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I live in Florida. According to the Florida Residential Building Codes (2017):

E3703.3 Laundry circuit. A minimum of one 20-ampere-rated branch circuit shall be provided for receptacles located in the laundry area and shall serve only receptacle outlets located in the laundry area. [210.11(C)(2)]

Can this circuit also supply overhead lighting in the laundry room, and also adjacent rooms? I ask because the definition of a receptacle outlet is defined as (Chapter 35):

RECEPTACLE. A receptacle is a contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug. A single receptacle is a single contact device with no other contact device on the same yoke. A multiple receptacle is two or more contact devices on the same yoke.

RECEPTACLE OUTLET. An outlet where one or more receptacles are installed.

At first glance I would say laundry code reads as ...shall serve only receptacle outlets, and those receptacle outlets shall be located in the laundry area.

However, immediately following, the FBC goes on to define bathroom circuits:

E3703.4 Bathroom branch circuits. A minimum of one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets. [210.11(C)(3)]

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 Section E3702. [210.11(C)(3) Exception)

This specifically calls out "outlets", which I believe includes overhead lighting -- but, in the laundry room, it calls out receptacle outlets.

OUTLET. A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment.

Does this mean that, receptacle outlets excluded, the dedicated laundry circuit can still supply outlets in other rooms? Particularly shared lighting? Can it provide lighting in the laundry room?

EDIT: I guess my confusion comes from the code specifically mentioning a limitation on receptacle outlets but not outlets in general, as to where the bathroom code, which does the same, specifically calls out that Such circuits shall have no other outlets whereas laundry does not make this very specific point.

EDIT 2: Here is the Florida Building Codes

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This is really NEC language in disguise, so we can look there for details

While you are reading the Florida Residential Building Code, which is based on the International Residential Code, the section numbers in the IRC that begin with E are special in that they are basically a subset of the NEC, applicable only to residential buildings:

This Electrical Part is a compilation of provisions extracted from the 2017 edition of the NEC.

As a result, for further guidance in interpreting the Electrical Part of the IRC, we turn to the correlating NEC sections (cited in brackets), starting with 210.11(C)(2):

(2) Laundry Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one additional 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply the laundry receptacle outlet(s) required by 210.52(F). This circuit shall have no other outlets.

This clearly states that the laundry small appliance branch circuit shall have no other outlets on it, which means that it cannot supply any lighting loads.

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  • I agree , kinda funny as I don’t think I have seen a washing machine that requires a 20 amp , all the ones I have owned or moved have been 15 amp. But that’s what the NEC requires as I read it also. – Ed Beal Feb 18 at 5:56
  • @EdBeal washers and dryers together, on the other hand... – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 18 at 8:32
  • @EdBeal better to over-spec than under. – Trotski94 Feb 18 at 10:18
  • @EdBeal -- the laundry SABC also has to account for clothes irons and such – ThreePhaseEel Feb 18 at 12:26
  • To tell the truth. Have never seen a iron with a long enough cord to have the ironing board in front of the washer, as far as dryers yes I have seen 1 or 2 120v dryers and some gas models there I guess it makes sense. – Ed Beal Feb 18 at 14:03
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I take it to mean the outlets on the circuit must all be in the laundry room and not in any other rooms like in the kitchen or a hallway.

If you switch the breaker, only the laundry room outlets will be without power.

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Plain language

E3703.3 Laundry circuit. A minimum of one 20-ampere-rated branch circuit shall be provided for receptacles located in the laundry area

Well, that's clear enough. We certainly infer this is for receptacles in the laundry area, and if it were for anything else, it would say so.

and shall serve only receptacle outlets located in the laundry area. [210.11(C)(2)]

That settles all doubt. It is imposing 2 conditions: they must be receptacle outlets, and they must be in the laundry area.

versus self-justifying rationalizations

However, immediately following, the FBC goes on to define bathroom circuits:

E3703.4 Bathroom branch circuits. A minimum of one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets. [210.11(C)(3)]

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 Section E3702. [210.11(C)(3) Exception)

This specifically calls out "outlets", which I believe includes overhead lighting -- but, in the laundry room, it calls out receptacle outlets.

And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Seriously. It's a different section of Code. And yeah, the rules are different for bathrooms than laundry rooms.

You're playing the contortionist here, saying effectively that the exception should also apply to laundry rooms, even though the exception is clearly not in the laundry room section, the authors of Code certainly know how to add it if they meant to, and the exception explicitly states "bathrooms" in the exception itself. Twice.

And I'm highlighting this, so I can demonstrate just how far a person will go to rationalize or justify something they want. And you need to watch yourself on that; and sanity-check yourself anytime you feel yourself over-thinking like this. Rules lawyering is for lawyers. With retainers.

EDIT: I guess my confusion comes from the code specifically mentioning a limitation on receptacle outlets but not outlets in general, as to where the bathroom code, which does the same, specifically calls out that Such circuits shall have no other outlets whereas laundry does not make this very specific point.

Again: So what? The language is clear in the first case. This is a classic case of fixating at all costs on finding a loophole in the language of the Code. I see a couple reasons for that particular language in the bathroom section; one is that the first sentence doesn't address that; it doesn't prohibit other outlets. They could've added an "only" after "supply" but for whatever reason (different writer?) they didn't. It may have been an amendment to Code at some point, so they chose to add a sentence rather than amend the first sentence. Thirdly there's an exception, creating a need for this language to be stronger.

But this is angels on the head of a pin. The laundry code is perfectly clear, and states its point twice. Your only "confusion" is sourced from your pure force of will about disregarding it so you can do it your own way.

And that doesn't even work. The most brilliant argument in the world is only valid if it convinces the AHJ (local inspector). And I think we both know, that dog won't hunt.

So stop wasting your time on such gibberish.

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