The electrical circuit for my bathroom has an electrical outlet in the bathroom, the lights and exhaust fan in the bathroom, an outlet in the hallway immediately outside the bathroom, and the light in the hallway. The outlet in the bathroom is a GFCI outlet. When I test the GFCI, the GFCI outlet goes dead as it should. Everything else, the lights, fan, and socket in the hallway stay live. To me it makes sense that the socket in the hallway stays live because it is not exposed to moisture like the GFCI socket in the bathroom, but I’m not an electrician, so what do I know?

I have two questions: Question 1: Is it ok that the hallway socket (in a dry area) stays live when the GFCI is triggered?

Assuming that is ok, here’s what I would like to do. I would like to run a new 12-2 wire from the hallway socket up through the wall and install a new socket about a foot below the ceiling so I can plug in a CO detector.

Question 2: Would it be acceptable to run a new wire from the hallway socket to a new socket for a CO detector? The GFCI in the bathroom should have no effect on the CO detector in the hallway.

  • Yes, it's fine that the outlet outside the bathroom stays on. Only the bathroom receptacle requires GFCI protection. The bathroom circuit is only supposed to serve the bathroom. So technically, using it to power outlets outside the bathroom is wrong. – Tester101 Nov 18 '16 at 3:15
  • Why the height on the CO detector? Just trying to keep it out of reach/traffic? Or are you operating on the assumption that it has to be high up? (Typically, they can go anywhere, except where manufacturer's instructions specify otherwise.) – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 18 '16 at 4:16
  • Aloysius Defenestrate: "why the height on the CO detector? Just trying to keep it out of reach/traffic? Or are you operating on the (incorrect) assumption that it has to be high up?" Both actually. If the CO detector is higher up it is likely to be out of the way for human traffic, vacuum cleaners, etc and less likely to be damaged or knocked out of the socket. Also, everything I've read said a CO detector should be on a wall a foot or two below the ceiling or on the ceiling. One source said to put it at eye level so it can be read easily. Is that not correct? – Frank Wendling Nov 18 '16 at 4:52
  • I think the consensus is that CO detectors can go at any height (CO diffuses relatively evenly), unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise. Eye level would be convenient for ones that have a display. If it was me, I'd try it low for a while and see if I really wanted to move it. – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 18 '16 at 13:37
  • CO is lighter than air, installing the detector higher rather than lower would be best, but follow manufacturer's instructions. – Jimmy Fix-it Nov 18 '16 at 18:36

The power that's intended for your bathroom stays in your bathroom!

First, the answer to #1 is yes, you are alright on that front -- the GFCI only has to protect the bathroom receptacles, not anything else on that circuit, as per 210.8(A)(1):

210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel. Ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel shall be provided as required in 210.8(A) through (C). The ground-fault circuit-interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location.

Informational Note: See 215.9 for ground-fault circuit- interrupter protection for personnel on feeders.

(A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (10) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

(1) Bathrooms

However, the answer to #2 is no -- neither the CO detector nor the hall receptacle belong on the bathroom (technically, bathroom receptacle, but many bathrooms invoke the exception to 210.11(C)(3) that allows the rest of the bathroom's outlets to be on the same circuit as the bathroom's receptacles provided that the circuit only serves one bathroom) branch circuit. It's a 210.11(C)(3) violation:

(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 120-volt, 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply a bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets.

Exception: Where the 20-ampere circuit supplies a single bathroom, outlets for other equipment within the same bathroom shall be permitted to be supplied in accordance with 210.23(A)(1) and (A)(2).

So, I'd find another circuit to tap for both the new CO detector circuit and the existing hallway receptacle.

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    "So, I'd find another circuit to tap for both the new CO detector circuit and the existing hallway receptacle." I will probably just get a battery powered CO detector since there isn't another circuit handy to tie into. The outlet in the hallway was in a perfect location to tap for a wire to a new outlet for a CO detector. – Frank Wendling Nov 18 '16 at 5:02

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