Are your bathrooms light switches inside or outside?

GemcapJune 22, 2014

Our contractor has given electrical plans with the bathroom light switches inside the bathroom. I think he is doing it from an aesthetic viewpoint. The switch is in the dry area and will be about 4 feet away from the wet area. The walls are tiled floor to ceiling. There are no building codes regarding electrical switches in bathrooms where we live.

I have always lived in places where the light switches are outside the bathroom - right next to the entrance. From my practical view point, having the switch outside looks easier - you turn it on before you enter, you exit, close the door and then turn off the light.

What are your experiences - switch inside or outside of bathroom and would you have it any other way from what you have now?
Thanks in advance

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We're required to have motion sensors so I guess they have to be inside!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:15PM
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I'd definitely prefer to have inside the bathroom with me, rather than outside, accessible to others (who might accidentally bump into the switch, and turn it off while the bathroom is being used!).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:20PM
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Sophie Wheeler

All of the US is covered by building codes. Just because there is no code enforcement where you live doesn't mean that doing the absolute minimum for safety shouldn't be planned for. That does include the elecrical switches inside the bath where they belong.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:46PM
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Inside and I wouldn't have it any other way. If I need more lighting, I can easily flip a switch without having to open a door and reach outside of the bathroom to do it. And, like cat_mom said, what happens when it's dark out and someone accidentally turns off the switch from the outside?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:54PM
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I have one of each, the outside switch is in the guest room. Everyone always reach into the bathroom looking for the switch. Common where I live to have them in the bathroom.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:28AM
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I remodeled a bath that had the switch on the outside. I left that one for the overhead light, then had the sconces and shower spot put on switches inside the bath. I knew after 30 years of flipping that light on from the outside it would make me crazy if it were removed.

In the new bath they installed the kind of switches that you press instead of flip, each with a dimmer button. That does make me crazy - I want to flip a light switch, not press it, not look at a gazillion LED lights that those controls have. I feel like an old curmudgeon, but I really prefer just a flip-on switch. So if you have any thoughts about what kind you'd like, be sure to specify.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:43AM
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I would not want to even use/ be in a bathroom if the switch to turn off the light was located outside the room.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:33PM
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In some countries (like England, I think) the switches *must be outside the bathroom.

In the complex that I just moved out of most of the switches for lighting were Outside the door because anywhere inside the door was not the required three feet away from the bathtub in a horizontal position unless it was well inside the bathroom somewhere else, and you would have had to walk into the dark bathroom to turn the lights on. The fan switch was inside because it did not need to be both adjacent to the door and 3 feet from the tub, just 3 feet from the tub.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:49PM
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The switches should be inside the room, near where you will use them. Most newer bathrooms have more than one light switch (overhead , wall sconce, mirror, etc) plus a fan switch. You aren't going to put all these switches on the outside of the room.

If you have concerns you could put the lighting circuit on a GFI.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 4:19PM
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I have one switch outside the bathroom door for an overhead light inside the bathroom, and another inside for lighting over the shower. About the only thing you shouldn't be doing is having switches or receptacles on the walls inside the wet area.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:28PM
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If putting it right inside the door puts it in a position like this, I would put one outside the door and have lighting over the vanity on a separate switch in that location, for example:

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 6:45PM
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My home (1963) has the switch in the inside just like that photo. I am redoing the bathroom and plan to keep it there, although I am sure it is again codes. That area is so small, nowhere else to go but outside.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:25AM
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The only disadvantage of inside placement of the light switch (vis ÃÂ vis many advantages) is that the bathroom is dark when you enter it in the middle of the night. That problem can be solved with an LED electrical fixture at the mains outlet where the bidet toilet seat is plugged in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pass & Seymour LED mains outlet

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 2:27PM
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In my house the switches are on the inside. My daughter's master bath has the light switches on the both outside and the inside of the room.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 3:11PM
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It never occurred to me that someone would put a light switch outside the bathroom.

I learn something new every day on Gardenweb!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Inside the bathroom makes more sense to me. If one needs to turn on the light in the middle of the night or has a very early start to work, one can turn on and off the light without disturbing your partner.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:43PM
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Many thanks for all the inputs.

Yes, my experience is of England/ British Commonwealth countries and have never had a light switch inside a bathroom.

The odd time when the lights would be switched off when we were children, was when a sibling would see someone disappear inside brandishing a thick book to read and see the door shut for an inordinately long time :-)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 12:56AM
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