Can a Bathroom Be on a 15 Amp Circuit?

If you are getting the wiring in your home or your bathroom done, you might be trying to check that you’re getting everything right – and that might lead you to ask, can a bathroom be on a 15 amp circuit?

A bathroom can be on a 15 amp circuit, as long as this complies with the code set out by your local building inspections office. The National Electrical Code is used by many areas to create local guidelines, but local guidelines always supersede the national code. 

In this article, we’re going to look at the requirements for bathrooms and discuss what you need to do to check that your bathroom is suitable and safe.

Is It Okay To Have A 15 Amp Circuit In Your Bathroom?

If you are doing any upgrades in your home, wiring is one of the less attractive but most important parts to look at, because it is a critical aspect of keeping you and your family safe and supplied with electricity. Make sure you don’t neglect this aspect of remodeling and designing just because it is not glamorous.

It is best to have an electrician deal with any wiring in your home, as they will be familiar with local requirements and regulations, and they can ensure that everything is installed safely. You never want to take chances when it comes to electricity, but this is even more critical in a bathroom where there is water.

The things that you need to check when determining whether you can have a 15 amp circuit in your bathroom are:

  • The National Electrical Code, which sets out guidelines for electrical wiring in homes across the country
  • Your local laws, which will probably be based on and similar to the electrical code, but which may contain some differences which would supersede the code

This will help you to determine whether your bathroom circuit is okay, or whether you need to upgrade it. At present, the National Electrical Code does allow for a bathroom to be on a 15 amp circuit, but recommends that they are on 20 amp circuits because they often contain heaters, fan vents, and other power-hungry devices.

Do I Need A 20 Amp Circuit In The Bathroom?

If your bathroom contains heaters, there is a high chance that you will need or want a 20 amp circuit, because 15 amp may not be powerful enough. If your bathroom does not contain any fan vents or other high-power items, you may be fine using a 15 amp circuit, although 20 amp might still be preferable if you have the opportunity to upgrade it.

If you have any big fixtures in your bathroom, such as a whirlpool tub, you will likely need to run a completely separate circuit to that one area, in order to provide the power it needs. Talk to an electrician before wiring any power-hungry devices into your home, especially if you only have a 15 amp circuit.

Ideally, you should have a 20 amp circuit in your bathroom, but if you have not got one, 15 amp should be okay as long as it is not powering any very hungry devices. 

How Much Does It Really Matter?

There is a risk of fire if the house is not wired up correctly, so it is extremely important to make sure you are either qualified in wiring yourself, or that you are working alongside a skilled electrician who complies with current building regulations. Note that the National Electrical Code is updated every 3 years, so you should always check that your information is current.

If you are thinking of selling your property, it is even more important to make sure that the wiring is up to date and meets the current standards set out by the NEC and the local building regulations. This will make the building more appealing to potential buyers, because they won’t need to do the work themselves and they will know that it is safe.

What Do The Current NEC Guidelines Say?

At the moment, the NEC guidelines state that you should have 2 circuits in your bathroom. This includes a 15 or 20 amp circuit for light fixtures and wall switches, with 15 amps being the minimum. A 20 amp circuit is necessary if there is also a fan.

It also includes a 20 amp circuit for any plugin appliances, such as hairdryers, straighteners, shavers, etc. A separate circuit must be added if you have large fixtures that require more power.

Make sure you check for updates before applying this information to your bathroom, and adhere to the local law over the national one. If you are hiring an electrician, they should be aware of the current stipulations, and ensure that their work complies with them.


Q: Do I need an electrician to wire up my bathroom?

A: It is best to have an electrician do any sort of wiring in your bathroom, because this is a space that has both water and electricity at close proximity. This is always going to be a dangerous mix, and it’s important to make sure that everything has been installed safely and carefully to maximize the safety of the room.

Q: Does a fan vent need to be on a separate circuit?

A: If you only have a 15 amp circuit in your bathroom, you will not be able to run a fan vent or a heat lamp safely, and you will need to upgrade your system to a 20 amp circuit. 

If you don’t do this, you will increase the risk of a fire starting in your property, and it may not pass building inspections because it won’t comply with current regulations.


It is okay to have a bathroom on a 15 amp circuit provided that it does not need to run a heat lamp or fan vent, but be aware that 20 amp circuits are recommended, and necessary if you wish to run either of these things. Bathrooms should have a secondary 20 amp circuit for plugin appliances too.

Click on the tags below in order to see related blog posts to this one!

Can a Bathroom Be on a 15 Amp Circuit?
Scroll to top