Receptacles in bathroom 3ft from tub

Does anyone know how they came up with the 3ft rule for being too close to a tub/shower in a bathroom? I can see not putting one directly in the bathtub/shower area, but to make it even 3ft from the rim out side of the tub/shower I think is a bit much because of the some of the 'borderline' bathrooms Ive seen. Even though its possible but not likely that a person would want to suddenly 'plug' something in while taking a shower. A light switch can be right next to a bathtub/shower so long as it is not 'in' the shower/tub, but a rececptacle cannot? They are already gfci and afci required protected, and most gfci's are WR/TR (weather resistant and tamper resistant) rated. How did they come up with the 3ft and why even have it??
 

Dennis Alwon

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I believe it is a distance where you are not likely to have a foot in the tub and reach for a receptacle to plug in a radio or such. Also many of the appliance may have cords that are not more than 3' so they cannot accidentally fall in the tub-- or purposely push into the tub as in the old mysteries....haha
 

infinity

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This is one of the dumber new rules for the 2020 NEC. I'm guessing that there was no legitimate substantion for this rule other than someone thought that it was a good idea. Also if the receptacle is below the rim of the tub is can be 1" away from the side of the tub so they pretty much negates the thought that Dennis had.
 

Fred B

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Upstate, NY
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This is one of the dumber new rules for the 2020 NEC. I'm guessing that there was no legitimate substantion for this rule other than someone thought that it was a good idea. Also if the receptacle is below the rim of the tub is can be 1" away from the side of the tub so they pretty much negates the thought that Dennis had.
Spoke with someone associated wit the code panel that spoke to that. He said intent was that the dimensions was to be 3ft out from rim and floor to ceiling or 8ft up. Somehow the language didn't adequately reflect the intent.
 

infinity

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Spoke with someone associated wit the code panel that spoke to that. He said intent was that the dimensions was to be 3ft out from rim and floor to ceiling or 8ft up. Somehow the language didn't adequately reflect the intent.
And what was the substantiation? Was there a list of injuries or deaths from receptacles within this zone?
 

Dennis Alwon

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Chapel Hill, NC
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This is one of the dumber new rules for the 2020 NEC. I'm guessing that there was no legitimate substantion for this rule other than someone thought that it was a good idea. Also if the receptacle is below the rim of the tub is can be 1" away from the side of the tub so they pretty much negates the thought that Dennis had.


I don't believe this is true. I read it as 8' vertically over the tub but the 3' starts at the floor to a pt 8' above the threshold of the tub.

Receptacles shall not be instal⁠led within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. The identified zone is all-encompassing and shall include the space directly over the tub or shower stall.

Exception No. 1:
In bathrooms with less than the required zone the receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be installed opposite the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold on the farthest wall within the room.
Exception No. 2:
In a dwelling unit, a single receptacle shall be permitted for an electronic toilet or personal hygiene device such as an electronic bidet seat. The receptacle shall be readily accessible and located on one of the following:
  • (1)
    The wall behind the toilet but not behind the tank
  • (2)
    The opposite side of the toilet from the bathtub or shower

Here is the enhanced content

The installation of receptacles inside bathtub and shower spaces or above their footprint is prohibited, even if the receptacle is installed in a weatherproof enclosure or is GFCI protected. The unprotected-line side of GFCI-protected receptacles installed in bathtub and shower spaces could become wet and therefore create a shock hazard by energizing surrounding wet surfaces. Prohibiting such installation helps minimize the use of shavers, radios, hair dryers, and so forth in these areas.
 

wwhitney

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Berkeley, CA
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From TerraView, the substantiation from the PI that let to this change to 406.9(C):

The current language is vague; “within tubs or shower spaces” and “within or directly over a bathtub or shower stall” leads to confusion and there is no consistency in how it is enforced as it is open to interpretation and opinion. Does the current language mean just the shell of the tub or shower, or does it mean the walls enclosing the tub or shower?

The proposed language is directly from Section 410.10(D), which provides specific dimensions for electrical installations near bathtubs and shower stalls. NEC Section 552.41(F) has the following limitation for receptacle “shall not be installed in or within reach [750 mm (30 in.)] of a shower or bathtub space.”

Cheers, Wayne
 

infinity

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Dennis below is from your post, I don't see how these dimensions say to measure from the floor. I believe that this new requirement was to mirror the one for certain luminaires.

Receptacles shall not be instal⁠led within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. The identified zone is all-encompassing and shall include the space directly over the tub or shower stall.
 

