Desperately trying to figure out how to make bathroom brighter

polarprincessOctober 11, 2010

we just added on a master bath which is divided into a toilet room which has 1 over head light with 2 60 watt bulbs, a tub and shower room which has the same light fixture as the toilet room, and a vanity room which has 2 vanity lights with its max of 3 60 watt bulbs in each fixture. in my other bathroom there is a double light heat lamp which makes the room so nice and bright, and now in my new bathroom, i am just not getting that light and it is driving me crazy!! (i am particularly concerned about the tub shower room cuz that is where it is the darkest.) I wish we had put in the same heat lamp, and now i am wondering what my options are for increasing light. my husband says there is nothing we can do and i think he is wrong. i realize that i can try and buy different lights and i am working on that, i thought maybe if i could find some kind of chandelier with lights that face the floor instead of a covered bulb type of light, but so far i have had no luck with anything that looks bathroom-y so i am going to start looking online. do i have any options for installing a heat lamp where the exisiting overhead lights is or does it have to be installed with a fan? we do have the fan in too, but my husband chose to have the electrician put it in without a heat lamp and it is a really quiet one so kind of more expensive so not sure if he would let me switch it out...any advice would be appreciated- thanks

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You could use 26 watt CFL bulbs.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 1:17PM
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Let's take these one at a time....

For lighting fixtures located over a tub or shower, you can only use lamp fixtures (usually recessed, with a plastic lens) that are specifically rated for use over a shower or tub. This is because this area is extremely damp and often gets wet (either from direct splashing or from condensation), causing regular lamp fixtures to quickly rust or corrode. So they make special "shower lights" - usually a round 6" recessed fixture with a white plastic lens, either flush with the ceiling or with the plastic lens dropped about 1/2" from the surrounding trim ring. And unfortunately, these are typically rated for a maximum 60w incandescent bulb, although a 23w compact fluorescent (which is as bright as a 100w incandescent bulb, once it warms up about 30 seconds after it's turned on) can be retrofitted. You'll probably need to use a "micro-mini" CFL bulb, like those from Sylvania or Philips. Your best bet here may be a shower lamp that takes a GU24 CFL bulb only, as these allow for instant-full-brightness CFL bulbs (about 32 watts) that are as bright as a 120 watt incandescent to be used. The GU24 base is a new bipin base that can accept a variety of high-efficiency CFL or LED bulbs in various wattages, but not incandescents. Brighter bulbs are likely to become available in the future, as this is where the R&D money is flowing nowadays.

You can get bright heat lamps/floodlamps without a fan. Amongst the most common are these:

Broan 161 - a 250w heat lamp (white or infrared), with no fan. These cannot be installed in insulated ceilings (IC), often found on the top floor of a house, unless surrounding insulation is kept 3" away from all the sides, and also must be 6" away from any side walls. Or..

Broan 163 - which has two 250w heat lamps but no exhaust fan, and unlike the single-bulb 161 can be used in insulated ceilings. I'm not sure if this one is silent or utilizes a small, quiet fan that keeps the housing cool (but is not ducted, and doesn't blow air on the people standing below the lamps). Or maybe they're silent and without a fan now - check the specs (I'm not an expert at this stuff). You can either use two 250w infrared lamps, two white floodlamps up to 250w, or one of each, switched separately or together.

There may be some non-IC recessed fixtures available from traditional recessed can manufacturers like Progress, Lightolier, and Juno as well that can accept 250w heat lamps - these are typically round in usual recessed lamp style.

For areas not near the tub/shower, there are lots of styles available for use in bathrooms that are rated for damp (need not be "wet") locations.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 7:09PM
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thank you i am so happy to know there are options.. appreciate it so much

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 9:40PM
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