall every seeing a proposal on this.
Great point!

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.

I guess a rough-in is all that is required. The finish can be completed, if really required, in the future.

I don't have to put the receptacles in an outlet just space them per 210.52.

I'm lovin' the NEC more each day! :huh:
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Great point!

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.

I guess a rough-in is all that is required. The finish can be completed, if really required, in the future.

I don't have to put the receptacles in an outlet just space them per 210.52.

I'm lovin' the NEC more each day! :huh:
Might be a little more tricky than that. All depends if a "receptacle outlet" needs to include the receptacle.

A lighting outlet is not quite the same, it can be an outlet box with a luminaire attached, or it can be a receptacle in some cases.

Some have mentioned in past that a cable in an outlet box qualifies as a lighting outlet. I think it is debatable and currently have no preference as to whether it is an acceptable lighting outlet or not. That said the receptacle outlet is kind of the same I guess. How well would it go over to wire a complete house with all required outlet boxes but not install any receptacles or luminaires, just blank covers?? And it passes inspection:blink:
 
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