Updated on 7th December, 2022 by Martin Astley
The bathroom may well be one of the most dangerous places in the house. The overwhelming majority of electrical home emergencies originate in kitchens and bathrooms, and as water is a very good electrical conductor and people frequently have wet hands or wet skin when they are in the bathroom, electrocutions are typically far more serious in this room than in other parts of the house.
Because of these electrical safety issues, there are strict regulations surrounding bathroom electrics, and a number of additional safe use guidelines for electricity in bathrooms. Ensure when you are purchasing items such as electric towel rails you look for safe bathroom radiators.
Bathroom light switches must be appropriate for the purposes of the room. This effectively means that switches within bathrooms are banned – pull-cords inside the bathroom or a switch just outside the bathroom are acceptable, however. A Part P electrician should be able to advise you about the right solution for your bathroom.
Although there are no laws surrounding the light fittings that can be used in bathrooms, enclosed units are safer than pendant lights that dangle down from the ceiling. If you do not have an enclosed unit, ensure that the light fitting cannot be reached by anyone coming out of the shower or bath.
Spotlights fitted above a bath or shower should be fitted with a fire hood and enclosed to prevent the spread of fire.
Only specially-designed, bathroom-safe plug sockets can usually fitted in the UK’s bathrooms – for example shaver outlets – and these must be at least 600mm from showers and baths.
Other sockets should be located at a safe distance from baths and showers – three metres is the mandatory minimum distance, and is too great a distance to allow these sockets to be fitted in the majority of British bathrooms. Socket covers can prevent water from entering electric sockets.
Hairdryers, electric radiators and other mains-powered electronics should not be used in bathrooms and should be kept at a safe distance from water sources.
Condensation can seep into the appliance and make the appliance cover live, potentially leading to serious electric shocks. Never bring electric items into the bathroom using an extension lead.
If you have an electric shower, such as a steam shower, the power supply to the shower must be on its own circuit, leading directly from the fusebox. They should be protected by an RCD.
An extractor fan should also be fitted in the bathroom to remove condensation created when showering or bathing.
Portable electric heaters are far more dangerous than radiators connected to your boiler. All electric heating in bathrooms must be fixed and immovable, and located at least 600mm from sources of water, unless connected to a plug socket that is at least three metres away from any sources of water. Outside switches or pull cords are the safest way to operate electric heaters in bathrooms.
Underfloor heating is a popular heating choice for modern bathrooms. These should be laid on sub-floors containing at least 20mm of plywood or chipboard, with a screed laid over the top of the heating elements. Put a thermostat on the wall, connect this to a heat-sensing probe on the floor, and position the thermostat somewhere well away from water. Protect the circuit with a RCD.
Wiring in bathrooms must be checked for safety by Part P-accredited electricians. Exposed or damaged wires should be repaired as soon as they are noticed.
Did you know we offer a number of specialised cover plans to help protect you and your family in an emergency? We have a number of plans that offer complete cover as well as one for household emergencies. Browse our website to find out more, call us on 0345 3192 247 or contact us through our website!
Having trouble with your electrics?
Don’t attempt to make any changes to your electricals if you are unsure or not confident. Some electrical work in the home requires compliance with Part P building control and needs to be done in accordance with BS7671 wiring regulations. Don’t forget – electricity is VERY dangerous and can kill you.
Instead, call 24|7 Home Rescue on 0345 3192 247 and we can help. Our technical teams will run through some very simple troubleshooting with you over the phone to see if your problem can be resolved easily and if not, they will book one of our qualified and highly knowledgeable Part P certified engineers to get you back up and running as soon as possible.
247 Home Rescue accepts no liability for any injuries or damages you sustain following the advice on this website. If in doubt, seek professional assistance.