DIY Doctor

Bathroom light switch

Postby TomA » Wed May 28, 2008 9:56 am

The light and switch in my bathroom does not conform to regulations being a standard switch and pendant light. I am replacing the light with a sealed unit and intended to replace the light switch with a pull cord or switch other side of the wall however a friend has just advised me that there are now switches available that look like a standard switch but are water resistant like an exterior light switch.

Does anyone know anything about these and where I can get one??
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Postby ericmark » Wed May 28, 2008 12:39 pm

Yes there are water proof switches. But I am not sure if it would comply. I will answer using 17th Edition BS7671:2008 if using 16th Edition BS7671:2001 the answers will be different.
1) The areas of the bathroom are split into 3 Zones 0 to 2 plus a 3 meter exclusion zone for sockets. Before an answer can be given you need to know which zone the switch and lamp will be in. 0.6 meters horizontal or 2.25 meters high brings us outside the zones.
2) Inside the zones only SELV (separated extra low voltage i.e. 12 volt) is normally allowed but if the manufacture says they can be used in the zones there is an exception for luminairs (posh word for lights) plus a list of items like electric showers. This does not include the switch.
Permanent fixed partitions can alter the zones and I expect new showers will soon come on the market with 2.25 meter partitions instead of the 1.8 meter ones which have been used. All items in a room containing a bath or shower need earth leakage protection including the lights.
• To switch the extra low voltage side of lights would mean high amps i.e. 60 watt would be 5 amp and with volt drop considerations as well not really an option.
As far as I can see outside zone 2 you are allowed normal switches. Normally either the switch is on the wall just outside the bathroom or it is a pull switch.
On the old regulations there was a 4th Zone called zone 3 you required more earth bonding and there were special rules for showers in bedrooms. I don’t have a copy to hand and it becomes obsolete on the 1st July.

All best Eric

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