We have recently had out bathroom re-decorated, while doing this I wanted to replace the old pull cord light switch for something newer. Instinct first led me to believe that you are not supposed to have a standard push button light switch in the bathroom, and that they must either be a pull cord switch or located outside the bathroom. After a little research into the regulations I actually found that this is not necessarily the case and that you can have a ‘standard’ light switch as long as it us outside of ‘zone 2’. Following a little more research I discovered that these zones relate to the wet areas, where ‘zone 1’ are walls directly above the bath, sink or shower and ‘zone 2’ are then boundary areas 600mm either side of this. A good diagram of the zones can be found here. So, from what I understand, the (UK) regulations do actually permit a wall mounted light switch as long as it is 600mm away from the bath, sink or shower (however I would not argue with anyone who claims it is still better practice to install a pull cord).
So I have ascertained I could have a wall light switch and picked a suitable position over 600mm away from a zone 2, but I still wanted to add another level of protection so purchased a ‘I LumoS Luxury White Crystal Glass Panel Touch Controlled LED Light’ from Hartington Heath.
The I LumoS switches are IP65 rated, which means they are waterproof to a certain level. IPXX score is an international rating system classifying the level of water protection for electrical or mechanical devices, see Wikipedia IP for more information. IP65 means it has been rated at a level which means the I LumoS switches are able to withstands jets of water – sounds good to me!
As well as being waterproof the I LumoS light switches are also stylish. With a clear ‘crystal’ glass front plate with only a small circle visible in the middle which glows light blue when the light is on, it then also glows a slightly duller blue when the light is off which is very useful when trying to find the light switch is the dark. The switch is surprisingly responsive to touch and even works when your hands are wet and responds fine to the little fingers of my children.
The switch is made up of 2 parts; the glass front plate and the rear unit with the electrical components and connection terminals. The front plate has no electrical components on it which is what gives it its waterproof rating.
The switch is wired up in pretty much exactly the same way as any normal light switch and does not requite a neutral to power its blue LED. One point to note is that it does require a fairly deep back box as the rear unit does protrude back further than a standard light switch. As one last level of protection I also put a small bead of silicone around the light switch completely sealing it from any water intrusion.
I also wanted to install an extractor fan in my bathroom and unlike some other touch sensitive light switches the I LumoS light switch is able to cope with switching the fan also permitting me to wire my lights and fan to the same switch so when I turn the lights on the extractor fan turns on also.
DISCLAIMER: The post above is based on my own interpretation of the UK regulations. Please do not take the above information about the location of bathroom switches as gospel truth, the rules may change or may be different in other countries – always consult your electrician.