Switches play an essential role in a home. They can be light switches you use to turn on lights in various parts of your home. While switches are vital for any living space, their location is crucial. Many homeowners wonder if it is safe to have a switch close to a sink.
In most cases, it is okay to have a switch or outlet close to a sink. This guide discusses the recommended distance for a switch and a sink. It is vital to note that you will have problems convincing a contractor to install light switches if your outlet placement does not follow the recommended NEC standards.
It is essential to ensure that your switch has its unique source of power in the kitchen. If you connect the switch power to either 20-amp appliance circuits, you will be drawing power from appliances. Generally, your fridge and other kitchen appliances drop in performance when the light is on.
The Recommended Distance Between a Switch and a Sink in the Kitchen
You must know the recommended outlet distance between your switch and the sink in your kitchen. The NEC rules are mandated, an organization that dictates the distance between a switch and the sink. As much as you could cut it closer with a little distance, it is not advisable to do so.
However, there is another way you can handle the situation. For instance, if your countertops in the kitchen are a certain depth and width, then the kitchen must have outlets. This is according to NEC. The rule also applies to bars and kitchen islands. The same rule applies even to facilities without a sink. These measures are meant to keep your home safe and prevent any damages.
All the outlets near the countertop need ground-fault circuit interrupters. It is also vital to have circuit-breakers that can turn off the power to the outlet quickly (preferably 1/40th of a second. This is a fast speed that if you blink, you miss it. The ground-fault circuit interrupters determine how much electrical current your outlet receives and sends out from any equipment. Keep in mind that it must be connected to a circuit conductor.
You must have around 24 inches of distance from where the outlet is installed to the other part of the wall. In simpler terms, each outlet must be separated by at least 4 feet. Therefore, the closet your switch should be to your kitchen sink is about 2 feet away. This is the recommended distance that ensures the safety and prevents related risks.
The Recommended Distance Between a Switch and Sink in the Bathroom
When it comes to bathroom switches, NEC has different rules. No matter the size of your bathroom, NEC insists that you must have at least one outlet or more. It is also recommended that you equip your bathroom outlet with GFCI protection just like any other outlet in your home. According to NEC, any outlets in your bathroom, including those with light switches, must be 3 feet away from your sink. This is vital given the risky conditions in the bathroom.
Keeping the switch 3 feet away from the sink is very important, with water all over the place. You can implement both options if you want the outlet behind the sink or even on its side. It is important to note that straying too far from the sink is not recommended. For instance, if you want an outlet installed on the wall opposite your sink, it won’t be acceptable per NEC rules.
Some owners also wonder what you are supposed to do if the bathroom has double sinks. In that case, the rules change a little bit. You will need at least two outlets, each placed within 3 feet of the sink. In some cases, homeowners opt for doubling up on the outlets between two sinks. They also get the outlets installed near the edge of one of the sinks.
In case you prefer having another outlet in your bathroom, you can add it. Unlike the initial two outlets, this one doesn’t have to be 3 feet from the sink. If you get too close to the sink, you need to protect your sink with GFCI protection. Note that the extra outlet cannot replace the single mandated outlet near your sink.
The Recommended Distance Between a Switch and a Sink in the Bathtub
Those with smaller bathrooms don’t have to worry about where the switch goes in relation to the shower or tub. NEC’s regulations of 2017 address the shower switch installer in section 404 of its rule book. According to their rules, switches should not be installed within shower or tub spaces unless they are installed as part of the shower or tun assembly. This means you shouldn’t have a switch in the bathtub whatsoever.