This question has sort of been posed but ... I want to see if I can have an electrical outlet added to my bathroom near the toilet and tub so I can install a Costway Electric Heated Towel Warmer Wall Mount Drying Rack 304 Stainless Steel, it requires being plugged in.

Currently there is one outlet in my bathroom by the vanity/sink. There is one shared wall with my bedroom that have outlets (in the bedroom). This is also the same wall where the toilet is installed. I want to mount the towel warmer over the toilet. In doing a search I understand I need GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter). I am in Los Angeles, California and wondering about codes.

  • 1
    Will need to check with LA if they have any extra codes, but it should be able to be done. The GFCI outlets are getting better, but for that type of location, a GFCI breaker might be better. Moisture and stuff tends to shorten an GFCI outlet's life span.
    – crip659
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 11:41
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    Does your bathroom circuit feed more than one bathroom? Commented May 25, 2023 at 13:38
  • There are a lot of questions in this question. Do you need GFCI? What codes apply? What complications from the tub? Can you use the bedroom circuit? Or other circuits? And some unstated questions like power capacity of these circuits. I think if you hire an electrician to do this it will be VERY easy for them to use a bedroom circuit to install a code-compliant GFCI outlet for this purpose. If you want to do this yourself you ought to break this up into more, and more specific, questions.
    – jay613
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Two obvious code issues are present.

210.11(C)(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, one or more 120-volt, 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom(s) receptacle outlet(s) required by 210.52(D) and any countertop and similar work surface receptacle outlets. 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(B)(1) and (B)(2).

This section was greatly modified in 2020 NEC. If your bathroom circuit feeds only one bathroom then the exception would allowed you to add the towel warmer to the bathroom countertop circuit. If the circuit feeds multiple bathrooms it must be added to a different circuit. The bathroom lighting or bedroom circuit are options.

210.23(B)(2) Utilization Equipment Fastened in Place. The total rating of utilization equipment fastened in place, other than luminaires, shall not exceed 50 percent of the branch-circuit ampere rating where lighting units, cord-and-plug-connected utilization equipment not fastened in place, or both, are also supplied.

Since the rack is only 92 watts this isn't a problem. If the outlet (hard wired or receptacle) on any circuit exceeds 50% of the branch rating you must supply a dedicated circuit. You will also need a dedicated circuit if the towel warmer installation instructions specify a dedicated circuit, the instructions are part of the (UL) Listing, and the NEC specifies complying with the Listing.

  • Besides the text changes of 210.11 in 2020 there was also a re-alignment of paragraphs of 210.23 in 2023. Commented May 25, 2023 at 14:29
  • The easy way to install this seems to be from the bedroom circuit, and my conclusion from both these citations is that's the most likely path to compliance too ... right?
    – jay613
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 14:52
  • @jay613 Yes, the easiest way to comply is using the bedroom circuit, the single bathroom exception may prove easier to execute. Commented May 25, 2023 at 15:08
  • Thank you all for your help. I would be hiring an electrician. Does anyone have an idea how much I should be charged?
    – Michelle
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 22:34
  • See diy.stackexchange.com/tour "Don't ask about...The cost of a job or the price of tools as these will vary between locations and over time." Commented May 26, 2023 at 1:09

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