As an electrical wholesaler we get asked a lot of questions both via our trade counter in Archway, North London, and via email, phone, website, etc. When it comes to lighting, it used to be that people preferred the halogen lights; nowadays, however, everyone loves LED lights.
As to bathroom lighting, many people have either standalone ceiling light fittings together with some wall lamps, shaver lights, or mirror lights, or they couple the ceiling lights with the bathroom fan.
One of the questions we were asked recently is, Can I dim my bathroom lights? We don’t have the complete answer to that, but as to today 13 February 2015, there are a few ways of dimming your bathroom lights.
Note: due to the constant development and research in the realm of lighting, dimming, LED lighting, and technology, things can change in a year or so; however, up until today, these are the solutions that we can offer for dimming your bathroom lights.
How to: Dim the Bathroom Lights
First of all, before we even talk about how to dim the bathroom lights, we need to make sure that these lights are dimmable. This means that the light fitting has to allow you to dim – increase or decrease the light intensity – the light bulb, and the light bulb also has to be dimmable.
If the light fitting is dimmable, you can dim your bathroom lights. And when we speak of bathroom lights we speak mainly of the ceiling lights.
Here are some solutions to dimming your bathroom lights:
1. Replace your wall switch with a dimmer switch. Because of the Building Regulations and the IP protection in the bathrooms, it is not possible to have a wall switch inside the bathroom; however, the wall light switch outside the bathroom can be replaced with a dimmer switch. Again, you will need to make sure that the bathroom lights are dimmable, and then you can set the bathroom light level as needed via a rotary dimmer switch.
For example: you can use the Varilight HQ9W on/off rotary dimmer switch (in plastic white) or the intelligent single switch Varilight IQP401W (which takes up to 400W) with any of the dimmable bathroom ceiling lights.
2. Use a dimming pull cord switch: one of the few switching devices allowed in the bathroom is a pull cord switch. It is easy to turn the lights ON or OFF via the pull cord switch, and if the ventilation fan is also connected via this switch, the fan will be ON as standard. However, if you install the DIMPULL dimming pull cord switch you can not only turn your lights ON or OFF but, with a prolonged pull of the pull cord, you can dim the light level until you obtain the lighting you desire.
Note: you cannot use this dimming pull cord switch with any fluorescent fittings (they are not dimmable), and the max. incandescent load is 250W. Also, you need to make sure you install this dimming pull cord switch outside zones 0 and 1; it can be installed only in the safe zone outside of reach of water.
For example: you can use the DIMPULL dimming pull cord switch with the popular AX0270 Mariner bathroom ceiling light, making sure the lamp used by this fitting is dimmable (see the 42ESC 42W Lamp). If you use downlights like the Aurora A2-DLM413W fixed recessed lights, make sure you get dimmable light bulbs with it and, with the pull of a switch, you can dim them!
Please note: when it comes to dimming the LED lights, things get a bit tricky. The DIMPULL doesn’t work with LED lamps, and the wall dimmer has to be an LED dimmer in order to work with the dimmable LED lamps. Also, please note: it is recommended to use a registered qualified electrician to do the work of replacing switches and light fittings in the bathroom.