E4001.1 Rating and application of snap switches.

    General-use snap switches shall be used within their ratings and shall control only the following loads:

    1. 1.Resistive and inductive loads not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at the voltage involved.

    2. 2.Tungsten-filament lamp loads not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at 120 volts.

    3. 3.Motor loads not exceeding 80 percent of the ampere rating of the switch at its rated voltage. [404.14(A)]

    E4001.2 CO/ALR snap switches.

    Snap switches rated 20 amperes or less directly connected to aluminum conductors shall be marked CO/ALR. [404.14(C)]

    E4001.3 Indicating.

    General-use and motor-circuit switches and circuit breakers shall clearly indicate whether they are in the open OFF or closed ON position. Where single-throw switches or circuit breaker handles are operated vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the up position of the handle shall be the closed (on) position.

    E4001.4 Time switches and similar devices.

    Time switches and similar devices shall be of the enclosed type or shall be mounted in cabinets or boxes or equipment enclosures. A barrier shall be used around energized parts to prevent operator exposure when making manual adjustments or switching. (404.5]

    E4001.5 Grounding of enclosures.

    Metal enclosures for switches or circuit breakers shall be connected to an equipment grounding conductor. Metal enclosures for switches or circuit breakers used as service equipment shall comply with the provisions of Section E3609.4. Where nonmetallic enclosures are used with metal raceways or metal-armored cables, provisions shall be made for connecting the equipment grounding conductor.

    Nonmetallic boxes for switches shall be installed with a wiring method that provides or includes an equipment grounding conductor. (404.12)

    E4001.6 Access.

    Switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located to allow operation from a readily accessible location. Such devices shall be installed so that the center of the grip of the operating handle of the switch or circuit breaker, when in its highest position, will not be more than 6 feet 7 inches (2007 mm) above the floor or working platform. [404.8(A)]

    Exception: This section shall not apply to switches and circuit breakers that are accessible by portable means and are installed adjacent to the motors, appliances and other equipment that they supply. [404.8(A) Exception]

    E4001.7 Damp or wet locations.

    A surface mounted switch or circuit breaker located in a damp or wet location or outside of a building shall be enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure or cabinet. A flush-mounted switch or circuit breaker in a damp or wet location shall be equipped with a weatherproof cover. Switches shall not be installed within wet locations in tub or shower spaces unless installed as part of a listed tub or shower assembly. [404.8(A), (B), and (C)]

    E4001.8 Grounded conductors.

    Switches or circuit breakers shall not disconnect the grounded conductor of a circuit except where the switch or circuit breaker simultaneously disconnects all conductors of the circuit. [404.2(B)]

    E4001.9 Switch connections.

    Three- and four-way switches shall be wired so that all switching occurs only in the ungrounded circuit conductor. Color coding of switch connection conductors shall comply with Section E3407.3. Where in metal raceways or metal-jacketed cables, wiring between switches and outlets shall be in accordance with Section E3406.7. [404.2(A)]

    Exception: Switch loops do not require a grounded conductor. [404.2(A) Exception]

    E4001.10 Box mounted.

    Flush-type snap switches mounted in boxes that are recessed from the finished wall surfaces as covered in Section E3906.5 shall be installed so that the extension plaster ears are seated against the surface of the wall. Flush-type snap switches mounted in boxes that are flush with the finished wall surface or project therefrom shall be installed so that the mounting yoke or strap of the switch is seated against the box. Screws used for the purpose of attaching a snap switch to a box shall be of the type provided with a listed snap switch, or shall be machine screws having 32 threads per inch or part of listed assemblies or systems, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. [404.10(B)]

    E4001.11 Snap switch faceplates.

    Faceplates provided for snap switches mounted in boxes and other enclosures shall be installed so as to completely cover the opening and, where the switch is flush mounted, seat against the finished surface. [404.9(A)]

    E4001.11.1 Faceplate grounding.

    Snap switches, including dimmer and similar control switches, shall be connected to an equipment grounding conductor and shall provide a means to connect metal faceplates to the equipment grounding conductor, whether or not a metal face-plate is installed. Snap switches shall be considered to be part of an effective ground-fault current path if either of the following conditions is met:

    1. 1.The switch is mounted with metal screws to a metal box or metal cover that is connected to an equipment grounding conductor or to a nonmetallic box with integral means for connecting to an equipment grounding conductor.

    2. 2.An equipment grounding conductor or equipment bonding jumper is connected to an equipment grounding termination of the snap switch. [404.9(B)]


    1. 1.Where a means to connect to an equipment grounding conductor does not exist within the snap-switch enclosure or where the wiring method does not include or provide an equipment grounding conductor, a snap switch without a grounding connection to an equipment grounding conductor shall be permitted for replacement purposes only. A snap switch wired under the provisions of this exception and located within 8 feet (2438 mm) vertically or 5 feet (1524 mm) horizontally of ground or exposed grounded metal objects, shall be provided with a faceplate of nonconducting noncombustible material with nonmetallic attachment screws, except where the switch-mounting strap or yoke is non-metallic or the circuit is protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter. [404.9(B) Exception No.1]

    2. 2.Listed kits or listed assemblies shall not be required to be connected to an equipment grounding conductor if all of the following conditions apply:

      1. 2.1.The device is provided with a nonmetallic faceplate that cannot be installed on any other type of device.

      2. 2.2.The device does not have mounting means to accept other configurations of faceplates.

      3. 2.3.The device is equipped with a nonmetallic yoke.

      4. 2.4.All parts of the device that are accessible after installation of the faceplate are manufactured of nonmetallic materials. [404.9(B) Exception No. 2]

    3. 3.Connection to an equipment grounding conductor shall not be required for snap switches that have an integral nonmetallic enclosure complying with Section E3905.1.3. [404.9(B) Exception No. 3]

    E4001.12 Dimmer switches.

    General-use dimmer switches shall be used only to control permanently installed incandescent luminaires (lighting fixtures) except where listed for the control of other loads and installed accordingly. [404.14(E)]

    E4001.13 Multipole snap switches.

    A multipole, general-use snap switch shall not be fed from more than a single circuit unless it is listed and marked as a two-circuit or three-circuit switch. [404.8(C)]

    E4001.14 Cord-and-plug-connected loads.

    Where snap switches are used to control cord-and-plug-connected equipment on a general-purpose branch circuit, each snap switch controlling receptacle outlets or cord connectors that are supplied by permanently connected cord pendants shall be rated at not less than the rating of the maximum permitted ampere rating or setting of the overcurrent device protecting the receptacles or cord connectors, as provided in Sections E4002.1.1 and E4002.1.2. [404.14(F)]

    E4001.15 Switches controlling lighting loads.

    The grounded circuit conductor for the controlled lighting circuit shall be provided at the location where switches control lighting loads that are supplied by a grounded general-purpose branch circuit for other than the following:

    1. 1.Where conductors enter the box enclosing the switch through a raceway, provided that the raceway is large enough for all contained conductors, including a grounded conductor.

    2. 2.Where the box enclosing the switch is accessible for the installation of an additional or replacement cable without removing finish materials.

    3. 3.Where snap switches with integral enclosures comply with E3905.1.3.

    4. 4.Where the switch does not serve a habitable room or bathroom.

    5. 5.Where multiple switch locations control the same lighting load such that the entire floor area of the room or space is visible from the single or combined switch locations.

    6. 6.Where lighting in the area is controlled by automatic means.

    7. 7.Where the switch controls a receptacle load. [404.2(C)]