How many switches?

maxmillion_gwApril 10, 2014

I am remodeling a full bathroom with sconces, overhead lights, and a fan. How many switches would you prefer, and why? We are in California, so Title 24 applies (fans and lights must be separately controllable). Our options are:

Option A: 1 dimmer switch for all the lights, 1 timer switch for the fan.

Option B: 1 dimmer switch for sconces, 1 dimmer switch for overhead lights, 1 timer switch for fan.

Option C: 1 dimmer switch for sconces, 1 dual switch with half dimmer switch for overhead lights + half timer switch for fan.

Option A would be simplest, and I like simple, but our designer says most folks like to control overhead lights vs sconces separately. Am I missing something? Are there times you want to use overhead or sconce but not both?

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I recommended option B. In my experience, yes, there are times people want to be able to turn on some lights and not others, and to be able to dim each set.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Do a timer for the fan.

Have your sconces on a separate switch from your overhead lights.

Dimmer on each, or not. Dimmer for your main light might be nice. When I use my vanity light I have it on full blast. But that said, I still put a dimmer on it :)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Option B gives you the most flexibility. As long as the cost difference isn't exorbitant, which it shouldn't be, I would go with B.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:33AM
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Personally, I would do the sconces and overheads separately and scrap the dimmers. In my experience, the only time I would care about having a dimmer would be when getting up in the middle of the night to use the toilet. In that case, I can just turn on a light far away from the toilet to allow me to see but not make it bright. Has the same effect as a dimmer really, at least for this limited purpose.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:38PM
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I am assuming the whole point of Title 24 is to save energy, so having to turn on ALL your lights everytime sort of defeats the purpose. I have never had a dimmer switch in any BR, so don't miss it. But, sounds like you will. Are you not putting any lights in shower or tub area? In my BR's I have those on a separate switch, and find I often just turn that ONE on, and only turn on the vanity sconces and/or the overhead light when I'm there and need that extra light. Aesthetically, I think it would look best to have switches look similar, so if you're going to do dimmers, do them both (though I'm guessing you would seldom if ever dim your vanity lights).

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 12:47PM
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Wow, thanks for all the feedback! Coming from a bathroom with 2 switches and ONLY vanity lights, 3 switches seems like a lot but it sounds like that's definitely the way to go.

There are two overhead lights - one over the shower and one over the main area. There's no reason to switch those separately, right? The bathroom is pretty small, I think 7x9.

Which switch should be closer to the entry? Vanity or overhead?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:45PM
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I think it depends on how big the room is. If it's pretty small, then there's less reason to have separate switches (or multiple lights, for that matter :-)). The bigger it is, the more useful it is to have separate control.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:56PM
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My BR's are about the same size as yours. I have all the switches at the entry. I think that is the simplest and most logical, especially in a small BR.

In one BR, I have a 3 ganger, and in the other I have four switches/timers, 2 over 2.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:40PM
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I have a four gang, one for the sconces (w/dimmer) one for the overheads (w/dimmer) one for the fan, and one for the closet. The toilet room has its own switch just on and off. I use the dimmers when I take a bath, more relaxing with soft lights instead of a bright LED overhead.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 6:43PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

We have a 7x11 bathroom. 3-gang panel. Got the plate with NO screws that looks really cool. 1 timer switch for the fan. 1 (lighted) switch for the shower light. 1 switch for sconces and overheads.

When I am in there an in front of the mirror, I want FULL power to the lights. At night when I get up to pee, I only turn on the LED shower light so as not to blind myself! That switch is lighted to easily find.

No dimmers. We had those before and never used them. When I am in there (except at night) I want to see what I am doing. You can always switch out a switch and put in a dimmer if you change your mind.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 11:18PM
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What Babka says about the plate with no screws. I bought those and they look great.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:01PM
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