Shower stall light

A recessed fixture brightens up a dark shower stall

By Jacques Doiron

shower light

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With a few minor variations, installing a recessed shower light is much the same as installing a regular recessed light fixture in any other ceiling. Key to the job is the selection of the fixture itself. Use only fixtures rated for “wet” locations, and don’t be satisfied with a “damp” location rating-it’s not sufficient for use in a shower area.

Installing recessed fixtures isn’t difficult. If you have access from above-from the attic, for example-that’s easiest of all. The job is a bit trickier when you don’t have overhead access but, fortunately, there are remodelling-style fixtures available. These are rated for safe contact with insulation (indicated by the letters “IC”), and because they’re compact and designed to be installed from below, they’re the best kind to use in that case, whether there’s insulation in the ceiling or not.

The other major consideration is the location’s proximity to power. If there’s already a switched ceiling box (containing a light or fan) near the shower stall, simply disconnect the wires from the ceiling box and then reroute them to reach the new fixture (remodelling fixtures usually come with their own pre-wired junction boxes). In that case, all you have to do is cut a circular hole in the ceiling, attach the lead wires to the junction box and slide the fixture up into the ceiling until the fixture’s mounting clips catch. With a power source in the ceiling and a switch in the wall, you’re ready to proceed.

Keep in mind that the new shower light will come on at the same time as whatever fixture it shares the circuit with. In this case, the new light shared a circuit with the bathroom exhaust fan, and having them come on at the same time is ideal.

If there’s no power source close by, you may have to fish a power wire over a considerable distance to the fixture.

Although electrical codes vary slightly from province to province, most require any new electrical work to be inspected. Check with your local electrical power authority.

In Ontario, you can contact an inspector through the Electrical Safety Authority at or at 877-372-7233.

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