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Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:21 pm
by DPFAST
Hi. In my master bathroom on second floor I only have one power outlet on one side of a long and narrow bathroom. I need to install a new power outlet next to my toilet for a night light. My whole condo let lines inside walls are inside a metal conduit witch also provide the ground.

Above in the Attic I have a light with light switch. I want to use this as a power source of my new power outlet. Question is, can I just run Romex cable from the light switch in the Attic down the inside of the bathroom wall to the new switch inside a plastic wall box? If yes, how do I ground it since the rest of the wiring is inside a metal conduit. Should I run a Romex cable inside a flexible metal, aluminum conduit instead and use a metal wall box witch would provide automatically a ground? The first option is much easier to run but not sure if one can mix a metal conduit with plastic? Can regular Romex be ran in the Attic and inside the wall? Please help. Thanks

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:57 pm
by Aaron
The important thing about bathroom receptacles is that they're required to be GFCI-protected. So if you can run a line from your existing receptacle (which I presume is GFCI--it should be!) up the wall and back down to the new receptacle, that would be ideal. You'd only need to use a standard receptacle because the GFCI receptacle would give it GFCI load protection.

You can use Type NM-B/NMD (Romex) cable with steel studs as long as you install the plastic bushings that are necessary so that the cable doesn't chafe on any sharp edges of the steel. Otherwise, typically, as you've discovered, it's more common to use either EMT conduit or Type MC cable. Since you're in a townhouse (you have an attic) it's probably okay to use NM-B/NMD, but if you were in a multi-floor commercial-type building that were true condos, your association would probably require you to hire a commercial electrician to do the work and they'd use EMT or Type MC cable and steel boxes.

If you use conduit or Type MC cable or EMT conduit you must use a steel box.

In Canada, all boxes must be grounded with ground screws in the box. If you're in the USA, the plastic boxes are not grounded and steel boxes require a separate 10-32 screw in a pre-tapped hole in the back of the box to ground it. If you're tying in NM-B/NMD into a preexisting box with no grounds because the boxes themselves are the ground, then that ground screw that I just mentioned supplies a source of ground for the NM-B/NMD cable.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:14 am
by Shannon
One other note is that depending on how the light circuit is wired you may not have power at the light location when the switch is off so wiring a receptacle form there that you intend to use for a night light would be useless unless the over head light was turned on anyways.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:12 am
by DPFAST
Shannon wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:14 am
One other note is that depending on how the light circuit is wired you may not have power at the light location when the switch is off so wiring a receptacle form there that you intend to use for a night light would be useless unless the over head light was turned on anyways.
I was finally able to check that in the Attic. I think this light fixture must have a constant hot wire as the switch and the light is one unit?

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:01 pm
by DPFAST
Question, can indoor (yellow) Romex wire be used in the Attic or the code requires the outdoor (Grey) type? Only few dollars difference.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:00 pm
by Aaron
Yes if that light is only controlled by its pull-chain switch, then it indeed has constant power. You can tap into that junction box for a power source.

Yes, you can use normal Type NM-B/NMD cable. You don't need Type UF/NMWU.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:19 pm
by DPFAST
Alright, I'm done. Thanks Aaron for the tips. Is it possible for you to tell from the pics if I missed anything and if this would pass a home inspection just in case. Thanks

1. I found a space next to my drain vent between 2 studs. For some reason there was no ceiling wall but the hike was filled with insolation. That's above my small bathroom closet.
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2. Then I ran the wire up the wall and them sideway all the way to the light fixture placing a mounting brackets every 20 inches or so.
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Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:21 pm
by DPFAST
Here are the connections in the Attic

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:25 pm
by DPFAST
Inside the bathroom. I thinking it came out nice I'm just not sure if I violated any codes? Again, thank you Aaron and Shannon for your feedback.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:32 pm
by Aaron
You killed it! No issues as far as I can tell.

I'm not sure why you didn't terminate the wire directly into the back of the GFCI. You don't need the splices.

Good job!

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:58 pm
by DPFAST
You mean the wire from the box directly into the GFCI? Don't know? It would probably fit in easier as well, lol. Very easy to re-do it. Maybe tomorrow, Thanks :shock:

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:03 pm
by Aaron
Yes, that's what I mean but don't worry about it! It's a non-issue. lol

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:02 am
by Shannon
DPFAST wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:01 pm
Question, can indoor (yellow) Romex wire be used in the Attic or the code requires the outdoor (Grey) type? Only few dollars difference.
White (14/2) would have been better as this will only be a 15 amp circuit and the yellow (12/2) is intended to indicate a 20amp circuit. Not a huge deal but is a good rule to follow.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:08 am
by Shannon
All I see that I would change is adding a wire staple with in 12" of the junction box at the light location.Also be sure that the wires are connected to the "line " terminals on the GFCI and not the ones marked "load". You may have it that way ,we just cant tell from the picture.

