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Re: Shower lights

Posted By: harold endean

Re: Shower lights - 10/08/10 02:58 PM

Stop me if we have heard this before. smile As for shower lights. If you have a shower enclosure that has a door or curtain and is about 7' tall with a shower light, we all know that you need a shower trim. Now what if there is no ceiling right above the shower, or the ceiling is say 10' or 12' above the shower base. (Or a vaulted or cathedral ceiling) Does the recess light (High hat)(HH) over the shower area need to be listed for damp location? Can you use a sloped ceiling HH over the shower area?
Posted By: sabrown

Re: Shower lights - 10/08/10 03:53 PM

I would say ask the inspector, but as you are one, that sort of kills that. It comes down to a judgement call. How open is the ceiling? Where's the fan (if it exists)? What is the use (a shower room for a high school gym may require shower trim at 15')?

There is no one size fits all answer. I am currently doing a small commercial design where the shower light is just outside the stall and I (as a designer) still feel it requires the shower trim due to location, as an inspector, I would have to pass the same design with a damp listing only.

I have seen my bathroom ceilings dripping after one of my sons have finished their shower, thus my design criteria.
Posted By: renosteinke

Re: Shower lights - 10/08/10 03:54 PM

I think we need to ask: just what are we trying to accomplish?

As best I can tell, when it comes to lighting in shower areas, we have three issues to address: personnel shock hazards, water spray hitting the bulb, and moisture inside the fixture. (Ironically, the advent of LED and other 'cool' lights might make that third issue a greater concern).

Personnel shock is easy: If there's any way someone can touch the fixture while showering, then we need to GFI it.

Shower trims are intended to keep water drops from hitting a hot bulb, causing it to shatte. Broken glass in a shower is not something I want to have to worry about. So, if there's any way for water spray to hit the hot bulb, we need to protect it.

Since most showers are set in something of a recess, ventilation is an issue. Water can, conceiveably, condense atop the inside of the fixture, then drip onto the hot bulb. Again, this risk is reduced by using a sealed trim.

The downside to completely sealing a fixture is that moisture that enters - and moisture WILL enter - becomes trapped. I have seen fixtures with over an inch of water that, over time, has condensed within in. More important, that moisture goes to work, causing corrosion and rust.

High ceiling? Open ceiling? Severely sloped ceiling? It's perfectly possible for a fixture to be located far enough above, or otherwise positioned, so that a shower trim is, IMO, not required. Keeping in mind my earlier comments about moisture accumulation, a shower trim might actually create a hazard.

LED's, CFL's, atc., may allow more moisture to accumulate, as they do not generate as much heat- heat that can keep the insides dry.

A final 'safety' issue is: how do you change the bulb? Remember, a shower trim blocks access to the bulb; if you can't safely set up a ladder, maybe it's best to leave the can 'open' so you can reach the bulb with a pole.
Posted By: HotLine1

Re: Shower lights - 10/08/10 06:10 PM

I have not had any 'issues' with this. All I come accross are shower trims! Vaulted, high, low, ceilings; all had shower trims.

As to Reno's comment...I often scratch my head, and wonder who & how are the bulbs going to be replaced! Jokingly, I asked a few ECs if they had a maintenance contract! One HO said.."don't they last 10k hours"?

Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Shower lights - 10/08/10 07:13 PM

Replacing bulbs in vaulted ceilings is always a problem but to the point here. I think all shower trims are designed to drain so you shouldn't have that goldfish bowl effect you see in jelly jars and other luminaires exposed to water.
At any rate once you get 8' above the rim you are out of the shower area as far as requiring "damp" rated covers.

410.10(D)... Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations

Posted By: harold endean

Re: Shower lights - 10/10/10 06:53 PM


As for maintaining bulbs, I was on a job years ago and the HO wanted a spot light about 30' above the ground. I asked him if he was afraid of heights. He said that he was. So I asked him who is going to change that bulb 30' up there you? or are you going to call me back to change the bulb? The fixture was then installed around 8' off the ground, near the corner of the house. smile
Posted By: harold endean

Re: Shower lights - 10/10/10 06:57 PM


I can see how the 8' is above the "damp" location and spraying/splashing of water is not really an issue there. As for condensation, I don't think it will happen especially if the ceiling is in the 9-12' height. The biggest issue I see is that you really can't put a shower trim on a sloped ceiling can and make it work correctly.
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Shower lights - 10/10/10 08:16 PM

The code will not require a shower trim up there, but who knows what an AHJ might want. I think the biggest "damp" issue would be a rust stain streaming down that sloped ceiling after a while. I am not sure there is really a hazard tho.
Posted By: ChicoC10

Re: Shower lights - 10/12/10 08:25 PM

I always worry about lackluster performance most shower trims give.
If the customer can handle the slightly funky standoff of the trim I like to use a Lithonia L3 with wet trim. It's wet rated with an exposed 75W PAR30. Looks a little strange to some though. I have it in my shower, I like a bright, wake you up shower light smile
Posted By: frenchelectrican

Re: Shower lights - 10/17/10 07:38 AM

Originally Posted by ChicoC10
I always worry about lackluster performance most shower trims give.
If the customer can handle the slightly funky standoff of the trim I like to use a Lithonia L3 with wet trim. It's wet rated with an exposed 75W PAR30. Looks a little strange to some though. I have it in my shower, I like a bright, wake you up shower light smile

As far for other members in here they are right on the spot and I know the last shower trim I have to deal due one ceiling is at 9 foot so I end up leave it open trim but the inspector told me make sure you use the PAR bulb not the BR rated bulbs.

Now in France that will change a bit here under 8 foot no luminaires are allowed in shower or bathtub area unless it is low voltage verison with RCD { 10ma setting instead of normal 30ma setting } but once you get above the numbers of feet/ meter of height then it will become normal set up.

Posted By: Alan Nadon

Re: Shower lights - 10/17/10 07:34 PM

One question I had for years and never got a good answer to concerns recessed cans in sloped ceilings.
How do you position the thermal protection detector in the can for reliable operation ?
On the high side or the low side or doesn't it matter ?
Not my worry anymore, I retired.
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