Depending on the building regulations and your convenience, light switches can be outside or inside the bathroom. It is a place that always needs a good and secure lighting source to brighten up the place without any safety hazards.
Why Are Bathroom Light Switches on the Outside? Bathroom light switches are on the outside because it reduces the risk of electrocution, provide safety and protection, and are easy to reach. Some buildings do not allow to add electric switches outside, while others allow them inside the bathroom with precautions.
Having switchboards outside is like a traditional practice from the old time, as you can see this in the old homes of your grandparents.
Why are light switches on the outside of the bathroom?
Many interior designers and electricians recommend having them outside the bathroom to avoid any accidental situation for you and your family members.
Risk of electrocution
This place has a high moisture and humidity level because of the frequent water use in the shower, bathtub, and vanity areas.
Water and electricity are a deadly combination that can damage the bulbs, light fixtures, and other things connected to this circuit.
Moreover, it can harm you; even a big short circuit can cause death if you are in contact with the switchboard.
Water has many minerals and salts that are good conductors of electricity, and the wires in electric circuits are made of metal which is also an excellent conductor of electricity.
Water splashes or moisture can get into the switches, and the risk of electrocution increases if they are near the shower area and bathtub.
Severe electrocution can cause serious damage to you and your property if the condensation from your shower accumulates around the switchboards. In addition, there is a risk that you touch it accidentally without knowing about it.
Safety and protection
They are installed outside the bathroom for the safety and protection of the users. You can touch the switches with wet hands and a moist body after taking a shower or washing your hands.
This will increase the risk of getting an electric shock because water attracts electricity. The human body has a resistance of several mega ohms to electricity when it is dry.
Wet skin reduces the body’s resistance to 990-1000 ohms and allows electric energy to break down through your body.
It can reduce the chances of touching them with wet hands or body as you turn the light on or off.
Easy to reach
These switchboards are easy to reach for you, your children, and guests.
However, the guests or visitors can fumble around or find it difficult to search the switchboard in the dark.
You can hurt yourself when the wall or kick your toe with any table or furniture in this place while searching for the electric board.
No one will enter this place when you are inside because the button is on, which shows that someone is already inside.
It is more convenient to turn on the light and enter a bright and full-of-light room instead of fumbling around in a dark place.
The senior members in your house can easily enter the bathroom while the lights are on without putting themselves at any risk.
Standard building code
Many building codes restrict installing the light switches inside the bathroom or neat the bathtub and shower areas to avoid any accidental situation.
Standard building codes in the UK restrict the electricians from placing them inside and at a safe distance from the user, such as 2-3 feet away.
They mostly use long cords for switching the light on and off, keeping the wet hands and body away from dangerous spots.
Requirements in America are not restricted to the outside installation of light boards as they mostly use watertight boards covered with a waterproof shield to avoid any electrocution and at a safe distance from the bathtub and shower area.
In addition, they use AFCI-protected outlets that reduce the risk of sparking and are safe to install on the inside.
It is hygienic to have them outside because you might turn off the light of your toilet with germs on your hands when its switch is inside this place.
The person who enters after you can get the bacteria and germs from the switch if you touch it with dirty hands.
You can easily clean the walls, windows, and other things with wet clothes and cleaners without having the risk of water splashes and moisture in the electric boards.
You cannot clean the stains with wet sponges and sprays if the light switches are around the vanity and sink because this can cause moisture to enter the boards, and a short circuit can happen.
What are the disadvantages of having light switches outside the bathroom?
There are some disadvantages to having them outside the bathroom, as it seems inconvenient to some people. Someone can turn off the light without knowing that you are inside.
This can leave you in an annoying situation if you are doing your makeup or shaving and you have to go outside to turn it on again.
In addition, you can drop anything or hurt yourself while getting out in the dark to turn on the button.
It is inconvenient for you to go outside every time and turn on more than one light bulb or pendant when you need more brightness around your vanity to apply creams and makeup or bathtub area to have a warm and cozy environment.
There can be any problem with your switchboard if the light is flickering and you have to go outside to check the problem or to turn it off and on.
Also, it can annoy or irritate you to come out to turn on and off the fans and exhaust fans for ventilation and air circulation.
Things to consider while installing light switches in the bathroom
Depending on the building codes and interior design, you can add these electric switches at any suitable and safe place inside or outside the bathroom.
The most common place to install them is behind the door wall if you want them on the inside.
You can install it on the side opposite the door swing to avoid any damage to the board and wall.
However, you can consult any electrician and plumber because the plumbing system runs inside the walls, and installing it in the wrong location can be risky.
It is better to place the light switches at a safe height on the wall that is out of your kid’s reach because you cannot take any risk of electricity around your children.
Always follow the standard electricity codes for how many electric connections you can install on the single board outside or inside to avoid short circuits.
You can ask the electrician to install the switches of large chandeliers and light fixtures at a safe location, whether it is inside or outside.
It is better to have two switchboards if you have more light bulbs and fixtures there to divide the load on the single circuit.