If you are planning a DIY bathroom renovation, there are certain precautions you should observe concerning the electrical wiring. Water and electricity makes a dangerous mix, so most of your concerns should be geared towards preventing your lights, heaters and other electrical appliances from getting wet. For example, you should:
Install GFCIs in All Outlets
All outlets in your bathroom should be connected to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This is not only a precaution, but also a National Electric Code (NEC) requirement, according to the Electrical Construction & Maintenance magazine. The installation of GFCIs minimizes chances of electrocution. They do this by cutting electrical supply to the protected outlets in case the bathroom wiring and water do mix.
Use Moisture-Splash Switches
Although you know that you should not operate electrical switches with wet hands, you have probably done it and will continue to do it. For example, you can forget to wipe your hands dry before switching off the lights. Even if you are very careful, it is possible that your children or other members of your house may forget. For this reason, you should use only moisture-slash proof switches in the bathroom. These switches are designed not to allow water on their surfaces to come into contact with the wires and contacts inside.
Install Exhaust Fans
It is not just the bath water that you should worry about; bathrooms tend to accumulate high levels of humidity and moisture. These too can cause problems with your electrical wiring. The countermeasure here is to install exhaust ceiling fans and prevent accumulation of steam or moisture.
Position the Receptacles Properly
You shouldn't just position the electrical outlets anywhere you please. Some of the guidelines to follow include installing a receptacle:
- Within three feet of the outside of each basin (bath, lavatory, sink or any bowl of water)
- On a wall or partition adjacent to the applicable basin
- Behind or beside, but neither across or over a sink
Each of these guidelines serves specific purposes. For example, installing a receptacle over a sink can easily lead to the code hanging into the sink and causing electrocution.
Distribute the Circuits Properly
Lastly, you should distribute the different circuits in your bathroom and keep them isolated. For example, the light circuits should be different from the fan circuits. The objective here is to ensure that a fault in one circuit does not interfere with the operation of another circuit. That way, your light stays on even if the fan is not working, and you get enough light to rectify the fault.
All these are measures to keep bathroom users safe. If you can't handle them all, then you are not cut out for bathroom electrical wiring. In that case, you should let a professional home electrician contractor handle the work.