National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Thursday, May 25, 2023


Hi Charlie, recently I was in the shower using the bathroom exhaust fan. After about 10mins the GFCI receptacle located at my bathroom sink area tripped out. Nothing was plugged into the receptacle, but the fan above the shower shut off when the GFCI tripped. I am assuming the fan is the culprit, as nothing else was plugged in. Why would the fan be connected to the GFCI? Does the Code allow for a bathroom fan to be connected to the bathroom GFCI outlet. Thanks, Larry Andrews


Hello Larry, sorry to hear your bathroom fan is not working. Bathroom exhaust fans are permitted to be installed above the shower/tub space. However, the manufacturer of the exhaust fan likely requires the exhaust fan to be GFCI protected when installed in that location. The Exception found in Section 210.11(C)(3) of the NEC® would permit electrical equipment located in the same bathroom to be connected to the required 20A branch circuit. The installation described in your question would be code compliant as it sounds like the fan is supplied by the load side of the GFCI receptacle serving the bathroom sink area.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Unless the question requests a response based on a specific edition, all answers are based on the latest edition of NFPA 70® National Electrical Code®.

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