Homeowners and house flippers love to remodel bathrooms. Why not? Next to kitchen remodeling, bathrooms are one of the best bangs for the remodeling buck. Bathroom remodeling deficiencies, whether done through ignorance or carelessness, are quite common. Take your time in remodeling the bathroom so it meets all safety and building code requirements.
New standards, old homes – a brief review
One usually does not need to upgrade existing work to current standards if the existing work is legal and safe. Legal work means it complied with standards and manufacturer’s instructions, if any, when the work was done. New work and additions to, extensions of, replacements of and major repairs to existing work should comply with standards and manufacturer’s instructions in effect when the work was performed.
Bathroom remodeling electrical issues
Adding a sink is a common part of a bathroom remodel. Each sink basin should be served by a receptacle, so a GFCI protected receptacle should be added when a sink is added unless the existing receptacle(s) will properly serve both sinks. The receptacle should be within 36 inches from the basin’s edge. The receptacle may be located on the wall or on the cabinet; but it shouldn’t be more than 12 inches below the counter top. These locations are so people don’t have to run extension cords to serve their bathroom appliances.
A common practice in older homes was to have a receptacle in a light fixture. That might work in a remodel if the receptacle is grounded and on a GFCI-protected circuit; however, required receptacles may not be more than 66 inches above the floor. A light fixture at that height would be a safety hazard, so receptacles in light fixtures are impractical at best.
Remember to check that the receptacles do not move, especially those mounted in mirrors. Receptacles that move may cause loose connections that may arc and cause a fire.
Speaking of receptacles (and switches, too), it should go without saying that they shouldn’t be located on the walls or ceilings above a tub or shower; but occasionally people don’t get the memo. It doesn’t matter how high the receptacle or switch is mounted or whether they are GFCI-protected, they shouldn’t be above a tub or a shower.