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Old 04-22-2006, 06:34 PM   #1
Newbie2shoes
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Supplemental heating for bath: heat lamps?

(I posted this on another site but didn't really get any definitive answers. Perhaps I might get another point of view or suggestion here. Still didn't get answered my quest. below about how far down the heat lamp should carry.) Yes, even though I'm in sunny San Diego, during our "winter months," I feel the cold when I'm in the shower. We are in the midst of planning out our remodel and I'd like to install some type of small heater. I know I can't put a heater/fan over the shower due to the humidity, but I'm wondering if those heat lamps are sufficient? Our problem is that the ceiling is cathedral and 10.5" high so I'm worried that the lamp/s won't really reach down far enough to warm up my shoulders. I don't really like to run the whole house heater just to keep the shower area warm. The current tile wall on the long side is on an ext. wall so you can really feel those cold tiles until I run some hot water on them. I felt that it would be too cost prohibitive to run heater lines behind the new tile that will be installed. Any other suggestions? Would a pair, say, of heat lamps' output reach down five feet so I'd feel the warmth? (It's my understanding that heat lamps are allowed over a shower.) I'm not looking for a warm floor to step out onto.
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Old 04-22-2006, 08:04 PM   #2
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Newbie, didn't I welcome you on another thread?
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:31 PM   #3
Tool Guy - Kg
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Yes you did, John. From this morning.

Arline,
The infrared heat from the heat lamps will reach you just fine from a 10.5 foot high ceiling. But you can't just put any type of light bulb above a tub or shower and leave it exposed. Check your local codes. The infrared heat-bulbs I'm familiar with aren't allowed directly above a shower as I know it. Bulbs above a shower either need a cover to protect them from water, or rated for wet exposure like outdoor flood lights. Maybe one of the sparkys can chime in on this topic.
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Old 04-23-2006, 06:53 PM   #4
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Tool Guy:

When you say you "can't just put any type of light bulb above the shower," I'm not sure I understand. Isn't a heat lamp - a heat lamp? Except, perhaps, for various wattages? We currently have, on the 10.5' ceiling a recessed light within a can up there above the shower. I'd only like to add perhaps a heat lamp that contains two of those special bulbs for warming-up purposes IN the shower area + perhaps a vent fan, too, if needed. And maybe I am wrong, but I *thought* that the heat lamp bulb IS about the only warming type of thing allowed overhead, in addition to a light, of course and assuming it's not too darn low. (We're in Calif. BTW.) Another thought: since I think part of the very cold shower area is due to the long wall being along an exterior wall, when we remove the existing tile and subsequently, I presume, the chipped up drywall, what would the BEST insulation be to shove in there between the studs, which might help "warm" up the area already? And, since we do have a "rather" large bathroom (14 X 14 X 10.5' high), do I even NEED a vent fan above the shower, along with the heat lamps? I ask bec. we do have a mild mold problem in the existing shower. Primarily visible along the bottom where the pan meets the tile but also in various areas along the grout lines, corners, etc. Home is 14 years old. Thanks so much.

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Old 04-23-2006, 07:54 PM   #5
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A heat lamp can/will shatter if it is hot and then water gets splashed on it, so that can be a big problem in a shower...glass while you are naked is not a good thing to have around. There are some bulbs with a shield over them, but nothing's perfect. Now, at 10.5', thatisn't too likely, but it's hard to fight the inspectors if they decide to enforce it.

Mold indicates moisture...that can be either from an improperly installed shower, or excessive use and not enough ventilation or both.

Many showers are installed without a preslope. This means that the whole pan can get waterlogged and that is nearly impossible to dry out in a well used shower.
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:15 PM   #6
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Jim captured my thought on the bulbs. Thin-walled bulbs (like heat bulbs are) will shatter if water splashes on them while they are hot. I know, 'cause I had one blow up on me when I hit it with a stream of water from my squirt gun when I was a kid and didn't know any better. Bulbs with a thick front lens like the outdoor flood lights you have in the backyard (I think they have "PAR" in their size title ) aren't suseptable to this problem. So if a bulb directly over a tub or shower is directly exposed, it needs to be a bulb that can handle water without a problem. Or.....a wimpy bulb that is shielded by a lens cover to the fixture....and that isn't going to fly with a heat bulb.

Codes may differ by you, but all new bathroom are now required to have an exhaust fan to get rid of moisture. Although it sounds like your mold problem may be related to your shower pan as Jim suggests.

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Old 04-23-2006, 09:17 PM   #7
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We have a heat lamp in the main bath. It will give some benefit but don't set your expectations too high. Best way to use it IMHO is to turn it on 5-10 minutes before you use the bath and it will take the edge off the chill.

If you want to use it first thing in the morning the 5-10 minute warmup isn't practical, but using it right away does help a little.
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:13 AM   #8
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Hi Arline,

I've never installed a ceiling heater or heat lamp set up directly over/in a shower, but I've put many in bathrooms. I agree with the other gentlemen re: safety concerns, and would only use one that was specifically listed for such and application. (dunno, offhand if one exists)
A ceiling heater/fan would be more effective than the lamps, but often require a new circ. ran to them because of the wattage requirements.
A problem that I 'see' is with the cathedral ceilings, and how much space you have in the rafter/joist area which would determine whether it's even an option. These ceilings allow the heat to rise and stay at the top of the room.

It's also not just a matter of screwing a IR/heat lamp bulb into an existing can. The can has a list of lamps (bulbs) that are approved for use with it, the list is typically stamped on the inside of the can. Most heat lamp set ups have little fans in them, not only to move the heat down, but to keep the lamps cool.

hope this helps, a bit
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