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Bathroom sink with mirror & vanity light. Presently, the vanity light switch and single receptacle are separate from each other and in awkward locations. I intend to put them together in a single box.

1) What are the safe-location rules for placing a receptacle at a bathroom sink? Examples: minimum height from counter or minimum distance from faucet.

2) Can I safely add a 2nd receptacle to the mix, resulting in a switch + receptacle + receptacle in a 3 gang box? I assume that I could use a single GFCI receptacle and chain a normal receptacle and switch to the load side of the GFCI receptacle to protect the whole chain.

(My thinking is that providing 2 x 2 = 4 places for low-power appliances like shaver & toothbrush chargers to be plugged and stay plugged is safer than needing to regularly swap cords when a hair dryer or similar is used.)

  • Thank you for the answers, particularly the note that bathroom recepticles should be on their own branch. My bathroom, at present, violates several rules. I'm always (not) amused when my DIY electrical work is more correct and of better workmanship than what I find in the wall. – Todd Feb 19 '16 at 19:36
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National Electrical Code says that the receptacle must be within 3' of the outside edge of the basin, but not more than 12" below the top of the basin (210.52(D)). It also states that the receptacle can be installed in the countertop, but must not be in the face-up position (406.5(E)).

Obviously the receptacles must be GFCI protected, since they're in a bathroom (210.8(A)(1)).

See also this answer from @Shirlock Homes.

National Electrical Code 2014

Chapter 2 Wiring and Protection

Article 210 Branch Circuits

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets.

(D) Bathrooms. In dwelling units, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in bathrooms within 900 mm (3 ft) of the outside edge of each basin. The receptacle outlet shall be located on a wall or partition that is adjacent to the basin or basin countertop, located on the countertop, or installed on the side or face of the basin cabinet. In no case shall the receptacle be located more than 300 mm (12 in.) below the top of the basin. Receptacle outlet assemblies listed for the application shall be permitted to be installed in the countertop.

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.

(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 circuitinterrupter protection for personnel.

(1) Bathrooms

210.11 Branch Circuits Required.

C) Dwelling Units.

(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply 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).

Chapter 4 Equipment for General Use

Article 406 Receptacles, Cord Connectors, and Attachment Plugs (Caps)

406.5 Receptacle Mounting.

(E) Receptacles in Countertops and Similar Work Surfaces. Receptacles shall not be installed in a face-up position in countertops or similar work surfaces.

NOTES:

As @ArchonOSX points out, there must be at least one 120-Volt 20-ampere circuit supplying the bathroom small appliance branch circuit. This circuit can have no other outlets, unless it only supplies equipment in a single bathroom and any other outlets are in accordance with 210.23(A)(1) and (A)(2). (See 210.11(C)(3) above)

  • Just adding 210.11(C)(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. – ArchonOSX Feb 18 '16 at 18:19
  • Do you mean "must not be face-up"? – supercat Feb 18 '16 at 21:30

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