Bathroom Electrical Safety – Best 10 Tips
Electrocutions in the bathroom are far too widespread to be ignored. Being one of the few places around the house where live electrical outlets and appliances are bound to come into contact with water, the bathroom can be a dangerous place. In this article we will cover the top 10 tisp for electrical safety in your bathroom. This advice can also be used for all areas of your home. Remember to think smart about electricity and always hire a licensed electrician for installations and repairs.
According to accident statistics from the ERAC (Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council), a total of 18 fatalities arose from 17 electrocution incidents in Australia between 2015 and 2016. Of these 17 incidents, 16 took place in private residences and resulted in a total of 17 deaths. To further illustrate the point, 12 of the fatalities recorded were non-electrical workers or members of the general public. Only 6 of the fatalities were licensed, electrical workers.
From this grim statistical viewpoint, it is infinitely clear that electrocutions are suffered by everyone regardless of their electrical expertise and their proximity to high voltage electrical outlets. Faulty wiring, an exposed overhead light, or even a misplaced appliance in the bathroom could all translate to injury and death from electrocution.
Even if the electrical installations in your bathroom are in total compliance with Australian Electrical Standards, it is still up to you, the occupant of the house, to ensure your personal safety and that of your loved ones from accidents. These ten tips will help guide you towards making your bathroom much safer and possibly save you from the lurking danger of electrocution.
1. Avoid bringing plugged-in electrical appliances into the bathroom
Even as battery-operated and/or rechargeable appliances are becoming increasingly available, some people still find themselves relying on electric appliances on a daily basis. The problem starts when these appliances are left in the bathroom while still plugged in. The most effective way to prevent electrocution from electric appliances is to keep them well away from the bathroom. If that is not an option, however, you can;
- Replace them with battery-operated or rechargeable appliances
- Use only GFCI-protected outlets
- Unplug all electrical appliances before leaving the bathroom
2. Ensure a reasonable outlet distance of not less than 3 meters
As much as installing sockets and power outlets in the bathroom increases the risk of an electrical mishap occurring, we need them to power various appliances. Ensure that they are all installed a safe distance from the shower, the bath, or the taps (at least 3 meters away) to keep them far enough from splashes of water. They should also be no less than 300mm above the floor.
3. Extension cords, bulbs, and wiring
It should go without saying that you should NEVER bring an extension cord into the bathroom. Also, any exposed or frayed wires should be concealed or repaired by a licensed electrician as soon as possible. As for bathroom lighting, naked light bulbs and uncovered light fixtures could mean electrical danger for anyone using the bathroom, especially if they hang low from the ceiling.
Always choose recessed lighting fixtures that that are less likely to be accidentally touched by wet hands or splashes of water. Enclosed lighting fixtures will also provide similar levels of safety from electrical mishaps.
4. Light Switches
For bathrooms, ceiling-mounted pull-cord switches are a lot safer than the conventional wall-mounted light switches. This is because you can easily get electrocuted if you turn on a wall-mounted switch with damp or wet hands, or if you’re standing in water.
5. Handle electrical appliances with dry hands
Perhaps the oldest rule in the book when it comes to handling electrical appliances is that you should ensure your hands are completely dry. Make this a habit in the bathroom when using appliances such as hairdryers, curling irons, and electric razors. Ideally, you should ensure that your whole body is reasonably dry since even a stray drop of water can cause an appliance to shock you.
6. Showerhead heaters
If you are using a showerhead heater, whether electric or gas-powered, make sure that it is permanently wired and installed by a licensed electrician. It should have no exposed wiring and should be wired straight to the circuit. Also in this case, you should choose a pull-cord switch over the standard wall switch for your heater.
7. Install GFCI-protected sockets
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are devices that are built into an electric circuit with the sole purpose of shutting off the electrical supply once they detect that the current is flowing outside its intended path. If a stray electric current comes into contact with water or human skin, the GFCI device automatically cuts off the power supply to the outlet.
If you have not already installed GFCI-protected sockets in your kitchen and bathroom, make it a point of doing so since they offer more protection in areas prone to water spillages and splashes.
8. Keep electrical appliances out of children’s reach
If you absolutely have to keep your electrical appliances in the bathroom, always ensure that they are unplugged and properly stored well away from the reach of children. This includes seemingly non-threatening appliances such as electric shavers, portable hair dryers, and even radios.
9. Opt for central heaters and ceiling fan heaters
If you need a heater in the bathroom, you should consider installing a central heater or a ceiling fan heater instead of using a much riskier portable heater. These should be permanently installed by a licensed electrician and should have no exposed wiring whatsoever.
10. Test your GFCI sockets at least once every month
Installing GFCI-protected sockets should not be the end of the job for you. Ensure that you have them tested (or test them yourself if you know how to) at least on a monthly basis to ensure that they’re working properly. You can also take this opportunity to make sure that there are no frayed or exposed wires in the bathroom that might cause electrical mishaps. Make these checks as regular as possible to prevent being caught off-guard by faulty electrical wiring and installations.
In summary, getting injured or killed by electricity in your bathroom is a lot more feasible than you might have previously thought. Ensure you abide by the proper standards and electrical safety guidelines, not to mention these ten helpful tips, to ensure that your bathroom is a safe place for you and your family. If you enjoyed the top 10 tips for bathroom electrical safety, please like, share and comment below.
This article was published by Jeremy Knowles from VIP Electrician Brisbane.