Where are you located again? That is a really small amount of insulation in your attic! I would be adding more even if you are in a warmer climate.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:28 am
by DPFAST
Shannon wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:02 am
DPFAST wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:01 pm
Question, can indoor (yellow) Romex wire be used in the Attic or the code requires the outdoor (Grey) type? Only few dollars difference.
White (14/2) would have been better as this will only be a 15 amp circuit and the yellow (12/2) is intended to indicate a 20amp circuit. Not a huge deal but is a good rule to follow.
Yes, this is on a 15AMP circuit. Would that be a problem during a house inspection ?

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:38 am
by Shannon
DPFAST wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:28 am
Yes, this is on a 15AMP circuit. Would that be a problem during a house inspection ?
Normal house inspector would never catch that ,a electrical inspection may but not likely going to have it changed.IMO anyways

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:43 am
by DPFAST
Shannon wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:08 am
All I see that I would change is adding a wire staple with in 12" of the junction box at the light location.
Very easy to do. Thanks Shannon

Also be sure that the wires are connected to the "line " terminals on the GFCI and not the ones marked "load". You may have it that way ,we just cant tell from the picture.
Yes I did connected to the Line. I understand that the Load is when you wanna protect other receptacles downstream?

Where are you located again? That is a really small amount of insulation in your attic! I would be adding more even if you are in a warmer climate.
I am in Suburbs of Chicago. How do I know how much insulation do I need? My current levels are up to the top of the rafters maybe little over the top. Happy New Year

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:38 pm
by emtnut
DPFAST wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:43 am
Shannon wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:08 am
All I see that I would change is adding a wire staple with in 12" of the junction box at the light location.
Very easy to do. Thanks Shannon

Also be sure that the wires are connected to the "line " terminals on the GFCI and not the ones marked "load". You may have it that way ,we just cant tell from the picture.
Yes I did connected to the Line. I understand that the Load is when you wanna protect other receptacles downstream?

Where are you located again? That is a really small amount of insulation in your attic! I would be adding more even if you are in a warmer climate.
I am in Suburbs of Chicago. How do I know how much insulation do I need? My current levels are up to the top of the rafters maybe little over the top. Happy New Year
Seems I'm often the bearer of bad news :shock:

From what I know, Chicago has a requirement for emt for all wiring. So that means you should be wiring the new circuit in emt tubing.
Also, for NEC, 2 bathrooms can share a circuit, but the attic light would be a no go as far as code.

As mentioned, I doubt a home inspector would pick up on these deficiencies, but if you are getting an electrical inspection, they would not pass this.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:26 pm
by Aaron
DRAT. I was wondering why there was conduit going into that light fixture box in a wood attic. Not unheard of, but unusual.

The EMT rule may only apply to Chicago proper. If you're in a suburb, you COULD be lucky and exempt. You should find this out. It may be all of Cook County, though.

Also, you may be able to get away with using Type MC cable or FMC (flexible metallic conduit), I'm not sure Chicago requires EMT only. If that's true, be sure to use 14/2 Type MC. If using FMC, you should run a green-insulated ground conductor.

You have the great Chicago fires to thank for the most strict electrical code in the United States.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:13 pm
by Shannon
Oh boy yes I believe you are correct about the EMT in Chicago. I guess the best thing to do would be to check with your local electrical inspectors to see what they say. Though I guess the circuit issue will have you changing things anyways.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:16 pm
by Shannon
I would imagine that your area would require at least R40 to R60 insulation. You will be lucky if you have R10 and because the tops of your trusses are showing you will have a great amount of cold convection through the exposed lumber to the drywall. That blow in should be around 16- 20 inches deep or so Min.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:52 pm
by DPFAST
Seems I'm often the bearer of bad news :shock:

From what I know, Chicago has a requirement for emt for all wiring. So that means you should be wiring the new circuit in emt tubing.
Also, for NEC, 2 bathrooms can share a circuit, but the attic light would be a no go as far as code.

As mentioned, I doubt a home inspector would pick up on these deficiencies, but if you are getting an electrical inspection, they would not pass this.

Wow, thanks for that info. I've been reading on crazy Chicago codes and from what I am getting is that Chicago (and most of its suburbs) only allows running wires inside metal tubing. Flexible metal tubing is not allow for longer than 6 feet so many DIY electricians use them for corners/bents alongside the straight metal tubes.
Another thing I read was that Romex cable can only be run in confined spaces like inside the wall or ceiling but not on the outside of the wall. Is that true?

Than really sucks for me. Question, is my install still safe to leave since is only for 15 AMP circuit and is only meant to handle a night light ? I really hate to change it now anyway. Thanks

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:06 pm
by DPFAST
Aaron wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:26 pm
DRAT. I was wondering why there was conduit going into that light fixture box in a wood attic. Not unheard of, but unusual.

The EMT rule may only apply to Chicago proper. If you're in a suburb, you COULD be lucky and exempt. You should find this out. It may be all of Cook County, though.

Also, you may be able to get away with using Type MC cable or FMC (flexible metallic conduit), I'm not sure Chicago requires EMT only. If that's true, be sure to use 14/2 Type MC. If using FMC, you should run a green-insulated ground conductor.

