Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


That Chandelier Doesn't Belong There... even if you saw it on HGTV

Chandeliers above bath tubs are apparently all the rage today.  A few weeks ago I somehow ended up inspecting three houses in a row that had chandeliers installed above the bath tubs - one in Chaska, one in Saint Paul, and one in Victoria.  They all look great, don't they?

Chandelier over bath tub in Chaska

Chandelier over bath tub in Saint Paul

Chandelier over bath tub in Victoria

Shortly after I posted these photos on the Structure Tech Facebook PageDebbie Nelson said she's been seeing this trend for the last five years or so.  She even gave me a couple links to web sites promoting this look - houzz from almost a year ago, and HGTV from about five years ago.

I think this is a great look, but as a home inspector I'm going to be a wet rag and say these are all improper installations.  The diagram below comes from Code Check Electrical 6th Edition.  This book is based on the 2011 National Electric Code (NEC), which prohibits any part of a chandelier from being within the shaded region shown below.  This comes from section 410.10(D) of the NEC.  The idea is that you're not supposed to be able to stand in a wet tub and change a light bulb at the same time.

Bathroom Luminaire Diagram

This doesn't mean you shouldn't install a chandelier above your bath tub... but you're supposed to have a very tall ceiling to do it, and even then, the light should be rated for a wet or damp location.  The image below shows a chandelier rated for a damp location - you'll notice that the bulbs are completely enclosed.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 14 commentsReuben Saltzman • April 03 2012 03:10AM


I'm no interior designer, but even I can tell when a light fixture just doesn't fit the room :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

  We just sold a house...apparently owned by an HDTV addict....the over sized chandelier was in the powder room...a bit crowded...the Buyers' remark was that it "looked like a musem" sure did !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

Reuben, You'd hope people would have enough sense to NOT change a light bulb from a wet tub, but then again it just might be an opportunity for a Darwin award.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 over 6 years ago

Liz & Bill - not only that, but you'd hope someone would have the sense not to stick their finger in to the socket while changing the bulb as well.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

What you say?  HGTV doesn't know this isn't code!

I beg to differ, you Wet Rag you.  How else could I have a nice swing in the bath tub!?  Huh?

Geez, some people...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago

Something about those pictures just screams electric shock to me - and good comment by Liz and Bill - you know someone's going to do that. Like most things on TV, HGTV needs a reality check sometimes...thanks for the call out.

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago

Mike Holmes wouldn't like it either. He flags those all the time. HGTV has made millions for Home Depot & the like and lost millions for sellers that can understand why their weekend warrior projects don't raise the value of their homes by thousands. Blue granite kitchens, bulging laminate floors, hack job crown molding joints and wavy grout lines ever get trendy they are in business!

Posted by Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D, & Host of Postcards From Success Podcast (Big Block Realty 858.232.8722) over 6 years ago

Hi Reuben - I didn't know about the 8 feet but it makes sense! I think people do a lot of things just because they see it ad nauseum on HGTV.

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 6 years ago

Have not seen this...yet. I cringe watching many of those shows. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 6 years ago

Hello Rueben,

I had to laugh when I saw the hanging chandelier.

What are these folks thinking.

Nice to have some inspectors here in the Rain to set the "you need to do this" people straight.

Have a good day. Nice post.

Best, Clint McKie+

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 6 years ago

You've brought a couple good points why I should probably discontinue they development of my latest get rich quick scheme.  A floating toaster is probably not likely to sell well with people like you always finding fault:)

Posted by Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about. over 6 years ago

Jay - that's the one other thing I forgot to mention.  The other reason they're supposed to be at least 8' high is so you don't swing from it ;)

Charlie - thanks :)

Thomas - I'm sure Mike Holmes would make it right by tearing the roof off and raising the ceiling to make it so a chandelier could be properly installed at the right height.

Peggy - definitely.

James - just wait.  You will.

Clint - I'm happy to enlighten people.

E.J. - ha!  You might have a tough time getting that one past the folks at UL ;)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 6 years ago

Reuben, intuitively, this just does not look safe... I have seen sealed lighting fixtures over a shower or bathtub, but chandeliers...

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Reuben, I am so glad you pointed this out. There needs to be some vetting of this stuff on TV.

But if you want a real great idea, add some rubber duckies to the chandelier and then with a few squirt guns you have target practice ; ) Much better sport that way.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 6 years ago