410.10(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas.

What type of luminaire is permitted in this zone?
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What type of luminaire is permitted in this zone?

Code Change Summary: Existing code language on luminaires in bathtubs and showers was reorganized into a list.

When a luminaire has been found to be compliant with the applicable safety standard and suitable for a specific location by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), a manufacturer is then given the approval to mark the luminaire with the logo of the testing lab as well as other information such as “suitable for wet locations”.

According to Article 100, a wet location may be subject to saturation with water or other liquids.

A damp location is protected from weather and not subject to saturation with water or other liquids but may be subjected to moderate degrees of moisture.

Both above areas can exist in a bathtub or shower area.

In the 2020 NEC, the previous language regarding the suitability of luminaires in bathtub or shower spaces was revised into a list for clarity. The first requirement in the revised section does not permit cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans to be located within a zone measured 3 feet horizontally and 8 feet vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold, even if the fixtures are listed for wet locations.

The second requirement is that all other luminaires that are allowed in the tub or shower area must be rated properly for damp or wet locations.

Below is a preview of the NEC. See the actual NEC text at NFPA.ORG for the complete code section. Once there, click on their link to free access to the 2020 NEC edition of NFPA 70.

2017 Code Language:

410.10(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the space directly over the tub or shower stall. Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to shower spray.

2020 Code Language:

410.10(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. A luminaire installed in a bathtub or shower area shall meet all of the following requirements:

N (1) No parts of cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all-encompassing and includes the space directly over the tub or shower stall.

N (2) Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked suitable for damp locations or marked suitable for wet locations. Luminaires located where subject to shower spray shall be marked suitable for wet locations.

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410.10(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas.

Below is a Real Question from our Electrical Continuing Education Courses for Electrical License Renewal:

Refer to the image of the surface mounted luminaire in the shower:

Based on the 2020 NEC, which of the following is true?

A: This surface-mounted luminaire must have GFCI protection.
B: Since the luminaire is subject to shower spray, it shall be marked suitable for wet locations.
C: Since the luminaire is subject to shower spray, it shall be marked suitable for damp locations.
D: Surface mounted luminaires are NOT permitted in a bathroom.
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