Shower light - what type?

piscesgirlFebruary 6, 2013

Looking at shower lights for our bathroom. We know we need Wet rated and IC rated housing. I believe we need Line Voltage. Looking at getting a regular shower trim/housing that takes incandescent/Halogen bulbs and instead we are planning on using LED bulb. I have looked at the integrated LED units but either they were not Wet rated (Cree) or we didn't like the color of the LED bulb.

Wondering what is the best type of shower light trim....
Flush vs Domed?
Fresnel, frosted, clear, frosted-pinhole?
Glass vs Albalite?
Reflector or not?

So many choices and I am wondering if any of these things really matter.

Looking at putting the 4" cree LED recessed light over the toilet so would like a trim that comes close to matching.


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Although the model number and appearance haven't changed, for the last 1/2 year or so the Cree CR6 has been rated for wet locations; previous to that it was only rated for damp. (At least this is true for the Ecosmart ECO-575L variant sold at Home Depot; the new ones are in a smaller, cardboard box and show them using 9.5 watts rather than 10.5). Don't know about the new brighter 800-lumen version or the CR4.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:40PM
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The Cree 4" are damp rated (I have two cases of them next to my desk), so you could use those in the ceiling in a shower. The ones I have are 575 lumens.

I recommend an air tight can. I have a couple of cases of the Halo H99RTAT cans for the Crees.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:43PM
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Code requires showers to have wet-rated, not just damp (which is suitable for elsewhere in a humid bathroom with a shower or tub in it). Basically, if water can conceivably splash onto it, it must be wet rated.

I like the Halo 4" shower trim that HD sells - you can put a standard LED light bulb into it if there's no warning about using it in fully-enclosed fixtures, like the $10 Utilitech 450-lumen bulb that Lowes sells (made by Feit)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:46AM
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"Code requires showers to have wet-rated, not just damp "

Here's how IRC reads:

Luminaires within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 8 feet (2438 mm) vertically...shall be marked for damp locations, and where subject to shower spray, shall be marked for wet locations.

You are correct, if it will see spray, it needs to be wet-rated. We have an volume of "code interpretations" for IRC and for this section it lists wall lights as being subject to spray, but recessed can lights are not considered to be subject to spray. Based on that interpretation, typically wall lights need to be wet-rated, but can lights just damp-rated.

For an interpretation, certainly contact your AHJ.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 6:58PM
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I've always considered the verbiage in the code to translate to shower lights requiring wet-rated fixtures and trim - especially given the increasing popularity of handshowers on flexible hoses that could easily point upwards briefly as they're moved around. But even if wet-rated lights aren't technically required by code, most electricians and bath-renovation contractors I've talked to think a "shower light" is the best thing to put over a shower or tub. That area gets very humid (especially if the user doesn't switch on (or have) and exhaust fan, and many standard lights will acquire rust or other problems. For people who want a recessed light, there are plenty of choices of lens type for specifically-designed shower lights, so i prefer to choose amongst them. Many have a standard Edison base (in non-T24 areas) and there are CFL or LED retrofits available. You do need to be careful that your light bulb doesn't have a warning not to use it in fully-enclosed fixtures - a category that includes many LED retrofit bulbs, though not the $10 450-lumen Utilitech LED bulb sold at Lowes. There are also some shower lights that take reflector bulbs and don't need a lens (but make sure the reflector bulb is wet-rated - many are since they're often used in exposed-to-rain outdoor fixtures.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:04AM
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The CR6 and CR4 are now "wet" rated. I contacted Cree directly and they confirmed they are wet rated and that it also applies to the the homedepot re-brand ecosmart.

The packaging is outdated. It will be a while before all the existing bulbs are bought up and new bulbs are shipped with updated packaging.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:56PM
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We just installed 2 Elco EL1499IC 4" Low Voltage recessed lights with shower trims. We also put LED bulbs instead of halogen. It looks great, gives plenty of light. We are very happy it turned out well.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:26PM
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