Water carries electricity efficiently. But, if the two mix, the result can be deadly. So, the bathroom is possibly the most dangerous room in the house when it comes to electrical safety. The consequences of an electric shock are far more severe in a bathroom or shower room as wet skin reduces the body’s resistance.
There are special requirements for electrical installations in bathrooms as most electrical work must comply with Part P of the Building Regulations.
We strongly recommend that you use an electrican registered with one of the government-approved schemes to carry out any electrical installation work that you need. Find out more by visiting our Find an Electrician pages.
Our advice will help you to stay safe.
Sockets are not allowed in bathrooms or shower rooms (apart from shaver-supply units) unless they can be fitted at least three metres from the bath or shower.
Electrical shaver points must be a safe distance (in meters) from the bath or shower to avoid splashes
Enclosed ceiling lights are preferable to the ones that hang down.
All light fittings, that are not enclosed, should be out of reach of someone using, or still wet from using, the bath or shower.
Everyday light switches are a danger because of dampness and wet hands. A ceiling-mounted pull-cord switch is the safest option.
Heaters and towel rails
Central heating is the safest way to keep a bathroom warm. But if you do have an electric heater, it must be fixed at a safe distance from the bath or shower.
Electric and gas water heaters in a bathroom must be fixed and permanently wired, unless they are powered by a socket fitted three metres from a bath or shower.
A pull-cord or switch outside the bathroom is the ideal way to control electric heaters.
An electric shower must be supplied on its own circuit directly from your fusebox.
Portable electrical appliances
Never bring mains-powered portable appliances such as hairdryers, heaters or radios into a bathroom. You could be severely injured or killed.