I realized my plan for an electrified chandelier over the tub was not going to happen, I had not even thought about the code, so I just thought it was a nice article to let you know about to keep you all protected too!
Electricity and Bathroom Chandeliers
This is why very special, sealed light fixtures are used in pools and spas.
It is why special shower rated recessed cans are used over tubs and showers.
We all learned, in grade school, that electricity and water are a potentially deadly combination. And yet, we still see pictures like this on design blogs, and in magazines.
Many of these images are absolutely stunning, and are the work of very gifted stylists. There is a big difference, however, in a space that has been styled to look pretty in a picture, and a space designed for living.
It is highly likely that the chandeliers in the spaces shown above were lowered for the photo shoots, and raised or removed afterward. At least, that’s what I would prefer to believe…
The National Electric Code, in the United States, reads:
410.4(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires (fixtures), hanging luminaires (fixtures), lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the zone directly over the tub or shower stall.
Baths and showers are considered wet locations, and there is risk of steam from your bath condensing on the fixture, creating a short that could make the entire fixture “hot”. Additionally, just the tiniest little splash of water could result in a hot bulb shattering, and sprinkling the tub with tiny shards of broken glass!
Ok, ok, YOU of course won’t EVER think of doing that, but what about your house guests? Another point to think of: Working day-to-day in a lighting showroom and seeing first-hand what a mess it is when a light bulb breaks, I for sure don’t want to share my bath water with those little sharp pieces! A single drop of water hitting a lit bulb can easily cause a light to burst.
Chances are, if you live in a jurisdiction that has adopted a building code, NEC410.4(D), or something similar, is being enforced.
your tub, you may want to verify their professional
credentials, as well as check into your local codes.
It is remotely possible that your local building codes (or lack of) will permit the installation, but most qualified design professionals will still advise against it for safety and liability issues.
If you really want to “romance the bathtub”, how about this lovely mosquito net — or some candles?
Of course, you can use a chandelier in the bathroom, just remember to keep at least eight feet between the top of the tub and the bottom of the hanging fixture or stay at least three feet away from the “footprint” of the tub, if you want it to pass the electrical inspection.
= Good Design
This is just a little food for thought, as you peruse books, magazines, and blogs that may feature these types of installations.
Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.