I'm in the process of finishing my basement. So far, framing's done, HVAC ductwork's done, and I'm now working on the electricals.

So I've got a 60amp subpanel bringing in power, and off of this, I have a few circuits. This question is about the bathroom circuit.

I need to wire the bathroom with a GFCI outlet, (and downstream from it) a couple of lights and an exhaust fan. In addition, the GFCI will also supply 6 other receptacles, one of which will probably serve a refrigerator. I've already bought a 20amp AFCI breaker (and also have a couple of spare 15amp AFCIs, so can use either).

Here are my questions:

  • Can I use a 15amp AFCI to supply this bathroom and the additional outlets, with 14 gauge wire?
  • If I must use the 20amp, can I use 12/2 only up until the GFCI and then 14/2 from that point onwards? Of course, the light and fan will use a 14/3 for convenience.
  • Is it acceptable to chain a refrigerator off of a bath circuit? No dishwashers, garbage disposals, etc.
  • In the future, will this (either 15amp or 20amp) breaker support a portable microwave oven? Say, 1000W?
  • it has more to do with when it was built what had to be done according to code to wire the garage. the garage got wired and passed inspection and everyone moves in. then someone gets the idea to put the refrigerator in the garage and plug it into an existing outlet, and thats how its been.
    – HippyD
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 12:46

2 Answers 2


You'll need at least one 20 ampere circuit to supply the bathroom receptacles, which cannot serve any other rooms.

You cannot use 14 AWG conductors anywhere on a 20 ampere circuit, all the conductors must be 12 AWG or larger.

The likely course is to have one GFCI protected 20 ampere circuit to serve the bathroom receptacles. One 15 or 20 ampere circuit to supply the lighting in the bathroom (this will include the exhaust fan). And one 15 or 20 ampere circuit to supply the refrigerator. Later when you want to add the microwave, you can install another 15 ampere circuit to supply it.

  • Will the single 20amp circuit still be needed even if there's only one GFCI receptacle in the bathroom?
    – alt
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 22:10
  • Yes. Though depending on how your other bathrooms are wired, you may be able to feed the new bathroom from an existing bathroom circuit.
    – Tester101
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 22:17
  • If you're only supplying this bathroom, the 20 ampere receptacle circuit can also supply the lighting (including fan).
    – Tester101
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 22:28
  • 2
    No, you cannot use 14 AWG conductors on a 20 ampere circuit.
    – Tester101
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 22:53
  • 2
    @alt The trouble with putting the lighting on the receptacle circuit, is when you plug in your hair dryer, curler, and straightener and trip the breaker. You'll find yourself standing in the dark with wet curly straight hair.
    – Tester101
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 23:41

You don't want a fridge on a GFCI anyways. Nuisance tripping.

In your kitchen a fridge is supposed to be on it's own circuit. I understand that many garage fridges are not on there own circuits. I think it might be more to do with making sure your fridge doesn't trip for sure in your kitchen than anything else. You never know whose plugging a table saw into that garage fridge circuit!

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