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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    CA
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    3

    Default Install Wall mounted Towel Warmer inside a large shower enclosure?

    Found this cite while looking for an anwser to the following issue: I have a Large Shower 70" x 48", with a 20" x 24" x 60" niche about 32" away from Shower head. Would like to install a GFI protected wall mounted Towel Warmer, no exposed switch or outlet in niche, just the towel warmer. Problem is that the Towel Warmer manual says not to install in a shower enclosure. While technically this niche is inside the shower enclosure it is far from the shower and will not be receiving any direct water. Can't find anything to support installation of the wall mounted towel warmer, city inspector says he would like to see something in writing from the towel warmer manufacturer. The towel warmer manufacturer says to refer to NEC...as those are the guidelines used for their manuals. I suppose I could place a shower curtain between the niche and the shower to pass inspection, but I really want to know if there is a hazard, what the hazard would be? Damp/wet towels are meant to be hung on the towel warmer, so the issue would be in the electrical going to the wall right? Any suggestions for or against the idea would be helpful thanks.

    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: Install Wall mounted Towel Warmer inside a large shower enclosure?

    The City Inspector wants to see something rated for wet conditions. The manufacture did not build for wet conditions. You want to install on the interior of the shower enclosure which is in the wet enclosure area. Therefore you can not justify code compliance. Hanging a curtain will not alter the the enclosure enough to effectively remove the niche from being in the shower enclosure.

    Is there a potential hazard. Simple answer is yes, if there is any failure in the device that is not designed to be in a wet environment. \

    What should you do???? Up the insurance on your wife and install the towel warmer.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,246

    Default Re: Install Wall mounted Towel Warmer inside a large shower enclosure?

    The towel warmer would need to be listed for wet locations. Getting something in writing from manufacturer stating, sure, put it there, would not - should not - be acceptable to the inspector as it was not tested under the requirements for wet locations.

    That said, you are more asking about the hazard and what it could be: the hazard is electrocution (the only difference between electrical shock and electrocution is in the result - death).

    You are in a wet shower, you are wet, your feet are wet, the floor is wet, the towel warmer is ... faulted to ground, you touch the towel bar and provide a really nice conductive grounding path ... so, your question really is (as I see it):
    - Should you be allowed to trust your life to a GFCI not malfunctioning?
    - The NEC is going to say no. The inspector is saying no. I am saying no. But we cannot protect the guilty form their own actions.

    Please do not take my reply the wrong way, I am glad you posted and asked your question.

    I am just trying to make my answer clear in its warning of the hazard you asked about, trying to make sure my answer is not wishy-washy sounding.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Install Wall mounted Towel Warmer inside a large shower enclosure?

    Thanks for the quick responses. I didn't see the danger, as you would be wet getting a towel adjacent to the shower door just outside the shower stall, so?? That is why I couldn't understand the big deal of the towel warmer being farther away inside the stall.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,246

    Default Re: Install Wall mounted Towel Warmer inside a large shower enclosure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monica Rose View Post
    Thanks for the quick responses. I didn't see the danger, as you would be wet getting a towel adjacent to the shower door just outside the shower stall, so?? That is why I couldn't understand the big deal of the towel warmer being farther away inside the stall.
    The best way I explain what the codes are and what they attempt to achieve is like this:
    - All building codes, including the NEC, are minimums and are nothing more than the most unsafe one is legally allowed to build/construct something.

    Yes, you can install the towel warmer outside the shower right next to the shower and within easy reach while still being in the shower. The code could state not to install it within 100 feet of the shower to make sure you had time to dry off, but that would excessively restrict your options for design flexibility.

    Every thing has risk and the codes only address that risk to a minimum extent.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Install Wall mounted Towel Warmer inside a large shower enclosure?

    An electric towel warmer can not be allowed inside a shower enclosure for obvious reasons.
    A hydronic towel warmer would be heated by hot water and that would be perfectly safe.
    Get your plumber to build one.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Install Wall mounted Towel Warmer inside a large shower enclosure?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    An electric towel warmer can not be allowed inside a shower enclosure for obvious reasons.
    A hydronic towel warmer would be heated by hot water and that would be perfectly safe.
    Get your plumber to build one.
    Thanks John, I looked into that, but I need to have a dedicated line and water heater for that. Cost prohibitive. So I will have to look for other options.


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