As the bathroom has evolved to become much more than just a functional place, but rather a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life, it may come as no surprise that it’s more of an interior design focus than ever before. When it comes to creating the perfect bathroom, however, it’s important to put safety first – after all, we all know that electrics and water do not mix and some work may even need to be notifiable. Here, Darren Staniforth, technical expert at leading electrical regulatory bodies, NICEIC and ELECSA, tells of the do’s and don’ts to ensure your bathroom is kept as safe as it is stylish.
o Do your research. The bathroom is considered a high risk location when it comes to electrics. Due to the close proximity of the bath and shower any work that requires an additional circuit or alteration to an existing circuit may require notification to your local building control department. If in doubt call in a professional NICEIC or ELECSA contractor who will be able to self-certify your work and notify on your behalf.
o Spend time considering your lighting options. While bright white light is best for getting ready in the morning, a softer setting is more suited when having a soak in the bath. As such, recessed spotlights on a dimmer switch are a good option as you can adjust the brightness to the task in hand.
o Keep wall lights out of reach of water or enclosed to keep water out. If spotlights are being installed above a shower or bath (what is called a special zone) then they must be enclosed and it is also recommended that they are fitted properly with a fire hood or be flame safe for extra protection.
o Consider underfloor heating – it is the safest way of heating the bathroom. But, if you do have an electric heater make sure you keep it well out of high risk zones.
Do it yourself. Electrical work in the bathroom should rarely be attempted by DIYers – not only do you run the risk of contravening building regulations but you could be putting yourself and your family in grave danger. With 61% of British men* willing to ‘have a go’ at DIY with no prior, home electrics is one area where homeowners should always call in a registered electrician who will be able to ensure the work is safe and complies with building regulations.
Locate sockets near to high risk areas. Electrical sockets are permitted in bathrooms or shower rooms as long as they are located more than 3m from the edge of the bath or shower. Specially designed shaver units are an exception to this rule and can be located slightly nearer, but still no closer than 600mm from the bath or shower
o Overlook the importance of a good extractor fan. If you don’t already have one in your bathroom, get a qualified electrician to fit one – it will help reduce the damage caused by steam and moisture to help prevent mould and mildew – and can pay dividends in damage prevention in the long run.
Choose just any electrician. Only by choosing a registered, such as those registered with NICEIC or ELECSA, can you ensure that the work done is safe, up to scratch and will comply with all regulations – offering you the ultimate peace of mind.
For further information please visit www.niceic.co.ukor www.elecsa.co.uk