Electrical installation in the bathroom: everything on the subject

Special care and attention is required when it comes to electrical installations in the bathroom. There is an increased risk potential here due to the wet and at times extremely high humidity in connection with the electricity. In order to minimize safety risks, there are very precise regulations for the bathroom in terms of electricity. The so-called electrical installation zones in the bathroom are of particular importance.

Our article clarifies the electrical confusion! We reveal what you should consider when it comes to electrical installations in the bathroom, the importance of the electrical protection zones in the bathroom and what specifications apply to the individual protection areas.

Comply with regulations for electrical installation in the bathroom

If you want to renovate your bathroom, you should seek advice from a professional bathroom builder or call in an experienced electrician. On the one hand, to find the most sensible solution for the electrical system in your bathroom. On the other hand, because there are regulations in Germany for electrical installations in the bathroom that must be observed. Regulations are laid down in various DIN standards and VDE regulations for electrical installation in the bathroom, such as VDE 0100-701.

These regulations regulate how the electrical installation is to be carried out so that there is no danger to the users of the bathroom and accidents due to electric shock are avoided. They provide information about the specified areas of a bathroom and which equipment may be installed there. Certain types of protection are also defined for special consumables such as sockets, which have an impact on planning. The various degrees of protection specify, among other things, whether an element must be protected against splash water, water jets or the consequences of being immersed in water. A factor that is particularly important for lights.

If bathrooms and users are to benefit from the electrical installation, specialists have to get to work

Electrical installation in the bathroom: the installation zones

There is a higher risk of danger in bathrooms. This is not just due to the water in the shower, tub and sink. Due to the abundance of installation pipes, particularly conductive elements and the fact that users are often naked and wet in the bathroom, there is an increased risk of electric shock . In the bathroom at home, without the appropriate protective regulations, even washing your hands could be dangerous due to small splashes of water. For these reasons, special measures must be taken with regard to the electrical installation in rooms such as the bathroom.

In DIN 57100 or VDE 100-701, the bathroom is divided into three different installation zones (also referred to as protection zones or protection areas), for each of which special standards are defined. The defined protection areas form the basis for the correct electrical installation in the bathroom. Technical vocabulary and the subject-specific accuracy make the texts appear extremely technical and sometimes difficult to understand. For this reason, too, you should not do without the support of a competent electrician. Here we give you an overview of the protection areas in the bathroom.

Protection zones bathroom Installation area in the bathroom
Protection zone 0 Interior of tub and/or shower (area that comes in contact with large amounts of water)
extends to the edge of the bathtub in the case of a bathtub
extends to the edge of the shower tray in the shower
no lines, switches and sockets allowed (except for equipment required)
Luminaires (e.g. underwater lighting) must meet the highest protective measures (protection class IP X7)
Exception for 0: Installation area does not exist for floor-level (barrier-free) showers; for them, a certain radius around the shower head counts as protection area 1
Protection area 1 connects directly to installation area 0
extends to a height of 2.25 m or to the water connection point (may be higher in showers)
This includes the area below the tub and shower
All lines for permanently installed devices (e.g. fans, boilers, waste water pumps) in this area must be routed vertically
no lines, switches and sockets allowed (except for equipment required)
Luminaires within a radius of 60 cm around the shower head, tub and shower must be protected against splashing water (protection class IP X4)
protection area 2 connects directly to installation area 1
runs in a radius of 60 cm around protection zone 1
no lines, switches and sockets allowed (except for equipment required)
Connection of washing machines and installation of heating devices of various types permitted (but must not protrude into zones 0 and 1)
Luminaires must be protected against splashing water (protection class IP X4)
Exception for 2: by installing partitions (usually in showers), the area can vary, as electrical equipment is protected from splashing water by these walls
all (0, 1, 2) Protection zones extend 6 cm into the surrounding walls
A residual wall thickness of 6 cm must be maintained for the lines for the adjacent rooms so that they do not protrude into the installation areas

For the rest of the area that is not located in one of the three installation zones, special regulations also apply with regard to the installation.

