I currently have a dedicated 15A breaker connected to 2 outlets (with GFCI) in a bathroom using 14/2. These 2 outlets are all that is connected to the breaker.

I plan to add some recessed lighting which would total about 2.2A if all lights are on (20 x 13W). It seems to be a general rule to put bathroom outlets (or outlets in general) on a dedicated circuit. However, it would be very convenient for me if I was able to tap into this circuit to add the lights.

It would be very unusual for all the lights to be on at the same time and even more unusual for them to all be on while using a high draw appliance such as a hairdryer. I would use 14 AWG.

Any thoughts on whether this would present me a problem?

2 Answers 2


If a circuit has bathroom receptacles on it, you have two choices and the circuit must fit one of them:

  • The circuit powers only receptacles, in any number of bathrooms. Nowhere else.
  • The circuit powers receptacles in ONE bathroom, and any ther hardwired loads in that same bathroom only.

Now if the circuit predates those rules, you are grandfathered insofar as you don't change anything, but if you do, you can't make the situation worse. So for instance if a circuit powers 1 bathroom receptacle and 2 bedroom receptacles, you can't add a hall light.

So if the downlights are going in the bathroom, that is fine. However, you don't want a situation where someone trips the breaker running both a hairdryer and a curling iron simultaneously, trips the breaker and plunges themselves into darkness. Then they're in the pitch black holding a hair dryer, which they accidentally set down in the sink full of water. Then when they reset the breaker, the GFCI trips and the hair dryer is ruined. At best.


I'm currently putting a new bathroom in my house, and from everything I've studied, it seems you need to have a 20 amp circuit for a bathroom to be up to code if it has receptacles. Which would also require 12 gauge wire. You can then run the outlets and lights on this same circuit.

  • I also thought this was the code based on research. I recently had a bathroom re-done and the electrician installed a brand new breaker and wiring just for the 2 outlets I mentioned but he used 14 AWG and a 15A breaker. I wonder if he violated code? Mar 4, 2019 at 0:42

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