We all know that electricity and water does not mix, but on the other hand it is hard to imagine a bathroom without the essential bathroom accessories such as a shaver point, electric light, shower and perhaps even modern gadgets like a television or MP3 player. It is possible to enjoy all these electrical mod cons in the bathroom, but there are some strict rules concerning how electrical’s are installed and used in domestic bathrooms.
Electrical Products and Bathroom Safety that you Need to Know About
The law has recently changed regarding electrical work in “high risk” areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. In bathrooms, unqualified amateurs, or even professional electricians without the correct Part P accreditation, are not allowed to do any work at all. This means that even a relatively simple task such as changing over an existing light switch must be done by a professional. The risk of electrocution from the combination of water and power means that it is simply too dangerous to even think of undertaking this sort of work yourself, so do not be tempted to cut corners and try to install that new electric shower by yourself.
One of the ways that many householders try to cut the cost of installing electrical products in the bathroom is to source the products themselves and employ an electrician for the fitting only. This can be a very cost effective way of getting items as individuals can take advantage of special offers, sales and promotions which are not available through trade suppliers. However, not all items can be used in all areas of the bathroom, and the complex process of deciding what can be used where is called zoning. The bathroom is split into three different zones, with zone 0 being inside the bath or shower, zone 1 above and around the bath to a height of 2.25 metres and zone 2 extending another 0.6 metres beyond zone 1. Different sorts of products are required for each of the three separate zones. Products such as lights which are sold for use in bathrooms have IP ratings on them, and this is a measure of how effectively the product stops water getting in. Products designed for use in zone 1 have to come up to a higher standard than for zone 2, and if you are intending installing lights in the bath or at the base of the shower tray, these have to have the highest standards of all. This is all extremely complex for the lay person to understand, and so it is always best to check with your electrician before buying any items designed for use in your bathroom.
Gadgets and gizmos
Gone are the days when all you had to entertain yourself during a long soak in the bath was a soggy paperback book or a battery operated radio. Nowadays more and more of us are installing the latest multimedia gadgets in our bathrooms, and as these sorts of gizmos become more commonplace, the price is likely to come down too. Small televisions about the size of a tablet computer, which are waterproof and designed especially for bathroom use can be bought for as little as £300, although as discussed above you will need to get a Part P qualified electrician to fit it for you. Radios are even cheaper to install, and most work by having a small electronic base unit at eye level which you can use to change the channel or volume, and speakers mounted on the ceiling so the music can be heard around the room. Given that the price of these items is coming down all of the time, it is a touch of luxury at an affordable price.
Hairdryers, straighteners etc
Many of us like to use products such as hairdryers and straighteners in the bathroom, and as most modern bathrooms do not have sockets, it can be tempting to plug the items in outside and use an extension cable to bring them into the bathroom. Extension cables are not made to the standard required for bathroom use, and using them in a bathroom could cause an electrical fire or even accidental electrocution. Never use these sorts of appliances in your bathroom, keep them in the bedroom or other parts of the house well away from the dangers of water.
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