Can You Install a Dimmer Switch in the Bathroom

Dimmer switches are a popular choice for certain areas in the house. They add ambiance to a room and reduce energy costs. However, they’re commonly seen in bedrooms only. But can you also install a dimmer switch in the bathroom? Yes, absolutely!

Install a Dimmer Switch in the Bathroom

The short answer is yes; you can install a dimmer switch in the bathroom. If you take the right precautions before installation, it’s safe and relatively easy. You might be wondering: why would anyone use a dimmer switch in the bathroom?

Bright lights in your bathroom are great for things like doing your make-up and shaving. However, if you’re getting up with groggy eyes in the middle of the night when nature calls, bright lights can be a pain.

This is one of the reasons why someone would consider putting in a dimmer switch in the bathroom. Another consideration is that it makes the area feel more relaxing.

What You Need to Know Before Installing a Dimmer Switch in the Bathroom

Even though installing dimmer lights in the bathroom is safe, there are still some things you have to keep in mind before doing so.

Understand How a Dimmer Switch Works

People assume that a dimmer switch has complicated wiring, and that’s one of the reasons why people rethink putting a dimmer switch in the bathroom. Putting complicated electrical wiring in the bathroom seems scary because of the possible risks if it gets wet.

However, a dimmer switch actually works similarly to your regular on-and-off switch. In fact, there’s virtually no difference between them in terms of wiring.

Know Your Wet and Damp Zones

Another thing people worry about is that a dimmer switch exposed to wet or damp areas might cause electrical damage, thus increasing the risk of electrocution.

The key is to know the wet and damp zones in your bathroom. No switch, whether regular or dimmer, should be near these wet and damp zones.

A common example of a wet zone is your bathtub. The area right above and surrounding your bathtub is a possible damp zone.

Check Electrical Codes

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) enforces a National Electrical Code (NEC) that everyone within all 50 states follows. These electrical codes protect both people and their properties from electrical hazards.

Before you install a dimmer switch in your bathroom, make sure you abide by these codes. For example, according to the NFPA’s National Electrical Code, you can’t place any type of switch within 2 feet of a damp zone.

Ensure Dimmer Switch Compatibility

Another thing you should ensure before installing a dimmer switch is its compatibility with the current lighting setup of your bathroom.

Note that these dimmer switches are relatively new, which is why they only work on CFLs, LEDs, and other bulbs that support dimming. Using a dimmer switch on non-dimmable light bulbs is a safety hazard.

Types of Dimmer Switches You Can Install in the Bathroom

There are several dimmer switch options currently in the market. The best dimmer switch type depends on user preference, but some are smarter and safer choices than others.

Regular Dimmer Switch or Single-Pole Dimmer

A regular dimmer switch looks like your regular switch, except that instead of an on-and-off toggle, you’ll see a knob or a slider.

This is a fairly common choice for a dimmer switch because of its wide range of compatibility as well as its close similarity to the appearance of a regular light switch.

Pull Cord Dimmer Switch

The pull cord dimmer, as the name suggests, uses a cord or a type of string to control the light’s intensity.

Ultimately, you get the final say on which type of dimmer switch you want to use in your bathroom. However, the pull cord dimmer switch is considered to be the safer choice.

This is mainly because a regular dimmer switch can have small gaps in the slider or knob. There’s a chance that water splashes into those gaps and causes electrical damage.

The pull cord dimmer doesn’t have that much of a gap since the cord extends away from the base of the switch.

Plug-in Dimmers

A plug-in dimmer has a separate controller for the lights. It’s not technically the switch itself but more of an extension of the switch.

You plug one end of the dimmer into a socket and then the other end into a lighting fixture. You can choose to use these for your bathroom, but there are more risks if you do. It’s more commonly used in lamps.

There are other types available such as multi-location dimmers and three-way or four-way dimmers. We didn’t include them here because these usually involve controlling lights in other areas other than the bathroom.

These dimmer switches fit more in other areas of the house, such as the living room.