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210.70(A)(1) Lighting Outlets Required Lighting outlet requirements are covered in the last section of Article 210. Branch circuits supplying lighting outlets must be installed in accordance with the provisions in 210.70(A) through (C). While this section contains requirements for guest rooms and non-dwelling units, the majority of the provisions pertain to dwelling units. The first subsection is not limited to one-family dwellings. Lighting outlets in one-family, two-family and multifamily dwellings must be installed in accordance with these provisions. The main rule in 210.70(A)(1) requires at least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet in every habitable room and bathroom of dwelling units. This provision contains two exceptions. This month’s In Focus continues with a discussion of the first exception.
Other than in kitchens and bathrooms, one or more receptacles controlled by a wall switch may be installed in lieu of lighting outlets [210.70(A)(1) Exception No. 1]. While switched receptacles cannot take the place of lighting outlets in kitchens, they can in dining rooms (and breakfast areas), if meeting the requirement in 210.52(B)(1) Exception No. 1. This exception states that switched receptacles, supplied from a general-purpose branch circuit, can be installed if they are in addition to the required receptacles specified in 210.52.
Since switched receptacles must be fed from general-purpose branch circuits, they cannot be supplied from small-appliance branch circuits. For example, a wall-switch-controlled receptacle will be installed in the dining room instead of a lighting outlet. If the switched receptacle is supplied by a small-appliance branch circuit, it violates the provision in 210.52(B)(1) Exception No. 1. (See Figure 1.) If the switch-controlled receptacle is supplied from a general-purpose branch circuit, and is in addition to the required receptacles specified in 210.52, it shall be permitted in lieu of a lighting outlet. For example, a wall switch-controlled receptacle will be installed in the dining room instead of a lighting outlet. The switched receptacle will be supplied from a 20A general-purpose branch circuit. All other dining-room receptacles will be supplied from a small-appliance branch circuit. This switched receptacle is in addition to the required receptacle. This installation is permitted and therefore no lighting outlet is required (See Figure 2). While it is rare to see switched receptacles in breakfast rooms, pantries and similar areas, they are permitted. The second exception to 210.70(A)(1) pertains to occupancy sensors. Occupancy sensors are permitted to control lighting outlets if meeting one of the two following requirements: 1) a regular wall switch is installed in addition to the occupancy sensor, or 2) the occupancy sensor is located at a customary wall switch location and is equipped with a manual override. The manual override must allow the sensor to function as a wall switch [210.70(A)(1) Exception No. 2].
Different types of occupancy sensors are available, including ceiling- and wall-mounted. If mounted on the ceiling (or high above the floor on the wall), a regular wall switch must be installed in addition to the occupancy sensor. For example, a ceiling-mounted occupancy sensor will be installed in a home office. This sensor is permitted to control the lighting outlet provided it is in addition to the regular wall switch (See Figure 3).
If the occupancy sensor is equipped with a manual override allowing it to operate as a wall switch, it can be installed as a replacement for the wall switch. This type of sensor must be located at a customary wall switch location. For example, homeowners want an occupancy sensor installed in their home office. The sensor (equipped with a manual override) will replace the existing single-pole wall switch. The occupancy sensor is permitted as a replacement for the switch because it also functions as a wall switch (See Figure 4). Occupancy sensors must be effectively grounded in accordance with 404.9(B).
A wall switch-controlled lighting outlet must also be installed in each dwelling bathroom [210.70(A)(1)]. As with kitchens, switched receptacles cannot be installed in lieu of lighting outlets in bathrooms. A bathroom, as defined in Article 100, is an area including a basin (sink or lavatory) with one or more of the following: a toilet, a tub or a shower. The lighting outlet can be wall mounted, ceiling mounted, or any combination thereof (See Figure 5).
Luminaires (lighting fixtures), lampholders, pendants, etc. must meet the provisions in Article 410. Luminaires in bathtub and shower areas of bathrooms must be installed in accordance with the requirements 410.4(D). Note: This specification pertains to all occupancies, not just dwellings. Cord-connected luminaires, hanging luminaires, track lighting, pendants and ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans are not permitted in the bathtub or shower zone. The bathtub and shower zone measures 3 feet (900mm) horizontally and 8 feet (2.5m) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the area directly over the tub or shower stall (See Figure 6).
While certain luminaires cannot be located within the bathtub or shower zone, they can be located above the zone. The designated zone includes the area all around the bathtub and shower, not just one or two sides. For example, a sunken bathtub is located in the center of a large bathroom. The height of the cathedral ceiling, at the highest point, is 10 feet above the floor. The designated zone extends 3 feet (900 mm) horizontally in all directions from the bathtub. This zone rises to a height of 8 feet (2.5 m) above the bathtub rim and includes the area directly over the tub in the center of the room. The homeowners want a pendant fixture installed in the center of the room over the tub. They also want track lighting installed on the ceiling within a few feet of the pendant fixture. Although it is over the tub, if no part of the pendant fixture is within the bathtub zone, it can be installed above the bathtub. The same holds true for the track lights. In this example, the lighting track (and fixture heads) to the left are not within the bathtub zone. Therefore, the track lights to the left are permitted. The lighting track (and fixture heads) to the right are within the bathtub zone, and therefore are not permitted. If any part of cord-connected luminaires, hanging luminaires, track lighting, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans enters a bathtub or shower zone, the installation is in violation of 410.4(D) (See Figure 7).
Not all luminaires are prohibited from being installed within the bathtub or shower zone. Some that are permitted within the designated zone include: surface-mounted luminaires, recessed luminaires, and exhaust fans (See Figure 8). Exposed non-current-carrying metal parts must be grounded in accordance with 250.110.
Next month’s In Focus will continue discussion of required lighting outlets in dwelling units 210.70(A)(2). EC
MILLER, owner of Lighthouse Educational Services, teaches classes and seminars on the electrical industry. He is the author of “Illustrated Guide to the National Electrical Code” and NFPA’s “Electrical Reference.” He can be reached at 615.333-3336, [email protected] or www.charlesRmiller.com.
About The Author
Charles R. Miller, owner of Lighthouse Educational Services, teaches custom-tailored seminars on the National Electrical Code and NFPA 70E. He is the author of “Illustrated Guide to the National Electrical Code” and “Electrician's Exam Prep Manual.” He can be reached at 615.333.3336 and [email protected]. Connect with him on LinkedIn.