Lighting Controls

Controls for general lighting should be located where a person enters the room, so they do not need to walk into a dark room to find the control. Place the light switch no higher than 48 inches (1.2 m) above the floor for ease of access (see Planning Guideline Access Standard 25). If a bath­room has two entrances, such as one door in the hall and one from a bedroom, use a three-way switch so that general lighting can be controlled at either door. Every bathroom has a number of lights that need switches, and some switches may be needed to control vent fans and heaters. Try to consolidate the switches into banks, as much as possible, to avoid having the wall dotted with switches. If you use banks of switches, three or four switches are perhaps all you would want to­gether in one place and fewer would be better (see Figure 7.18).

Try to make it easy for your client to remember which switch controls which fixture. Try putting them in some logical order so that the light switch is nearest that light fixture. You can also mark them to avoid confusion. For example, if the two middle switches in a bank of four operate the vent fan and the overhead heater, a red marking on the heater switch will give the client a clue as to its use.

Additional compartments within the bathroom typically have the light controls at the compartment entrance rather than at the entrance to the main portion of the bathroom. Controls for other lights need to be close to where the light is being used.

Many different types of controls are now available for lighting. Select the type your client can use easily, as well as the style they prefer. The flip or rocker switches are perhaps the most common. You may also choose a toggle switch, or even a remote control switch for a light and/or fan on an elevated ceiling. Locate these controls in a convenient place for access by all users. Eliminate the need for controls by using motion-sensor light switches that do not require the use of hands in operation.

Controlling the amount of light is important in some areas of the bathroom. For spaces like the exercise area or near a spa tub, consider adding a dimmer switch so that the client has complete control over the light levels. Locate the controls, however, out of the reach of the bathers so they do not receive an electric shock if they touch the control while standing in water. Or, use remote lighting control devices.