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Bathroom switching

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Miamicuse 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #704086

    TopNotch
    Pro
    elmwood park, NJ

    On all of the baths I remodel I have 4 sometimes 5 switches.

    Im not a fan of switch gangs. I tend to put main lighting or vanity on a single switch but then use duplex switches for fan controls.

    Wondering what you boys do?

    Working Pro since 1993

    Tom M

    #704146

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Depends. On remodels I tend to run into box capacity issues. Older homes with metal boxes and EMT conduits is what I see 80% of the time.

    In those cases I have to find room. Existing boxes too small to fit in the newer boxy GFCI receptacles and multiple controls, and sometimes enlarging the finished wall hole for a bigger box is a challenge. Hate to cut old ceramic tiles laid over 2″ thick cement base with metal lath.

    Given a choice I tend to size the box according to maximum devices – overhead light, wall scones, exhaust fan, receptacle…I would probably put in a three gang at least. Although I prefer to rough the GFCI receptacle away from it, if I can do it.

    Box size is even more important now since newer switches are big. Timer control with exhaust fan, motion sensor for lights, and since you can’t just do a switch loop on the hot conductor anymore, you have more neutral conductors to take up more room. From that standpoint I think bigger boxes give more room and flexibility, and that means more ganged switches.

    #704150

    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    I favour a 3 gang box near the door for fan, overhead and vanity lighting and the GFI separately near the sink. Code here requires a fan timer which can tax the capacity of some 3 gang boxes when retrofitting.

    There are only two ways to do things; the right way and again.

    #704209

    TopNotch
    Pro
    elmwood park, NJ

    I usually need 4 gang or 3 with a double rocker.

    Although I could stop giving that extra switch option and link up the fan with the shower lighting but then the crapper……..

    Working Pro since 1993

    Tom M

    #704251

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    In bathrooms I tend to stay away from duplex switches simply because if it’s wet and steamy after a shower or older folks feeling for switches in the middle of the night…in my opinion the bigger switch the better.

    I once used a quad switch – legrand makes one – to control four sets of recessed lights in a living room with only a one gang box. It works but just not very well, probably a 50% chance of hitting the wrong switch even when switch locations and ceiling locations are arranged logically.

    #728886

    Depends. On remodels I tend to run into box capacity issues. Older homes with metal boxes and EMT conduits is what I see 80% of the time.

    In those cases I have to find room. Existing boxes too small to fit in the newer boxy GFCI receptacles and multiple controls, and sometimes enlarging the finished wall hole for a bigger box is a challenge. Hate to cut old ceramic tiles laid over 2″ thick cement base with metal lath.

    Given a choice I tend to size the box according to maximum devices – overhead light, wall scones, exhaust fan, receptacle…I would probably put in a three gang at least. Although I prefer to rough the GFCI receptacle away from it, if I can do it.

    Box size is even more important now since newer switches are big. Timer control with exhaust fan, motion sensor for lights, and since you can’t just do a switch loop on the hot conductor anymore, you have more neutral conductors to take up more room. From that standpoint I think bigger boxes give more room and flexibility, and that means more ganged switches.

    Some time ago when I needed a bathroom replacement all these options were in question for me and when I inquired with a plumber and repair company they said it was mostly up to the year of construction and where you could easily fit the box. Which, of course, made me think of metal boxes and EMT ducts as old as my house.

    #728945

    CB
    Pro

    Inspectors around here could care less about year of construction… they want all the new energy saving devices… non Edison based fixtures… light motion detector/timer… fan timer… fat featured things that challenge box fitment.

    Metal is an advantage, as it is easier to find larger metal boxes that are still two gang, but use stepped mud rings that conceal just how much larger the boxes are behind the ring. They meet cubic inch formulas for the number of conductors, accommodating 3 ways switches etc

    Even the big box stores have the big boxes! Came in handy after hours.

    #729006

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I also like to work with metal boxes and conduits.

    With conduits you have individual conductors that offer some flexibility that NMB wires lack. Takes a bit more hunting and tracing but usually not too bad unless some clueless DIYers have remodeled and messed things up. With metal boxes and conduits you also don’t need EGC in most cases.

    Only down side with metal boxes on old work is the extra work involved in enlarging a box from say 2G to 3G or 4G. You have to cut all the way to the corners of the box, so even though the mud ring “openings” are smaller, the mounting screws are all the way at the corners, and if it’s a bathroom with tiled walls that you can’t find matching tiles, you have to be extra creative. It’s also a pain to uncouple existing EMT conduits from old work boxes if the conduits are strapped tight.

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