Having a light switch inside the bathroom is great. Nobody can turn off the light intentionally or unintentionally & causing you a panic attack or accidental slip. However, if you don’t know how far a light switch should be from the shower, this article is for you. Here’s a quick answer for you first:
The light switch should be at least 3 feet to 5 feet away from the shower. If you don’t have that much space in your bathroom, consider getting GFCI protection along with a damp location-rated switch. The safest option will be to use the light switch outside the bathroom.
As you already know the quick answer, it’s time to dive into the detailed part. I’ll be discussing how you can implement the light switch inside the shower. Without further ado, let’s get started:
How Far Should A Light Switch Be From A Shower: According To Expert
You’re responsible for your safety & misplacing a light switch can put you at great risk. Though the following instructions are not approved by the laws, they are practiced repeatedly by the experts. Here are they:
Table of Contents
- 1. Distance Between Shower & Light Switch
- 2. Height From The Bottom
- Why Obeying NEC is Important Almost Every Time?
- NEC Vs Local Code: Which Code Should You Stick To?
- 1. Use Remote Controlled Light [Safest & Expensive Option]
- 2. Use Damp Location Rated Switch
- 3. Use GFCI Protection – Budget-Friendly Option
- 4. Use GFCI, Water Damp Rated Switch & Enclosure
1. Distance Between Shower & Light Switch
The more distance between the switch & shower/bathtub, the better. However, you should maintain at least a 3ft to 5ft horizontal distance. If you can make that even bigger gap, that’s great!
Q: What If My Bathroom Is Small & Doesn’t Have That Much Space?
If your bathroom doesn’t offer you that much space & you still want to keep the light switch inside, use a Waterproof Enclosure. By using the enclosure, you’re both abiding by the NEC laws & keeping yourself safe.
2. Height From The Bottom
You don’t have to worry about the height that much. It depends on your & your family members’ height along with their condition. If you have disabled family members, consider them & don’t install them above 36 inches.
Otherwise, you can install your light switch from 36 inches to 48 inches without any trouble. That was all about the distance & height you should look after while placing your light switch.
What Does NEC Say About Placing Light Switch Inside A Shower?
This might sound unbelievable, but it’s true – there are rules & regulations regarding placing light switches for the bathroom/washroom. Sorry for breaking your heart, but the NEC (National Electrical Code) doesn’t allow residents to install light switches inside the washroom/bathroom.
Pro Tips: There is a catch. You can legally place the light switch inside a shower if you use a cabinet or waterproof enclosure. It’s the reason house owners built cabinets for their power outlets & light switches.
Why Obeying NEC is Important Almost Every Time?
You don’t want to be fined for placing light switches inside your bathroom, right? That’s why obeying NEC is important almost every time. However, you can slightly deny NEC if you have local codes for your area.
NEC Vs Local Code: Which Code Should You Stick To?
National Electrical Code (NEC) is meant to be obeyed nationwide. However, if your contractor suggests local codes – stick with them.
Your local government knows its housing system much better & that’s why applying local codes instead of NEC will be a safer option.
How To Use Light Switch Inside/outside Shower Safely: 4 Actionable Methods:
If you’re facing issues installing light switches, here are five actionable methods you can apply now:
1. Use Remote Controlled Light [Safest & Expensive Option]
You already know NEC is against placing light switches inside bathrooms. However, you can still have complete control over your lights in the bathroom. How? By using remote-controlled lights.
Remote control light gives you full control over your light & nobody can turn them off but you. The only downside of a remote control light is the price. Each of the lights may cost you up to $20 to $25. I prefer using BIGMONAT Wireless Shower Light (Amazon).
2. Use Damp Location Rated Switch
If you can’t afford to have a remote control lighting system, you can use a damp location-rated switch instead. Though this won’t be a very safe option, something is better than nothing.
Make sure the switches you’re getting are damp location rated, meaning they can be in wet places like – the bathroom & washroom. Don’t forget to get your contractor’s permission before installing a damp location-rated switch inside the bathroom.
3. Use GFCI Protection – Budget-Friendly Option
The best possible solution to your switch installation problem will be using GFCI protection. GFCI stands for Ground Floor Circuit Interrupter – basically, an inexpensive device installed into your power system to bypass unexpected electrical shock.
4. Use GFCI, Water Damp Rated Switch & Enclosure
The ultimate solution for keeping the light switch inside the washroom will be using GFCI protection & damp rated switch in a waterproof enclosure. No law is going to interrupt you if you apply this method of keeping the light switch inside the bathroom.
Things To Consider Before Placing A Light Switch For Shower
Firstly, check if your local government has any local codes for electrical connection. If so, don’t hesitate to implement those codes into your light switch.
Secondly, always prioritize safety over everything. Make sure to get an expert or your house contractor helps if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Why Is NEC Against Placing Light Switches Inside the Bathroom?
Electricity can easily travel through water & which can cause unexpected electrical shock for anyone. That’s why it’s a wise decision to keep away electrical switches & ports out of the water’s reach. That’s why NEC is against placing light switches inside the bathroom
How Can I Place a Light Switch Inside My Washroom Legally?
You can bypass the NEC law of placing light switches inside the washroom by using a cabinet or waterproof enclosure. The NEC law allows you to use a light switch inside the washroom with a waterproof enclosure or cabinet. That’s how you can place
How Much Does A Waterproof Enclosure Cost?
Depending on the enclosure quality, you can buy them paying around $50. However, if you’re planning for a custom cabinet for outlets – that’s going to cost you more & you’ll have to hire a carpenter for that job.
I hope this article was helpful enough to satisfy your query regarding how much distance is needed between the light switch and the shower. If you’re still confused about whether you should place your light switch inside the shower, get your contractor’s help – he’ll give you the best advice.
I am Mark Braeden, a professional electrician based in California. With over a decade of experience in the electrical industry, I have launched this website with the aim of sharing my expertise and providing solutions to common lighting issues that can cause frustration for homeowners.
Whether you need help selecting the right bulb for your living room lamp or require guidance in installing LED strip lights, I am here to assist you.
But it’s not just about fixing problems. I’m also here to inspire you with all sorts of creative lighting ideas that can transform your home.