You have the great Chicago fires to thank for the most strict electrical code in the United States.
ALl of the Chicago land and all of its suburbs accepted a very strict electrical codes from what I was reading (most say its because of a very powerful Electricians Union in Illinois) . They all require metal tubing only and flexible tubing in not more than 6 feet length to run electric wires. What a bummer :x :x I also was reading that Romex wire is not allowed in Chicago at all. So who is buying it? Why would all the stores sell something you not supposed to install ? That doesn't make sense to me.

Another way to fix this maybe would be to run the Romex wire to the new receptacle from the other recetical in the bathroom. This way there would be no yellow wire in the attic and no one would know unless one would open up one of the bathroom receptacles. Would that work?

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:14 pm
by DPFAST
Shannon wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:16 pm
I would imagine that your area would require at least R40 to R60 insulation. You will be lucky if you have R10 and because the tops of your trusses are showing you will have a great amount of cold convection through the exposed lumber to the drywall. That blow in should be around 16- 20 inches deep or so Min.
So what king of insulation should I add? Cellulose, fiberglass? I don't have the blower machine to do it, can I do it by hand? Do you have a video on it? Thanks Shannon

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:00 am
by Shannon
I cant recommend to you to not do this wiring up to current code.

As for insulation many big box stores have blowers for rent or they may even forgo the rent if you buy X amount of insulation. Alternatively you could use a double layer of batt insulation which could be installed by hand. Install it with the second layer turned perpendicular to the first layer you put down. This helps to keep long sections of joints from lining up and letting cold air through.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:53 am
by DPFAST
Shannon wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:00 am
I cant recommend to you to not do this wiring up to current code.

I understand of course. Its just if using a Romex wire in the attic in other states is safe and upto a code one would assume it would be also safe in other states (if taking the politics out of it) I assume its safe for now until I have to change it before some kind of inspection or maybe during summer months when I have more time.

As for insulation many big box stores have blowers for rent or they may even forgo the rent if you buy X amount of insulation. Alternatively you could use a double layer of batt insulation which could be installed by hand. Install it with the second layer turned perpendicular to the first layer you put down. This helps to keep long sections of joints from lining up and letting cold air through.

I've looked again in the attic and noticed that the attic vents may be covered if installing any additional insulation. It looks like I would have to first add some of the attic rafter/baffle vents the pink stuff before adding any of the batt insulation. Is that hard to do? Not much room in there especially with what looks like less than 45 degrees rafters from the floor?

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:56 pm
by emtnut
DPFAST wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:53 am
Shannon wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:00 am
I cant recommend to you to not do this wiring up to current code.
I understand of course. Its just if using a Romex wire in the attic in other states is safe and upto a code one would assume it would be also safe in other states (if taking the politics out of it) I assume its safe for now until I have to change it before some kind of inspection or maybe during summer months when I have more time.
The only 'safety' aspect I see (from the pics posted), is that the box connector clamp up in the attic that the yellow romex enters looks a little on the tight side. Those connectors should just be 'snug' and not pinch the cable.

The issue that you may be faced with, is in the event there is a fire. Insurance companies love to find ways to not pay out claims. The other issue would be when you go to sell the house, it could be listed as a deficiency, and then you have to pay to have it fixed 'up to code'.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:23 pm
by emtnut
DPFAST wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:52 pm

Wow, thanks for that info. I've been reading on crazy Chicago codes and from what I am getting is that Chicago (and most of its suburbs) only allows running wires inside metal tubing. Flexible metal tubing is not allow for longer than 6 feet so many DIY electricians use them for corners/bents alongside the straight metal tubes.
Another thing I read was that Romex cable can only be run in confined spaces like inside the wall or ceiling but not on the outside of the wall. Is that true?
The limit on FMT is an NEC requirement

Romex (excluding Chicago) can be run inside a wall/ceiling/attic , but nowhere can it be run outside, even in a conduit, because it's considered a wet location. Romex is for dry locations only.

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:23 pm
by Aaron
Since we're talking the US, we're talking NM-B and UF types of cable (the Canadian equivalents are NMD and NMWU). They both have to be protected, but UF allows for direct burial. It's sleeved in conduit above ground for outdoor (wet) locations for entrance into a building.

Both NM-B and UF may only be exposed within stud and joist bays, because ostensibly, it *can* be covered with drywall and therefore protected, when finished... so that's why you see it fully exposed in basements and garages. It cannot, however, be exposed permanently (like stapled along a finished wall).

You can sleeve short sections of each type through EMT for the purpose of physical protection, though I do not know what the length limit is.

In the Chicagoland area (seems some cursory research is all of Cook and DuPage counties of Illinois), everything is THHN/THWN fished through EMT, IMC, or RMC. They may not even allow PVC tubing either!

Re: Adding a new power outlet to a bathroom

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:50 pm
by Shannon
With the strict requirements in Chicago I would be surprised if a home owner can actually pull a permit for their own home?


For your attic installing the baffles is a pain but you have “lack of existing insulation” in your favour . It will be much easier when you are not working in 16” or blow in.