The areas that border protection area 2 with a depth of 240 cm are often also referred to as protection area 3 . In principle, the installation of switches, sockets and junction boxes is permitted in protection zone 3. However, switches and sockets in protection area 3 must be equipped with residual current circuit breakers . In addition, it is not permitted to install cables in the bathroom that supply electricity to other rooms in the house.

Problem case old building: Outdated electrical installations as a source of danger

Too few sockets, outdated electrics and a high potential for danger – the electrical installations in most old buildings are in need of renovation. In general, these should be renewed after almost 30 years. But that is not the case with a large number of old building apartments. These households lack an electrical installation that meets current safety regulations and requirements. However, if the electrical installation and technology in the bathroom are outdated, there is a risk of cable fire and electric shock.

Danger potential in old building bathrooms due to:

  • Low load capacity with multiple electrical devices
  • Outdated material of the pipes
  • Missing residual current circuit breaker (short: FI switch)

Is your electrical installation in the bathroom outdated? This indication speaks for it

The introduction of corresponding regulations that exist for electrical installations is historically relatively recent. In the rarest of cases, landlords and tenants can say with certainty how the electrical system in the living space is doing and where the lines are exactly.

A first indication of an outdated electrical installation is the number of existing sockets . Because the number of electrical devices in the home and used has increased massively compared to the first half of the 20th century. Where two sockets per room used to be sufficient, this is no longer sufficient today. Socket strips are often used, which should only be a temporary solution in any case. The reason: They allow the use of several devices, but within one circuit. The essential is quickly forgotten, namely the age of the electrical wiring. They are not designed for this type of load

Electrical refurbishment in the bathroom: More security through modern electrical installations

In Germany, several million properties are over 50 years old and the majority of these buildings have outdated electrical installations that no longer meet today’s safety standards.

In order to successfully prevent smoldering fires, constant power failures due to overloading and electric shocks, rehabilitation is essential. A measure that is more than worth it given the risks involved and the obvious benefits. The same applies here: Let a competent professional advise you and carry out the necessary work by a team experienced in electrical installation. In this way it can be ensured that accidents do not occur and that all regulations are observed in accordance with the standards.

Light in the bathroom: tips for the right lighting

Without light, an essential component in the bathroom is missing. It makes perfect and, above all, safe use possible. Properly illuminating a bathroom seems complicated. So that you don’t feel in the dark when planning the lighting, we have put together a few key pieces of advice that should be considered when it comes to lighting in the bathroom. Our top tip: work with multiple light sources .

Lighting concept consisting of individual ceiling spotlights, indirect light on the ceiling and in the wall niche and an illuminated bathroom mirror

If you only decide on one type of lighting, you risk insufficient lighting conditions. For example, if lights are only found in certain areas such as the washbasin, shower and bathtub, parts of the bathroom are in darkness. A single ceiling light, on the other hand, casts unpleasant shadows. They get in the way when you look in the mirror and make daily care and styling more difficult. In addition, there are no light sources that conjure up a cozy atmosphere, which is a major disadvantage for relaxation from everyday stress.

Accordingly, it is important to rely on several different lighting elements . The lighting system should be tailored to both the room and personal usage behavior. This can be realized with a concept that includes both general and specific lighting. When planning the lighting, the following three lighting groups should be considered:

Basic lighting:

In the past, the ceiling light was only responsible for illuminating the bathroom. In the meantime, it has become an inherent part of a complex lighting system that knows how to perfectly illuminate a bathroom. The bathrooms can be illuminated in their entirety using lamps in the ceiling area, so that safe orientation is possible. Ceiling lights provide a solid starting point. They provide sufficient light for many activities in the bathroom. They are variable in type, shape and color, which is why they can be easily adapted to the bathroom design.

