It is quite normal to have a light switch in the bathroom.
But how safe is the position of that switch right there in the bathroom?
It is essential always to ensure that you follow the NEC regulations and the local electric codes.
Your bathroom is an area of great interest when it comes to electrical wiring and installation because it frequently gets wet.
So, Can You Have A Light Switch Near The Bathtub?
You won’t feel safe with a light switch close to the bathtub. A well-positioned switch should be 5 feet away from the bathtub or shower. However, due to the space limitation, you will find bathrooms with a light switch just 2 feet from the bathtub. In some cases, space may not be a big issue, but the homeowner wants to have comfort in the bathroom by quickly switching the switch even when inside the bathtub. However, if you place a light switch too close to the bathtub, you must use GFCI protectors.
Four Bathroom Light Switch Positioning Tips
Typically all building codes won’t dictate the exact positioning for a light switch. However, contractors find a more suitable location for a light switch for safety reasons. Their decision is usually based on various factors.
Here are a few tips for positioning a light switch within the bathroom.
When choosing light, the goal is to make the switch easily accessible from different points but mostly accessible when entering the bathroom. 48 inches from the ground to the bottom of the switch plate can be considered the ideal height.
However, some homeowners and contractors place the switch at 32-36 inches high, which is not bad.
For the fear of the unknown, some local codes dictate that light switches be located so that disabled people can easily access them.
All this is aimed at making the switch more accessible to everyone in the home.
2. Consider Indoor Light Switches
You are permitted to have light switches both inside and outside the bathroom. However, indoor switches are preferred to outdoor switches.
A person padding through the hallway can intentionally or unintentionally turn the switch on or off when outside the bathroom.
You would feel angered if you were taking a shower and someone accidentally turns off the light.
You might even slide and fall to the slippery bathroom floor when getting out to turn on the bathroom lights before you get back to the shower.
3. The Distance From The Door Frame
How far a switch is from the door frame also determines the ease of getting it.
A distance of about 8 inches is enough for spacing between the switch and the door frame. Whether you are placing the switch inside or outside the bathroom, always ensure you maintain the distance.
This spacing is outlined in the Fair Housing Act, which regulates construction contractors in the USA. Having the light switch installed near the door makes it easy to turn the lights on when entering a room.
4. Buy The Right Switch
There are light switches that are specially designed for wet rooms. GFCI protection alone may be inadequate, especially when your bathroom is frequently used.
You can also choose to buy lights with cords. However, you have to hold these codes in place or use enclosing light fixtures. This will help you avoid touching the lights with wet hands.
Six Safety Tips To Ensure Your Bathtub And Light Switch Are Safe
Having light switches near the bathtub area is not a good idea. This is per the NEC regulations, which discourage the positioning of electric appliances near wet areas.
For the tub timer switch, place it not so close to the tub.
Even though the timer switch is not the same as the light switch, it is important to place it at least 5 feet from the bathtub. Keeping them away simply aims to prevent the risks of electrocution.
You likely don’t want to splash water on the switch when in the bathtub. It is clear that water and electricity are great enemies and when you accidentally touch a leaking electrical switch with wet hands, you risk electrocution.
In cases where you want to have the switch so close, then it is better you dry your hands before touching it. You should also have the switches protected to avoid water splashes from getting to the switch.
Here are a few safety tips if you find it necessary to put the light switch close to the bathtub.
1. Use A Remote Controlled Light Switch
Invest in a remote-controlled light switch.
This is very effective, especially if the switch is outside the bathroom.
Place the remote near the bathtub or on a wall near the wall. You should be able to get the remote by stretching your arm when in the bathtub.
2. Keep The Switch In An Enclosure
Have weatherproof enclosures to keep switches near the wet bathtub or shower region.
You can also have cabinets to protect outlets and switches.
This method keeps the switch inside the bathroom protected from water splashes and moisture.
3. Use The Switches Designed For Wet Regions
Buy the switches that are rated for wet locations. They are designed to withstand water and moisture for more extended periods.
4. Have A Barrier Between The Shower And The Switch
A barrier that blocks water from getting to the switch can help you safely use a switch near the bathtub.
5. Use A Pull Cord
Have light fixtures with pull cords. With such bulbs, you can easily use the light bulb even when inside the bathtub.
6. Have A Hand Towel Nearby
You will use this hand towel to dry your hands before you hi v a switch. In some way, you will reduce the risk of electrocution.
Having lights in the bathroom is necessary, just like in other rooms.
However, ensuring you have adhered to electricity safety tips when installing a light switch in the bathroom is important.
Always be mindful of the distance from the switch to the bathtub and shower area to avoid the risks of electrocution or electric shock.