Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. However, you might need to add an outlet if you have an electric-powered toilet. If you have to install one, we have researched the appropriate distance to install the outlet and have information to shre.
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The National Electrical Code states that the distance from the toilet to the nearest receptacle outlet should be at least three feet. However, you can place the outlet anywhere near the toilet due to the necessity of using the toilet.
As electrical safety laws prescribe, the outlet should be a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) to avoid electrical shock hazards. You should also account for the cords of toilet features like the bidet when planning the outlet's location. Read along to know where you can install an outlet inside your bathroom.
How Far Should The Outlet Be From The Toilet?
According to the National Electrical Code, the outlet should be within the three-f00t horizontal and eight-foot vertical zone from the bathtub or shower space. The code encompasses toilets because toilets are necessary near the mentioned bathroom areas.
However, there can be barriers in the bathroom that make it difficult for wires to pass. It is also an additional cost for homeowners to reposition the outlets to comply with the law. The NEC has proposed an exemption for the requirement of toilet outlets.
Per NEC's requirement, the bathroom should have Class A GFCI outlets. This type of outlet is common where people can come in contact with water. A GFCI outlet prevents electrocution by quickly shutting off the circuit.
Listed below are the GFCI types that you can install in the bathroom:
With a GFCI outlet, you can connect from anywhere that is readily accessible for electrical connections.
The distance varies depending on your toilet's placement and the outlet's proposed location. You should also take into account the toilet features that need electricity.
Can You Put An Outlet Behind A Toilet?
The NFPA supports the NEC's guidelines for outlets in damp or wet areas. It reiterates that the outlet near the toilet should be readily accessible. The NEC defined "readily accessible" as the ability to access the electrical outlet without using tools or moving some obstacles.
A toilet feature, such as a bidet, needs electricity to function. Following the guidelines, you should place one outlet on the wall behind the toilet but not behind the tank.
If you don't want the outlet behind the toilet, anywhere near the toilet is okay. You can place the outlet below the tank or on an adjacent wall.
If that is not possible, observe the three-feet rule if feasible. The memorandum states that the outlet should be on the opposite side of the toilet from the bathroom or shower.
Hence, you need to plan the positioning of the bidet because the cords will measure four feet long and extend from the right side.
Using other outlets in the bathroom is acceptable. But if the nearest outlet is too far, you can have difficulty operating the bidet.
Just don't forget to use a GFCI outlet for your safety.
Is It Alright To Install Two Outlets Near The Toilet?
One GFCI outlet is sufficient for the toilets. An outlet with two slots will work if you need two connections for the toilet and bidet. You can change your existing outlet with one slot to accommodate another connection.
If you put two outlets near the toilet, it is an electrical safety risk. For a bathroom, you should place outlets every six feet of wall space.
You cannot put two outlets near each other. The reason behind the restriction is technical. The components such as the circuit and wirings should follow a sophisticated layout to avoid overloading the circuit.
Can GFCI Outlets Near The Toilet Overload?
The GFCI outlet will not overload because it can trip the electrical connection. There is a low chance of an overload due to less frequent use of the toilet and bidet.
Most GFCIs are 15 or 20-amps. An electric bidet will need at least a 15-amp outlet to do 13-amp max pulling. For electric toilets, the power requirement can vary depending on the model. But most toilets use 20 amps.
Read this post to learn more: How Many GFCI Outlets On A Circuit? [15 And 20 Amps]
How Much Does It Cost To Install An Outlet Near A Toilet?
If you are going to replace the existing outlets in your bathroom, your cost depends on if you do it by yourself or ask an electrician to do the job.
On average, installing a GFCI outlet will cost around $130-300. The cost varies due to the type of outlet to install and the project size. For new construction, the cost to install an outlet is part of the total package cost to create a bathroom or the entire house.
It seems expensive, but professionals justify that the price of outlet installation is reasonable. Installing GFCI outlets have long-term benefits for your convenience and safety.
A GFCI outlet for bathroom fixtures will only cost between $7-$25 per outlet.
The bulk of the cost is for labor. The labor costs will be around $40-100 per hour, depending on the installation's complexity and the electrician's skills. It can take about two hours but will vary on how many outlets you need to install.
If you have experience with electrical stuff, your costs can be lower.
You can also read: How Much Does It Cost To Move An Electrical Outlet?
What To Do If The Electrical Outlet Gets Wet
Water is essential for the functioning of toilets. However, you might accidentally splash water on the outlet while using your toilet. In worst cases, your toilets can have water damage due to flooding.
It will help if you understand the effects of a wet outlet before you do anything.
The possible consequences that can happen are the following:
- Short circuit
- Internal wiring damage
- Electrical shocks and burns
- Outlet rust and corrosion
Before you inspect the outlet, you should halt the power source by switching off the main breaker box. You cannot find one in the bathroom because the NEC explicitly excludes it.
If you have a GFCI outlet, it will automatically shut off when water or humidity enters the outlet. Manually shutting off the outlet is also possible by simultaneously pressing the test and reset buttons. You can check a voltage meter to check if the proper shut off.
You should act immediately to dry out or replace the outlet to avoid danger. Read further to learn the solutions.
1. Drying Out A Wet Outlet
You can dry a wet outlet for minor water damage, such as wall leaks and splashes. As a precaution, do not touch the wet outlet until you have turned off the breaker.
After you have shut off the breaker, remove it from the wall. Then you can let it dry overnight or use a blow dryer. If you are not sure how to deal with the problem, ask an electrician to help you.
2. Replacing The Outlet
If the outlet had a significant amount of water, the recommended action is to replace the outlet.
Be careful not to enter the bathroom if there is still water and the breaker is still on. Turn off the power source and try to remove the water for your safety.
It is best to let an electrician check the damage and replace the outlet for you. It is a challenge to replace the outlets on your own because there are wirings and other components connected.
You might not be knowledgeable about these things, so let the professionals do it for you.The electrician can also decide to replace all the affected outlets in the bathroom.
You can place your outlet near the toilet or within the 3-foot horizontal zone. The outlet should be on the wall but not above the toilet tank.
It is also mandatory to have a GFCI outlet for wet areas like the bathroom. The GFCI outlet will automatically trip the breaker to keep you safe from electrical hazards.
You should also buy a suitable outlet for the power requirement needed by the toilet. By choosing the right GFCI outlet, you will not worry about overloading.
Although GFCI protects you from electrical accidents, the cost of installation can be expensive if you let a professional do the job. Furthermore, if your outlet gets wet, you can let it dry or replace it.
Installing the right outlet at the right location will support the functionality of your toilet.