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Heat lamp above shower...sorting through the code language

Heat lamp above shower...sorting through the code language

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  #1  
Old 02-15-14, 09:42 AM
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Heat lamp above shower...sorting through the code language

Hi folks,
I know this topic is probably visited over and over again, and I've searched the web, but I can't find conclusive evidence that I can't installed a heat lamp above my shower.

My scenario: the ceiling above my shower is 9ft above the granite entrance threshold to the shower (which is a few inches above the shower floor). My shower is tile walls on two sides, and glass walls/door on the other two sides. The top area of the shower is fully open to the bathroom...about 1.5ft from the top of the shower stall to the ceiling.

Everything I read in NEC code states a 3ft x 8ft "zone"....with 8ft defined as the threshold. The only graphic picture I can find is the threshold of a bathtub....but that is higher than a walk-in shower.

Can someone clearly show me in the NEC code where my particular scenario will not permit a heat lamp, instead of a fully enclosed lamp? I know Progress makes a heat lamp for this type of scenario, but all comments I find on the web argue to never install a heat lamp over a shower (water will splash on the bulb and it will explode). In my case, I've lived in this house for 25 years and water HAS NEVER splashed even close to my 9ft ceiling....NO WAY.

Sorry for the all caps, but I'm very frustrated with the NEC code language in this area and advice I see on the web. Lots of big talk/advice, but nothing concrete to give me a final answer.

All help is appreciated. I've done all the electrical work in my house, but this situation seems vague (but I'm sure it's not).

Thanks, Mike
 
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  #2  
Old 02-15-14, 09:51 AM
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Just something to consider...

I worked maintenance at a large hotel that had heat lamps installed about 2' away from the edge of the tubs. 8' ceilings. The ceilings would get soaked with steam from a hot shower and the bulbs would explode frequently. They were replaced with enclosed fixtures.
After working with these and seeing kids with a cut foot from the broken bulb, I would never install one in a wet area. Save them for keeping food warm.
 
  #3  
Old 02-15-14, 10:00 AM
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The fixture would need to be rated for at least a damp area. I am not sure any are rated that way.

The 3x8 areas only covers hanging, cord connected etc type fixtures. It does not apply to flush or surface mount fixtures.
 
  #4  
Old 02-15-14, 10:22 AM
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Thanks Awesome....it's a good point. However, I grew up with dual heat lamp fixtures in bathrooms that never had any problems.....but they were always well ventilated. My current bathroom was remodeled last year and I put in a high volume exhaust fan (for the summer, when we don't want the bathroom warm at all so the steam exhausts quickly). However, your comment is something to think about.

pcboss....thanks, but I've seen reference to recessed "watertight" fixtures also....which just confuses the whole scenario.

Progress makes a heat lamp for damp locations: Progress Lighting P6952-16TG

I don't really see any difference than the "non damp" location heat lamps, but there must be something.
 
  #5  
Old 02-15-14, 10:39 AM
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Here is a direct quote from the 2011 NEC.

(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected
luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting
track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans
shall
be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally
and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or
shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes
the space directly over the tub or shower stall. Luminaires
located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub
or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top
of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for
damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to
shower spray.

Recessed fixtures are not part of that list.
 
  #6  
Old 02-15-14, 11:15 AM
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Thanks pcboss....this is the exact section I was reading. The part that seems to cause debate is "subject to shower spray". The only way my light would get direct spray is if I aimed the shower head straight up

I just noticed there is a forum topic right below this section for Light Fixtures....oops, guess I should have posted there. Thanks to Google for directing me here first. If the admin wants to move the topic, I'm ok with it.
 
  #7  
Old 02-15-14, 11:24 AM
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The wet rating is only if subject to spray. Otherwise a damp rating is enough.
 
  #8  
Old 02-15-14, 11:36 AM
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Right....the current recessed fixture is "damp rated".....but is also enclosed with a lens, but it's from the original shower install 25 years ago and I suspect is just what the electrical contractor had, because my whirlpool tub, which is on the back side of the shower, has a completely open recessed fixture. Both areas have 9ft ceilings.

I did a search within this overall forum and found a few places where people were saying "You CANNOT use a heat lamp above a shower. Over a shower must be a sealed, gasketed fixture suitable for wet locations." I've seen this same comment all over the internet, but never with specific NEC code language and reference.
 
  #9  
Old 02-15-14, 11:43 AM
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Since some of you are worried about heat lamps exploding, they make ones with a silicone coating over them.

Example: Halco 404066 - 250W - BR40 - IR Heat Lamp
 
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