Basic lighting tips:

  1. It should not be too bright (below 300 lux)
  2. For general illumination, choose a rather warm light (below 3300 Kelvin)

functional lighting

Whether shaving, make-up or body care: These activities require precision and therefore optimal vision. What’s the use if you want to cultivate at the vanity but the light doesn’t reach there? For this reason, the right light should be available in the places in the bathroom where you take action. Light sources with 300 to 400 lux and a neutral to daylight white light color are recommended for shaving and styling in the washing area .

Spots in the tub area can provide the right light for relaxing hours of reading. Integrated into the ceiling or walls, they illuminate part of the tub and help not to strain your eyes.

Additional lighting:

Would you like to showcase a shelf element, the shower platform or the whirlpool? Or to subtly highlight a possible stumbling block when going to the bathroom at night? You can skilfully set visual accents with spotlights in the floor or LED light strips . The small, inconspicuous light sources accentuate parts of your bathroom and can highlight exactly the elements that make it stand out. In addition, they act as orientation aids at night.

The bathroom is increasingly being perceived as a living space that can be designed individually. In the course of this development, the atmosphere plays a role that should not be underestimated. And for this purpose, lights that individually adapt the setting of the bathroom are suitable. Especially when the bathroom is used as a rest and relaxation room at the same time, it needs lights that underline this atmosphere. It doesn’t matter whether you’re bathing, showering or in the sauna. Light sources that can change color are often used for this purpose. Important here: The light should be dimmable and warm to create a cozy atmosphere.

An LED strip with a color changer can be a beautiful eye-catcher

Requirements for the modern electrical installation in the bathroom

There are a number of small and large everyday helpers in our bathrooms, starting with washing machines, dryers and heaters through to hair dryers, electric toothbrushes and the like. It is usually a question of the available floor space and individual user needs, which of these find space in the bathroom . Washing machines and dryers sometimes require a lot of space – a circumstance that can become a problem, especially in small bathrooms.

Think of enough sockets in the bathroom

Smaller devices are more likely to find their way into the bathroom. They become a problem especially when there are not enough sockets available. Often things are then sorted, rummaged around and repositioned in the washbasin area every morning. The size and structure of the washing area, which lacks storage space, often makes things more difficult. If the radio or sound station is then added to cheer you up with your favorite music, the chaos is perfect.

Lucky here are those who think of all these little things during the renovation and include them in the redesign. Sufficient sockets for hair dryers, hair straighteners, shavers, electric toothbrushes and the like should be planned in the mirror area in particular. A must for a pleasant and satisfying stay in the bathroom.

Smart Home: More security, more comfort and optimized energy consumption

In addition to a sufficient number of sockets, another trend is making time in the bathroom more pleasant. Smart home refers to the intelligent networking of in-house technology and can have its advantages in every room of the house.

Smart Home is primarily associated with the control and monitoring of heating and light in your own living environment. The intelligent systems can do much more. Using apps for smartphones, devices can be conveniently monitored and controlled while on the go, for example on the way home or on vacation. This eliminates the worry of not having closed the shutters or left the stove and light on. An equally important aspect is the more sensible use of resources such as electricity, water and the respective heating fuel, which is made possible with this technology.

Combine electrical installations and practical tools with smart home solutions in the bathroom 

If the bathroom is linked to the system, the room can be brought to a comfortable temperature on the way home – especially in winter . Or lighting scenarios determined based on personal preferences can be called up. If you also have a sauna or steam shower in your own four walls, you can integrate them into the system and conveniently control them.

High-tech bathrooms: Sophisticated extras for even more luxury and wellness

Entertainment in the bathroom is another important point . Who wouldn’t like to relax to their personal favorite music, especially when wellness elements such as a whirlpool or steam bath are available? Or follow your favorite series while taking a bath?

If you renew the bathroom and electrical installation, radio, TV and sound systems can be included. Touch displays and control elements, which allow you to control the sound and TV system and lighting in the shower and bath, have proven to be pleasantly practical. In this way, the perfect mood can be created from anywhere.

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