Dennis Alwon

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I read it to mean the height is measured from the top of the rim but that height extends out 3' on all side. It would make absolutely no sense to allow what you said especially with the enhanced content

It says- 3' horizontally AND 8' vertically from the top of the rim. vertically from the rim is to just tell you how to measure the height but that height encompasses the 3', imo
 

infinity

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Are you saying you measure it differently from the luminaire requirements? The luminaire requirements did not change in the 2020 NEC so the measurement of the zone is the same as in previous versions.

2020 NEC:
406.9(C) Bathtub and Shower Space.
Receptacles shall not be instal⁠led within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. The identified zone is all-encompassing and shall include the space directly over the tub or shower stall.
Exception: In bathrooms with less than the required zone the receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be installed opposite the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold on the farthest wall within the room.
2020 NEC:
410.10(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas.
A luminaire installed in a bathtub or shower area shall meet all of the following requirements:
410.10(D)(1) No parts of cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all-encompassing and includes the space directly over the tub or shower stall.
410.10(D)(2) Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked suitable for damp locations or marked suitable for wet locations. Luminaires located where subject to shower spray shall be marked suitable for wet locations.


db9829a5e930e38df9c2a2c5d69b1d52dc8436e9.jpeg
 

Dennis Alwon

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In that picture it would make no sense to draw the shaded area below the tub. No one will hand a fixture below the height of the tub. It is a graphic to show dimension. It really isn't different but YES I would include the space below the shaded area. That graphic should have no bearing on the receptacle placement anyway.
 

infinity

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In that picture it would make no sense to draw the shaded area below the tub. No one will hand a fixture below the height of the tub. It is a graphic to show dimension. It really isn't different but YES I would include the space below the shaded area. That graphic should have no bearing on the receptacle placement anyway.
The receptacle is permitted next to the tub below the red box that depicts the 3' X 8' zone. My point is that unless I'm reading "measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold" incorrectly the way you measure the zone is the same for both luminaires and receptacles.
 

don_resqcapt19

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I don't believe this is true. I read it as 8' vertically over the tub but the 3' starts at the floor to a pt 8' above the threshold of the tub.



Here is the enhanced content
The 3' starts at the top of the rim as written in the 2020 code. There is an accepted PI for the 2023 code that will make the rule start at the floor.
Here is the first draft language.
(C) Bathtub and Shower Space.
Receptacles shall not be instal⁠led within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and from any outside edge of the bathtub or shower stall, including the space outside the bathtub or shower stall space below the zone.
The zone also includes the space measured vertically from the floor to 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically fromabove the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. The identified zone is all-encompassing and shall include the space directly over the tubbathtub or shower stall and the space below this zone, but not the space separated by a floor, wall, ceiling, door, window, or fixed barrier.
Exception No. 1: Receptacles installed in accordance with 680.73 shall be permitted.
Exception No. 2: In bathrooms with less than the required zone, the receptacle(s) required by 210.52(D) shall be permitted to be installed opposite the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold on the farthest wall within the room.
Exception No. 3: Weight supporting ceiling receptacles (WSCR) shall be permitted to be installed for listed luminaires that employ a weight supporting attachment fitting (WSAF) in damp locations complying with 410.10(D).
The language in the first sentence makes it clear that the zone does not include the area within 3' but below the tub rim.
 

infinity

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Don. I still think the 2020 states what I said and IMO the 2023 is for clarification or am I totally off on this.
I think that what you're saying is what they meant it to say (measure from the floor) but those specific words never made it into the 2020.
 

Dennis Alwon

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Actually I read it differently than you do. Suppose they said 3' horizontally and instead of 8' over the tub rim , they said 10', which is about a 24" high tub and then 8'. Would you read that the same as you are now. I see what you are saying but I read it differently.

Either way it needs clarification
 

don_resqcapt19

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Illinois
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Actually I read it differently than you do. Suppose they said 3' horizontally and instead of 8' over the tub rim , they said 10', which is about a 24" high tub and then 8'. Would you read that the same as you are now. I see what you are saying but I read it differently.

Either way it needs clarification
If it said vertically 10' from the top of the bathtub rim, I would still read it as excluding the space between the floor and the top of the bathtub rim.
 

Fred B

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Upstate, NY
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Electrician
What doesn't make sense is to exclude space below the rim as that area, given height wise that is within the "normal" receptacle elevation not a countertop receptacle (except a shower stall), and also it would expose a bather to the same risks as would a receptacle above the rims elevation.
 
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