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Does anyone put heat lamps into bathrooms anymore?

cinnamonsworld
11 years ago

You know, the eerie red kind that go into the ceiling.

I don't want to do under-floor heating, but I always did like how fast the built-in red heat lamps warmed you up on a cold day.

What modern options are out there?

Comments (59)

  • cinnamonsworld
    Original Author
    11 years ago

    Thanks for your replies - I'll go check these out. Darn, putting a monkey wrench into my Plan B for a toiletside hearth.

  • kimgill
    11 years ago

    We put them in all our bathrooms. I had them in my old house and couldnt see not having heat lamps my boys even love them

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  • trinintybay
    11 years ago

    We did a pre-wire construction walk with our electrical contractor today and my DH asked him to add a heat lamp to our master bath because he liked it so well in the old house. Electrician didn't miss a beat so some of us must still be requesting heat lamps.

  • sunnyflies
    11 years ago

    My two in the bathroom never did much good. Couldn't seem to warm the room or knock the chill off and the reddish light just makes me nervous as it suggests fire to me, not something peaceful, so I don't like them. To each their own, I guess. I am planning on taking them out when I remodel and put in heated floors instead and possibly heated towel racks to dry the towels.

  • bobbymac
    11 years ago

    When we did our home renovations, we replaced the ceilings, including bathroom fans in both upstairs bathrooms, and removed the infra-red heat lamps. We installed in-floor heat under the ceramic tiles instead of replacing the heat lamps. The in-floor heating is on a timer so it is not inadvertently left on. We wondered at the time, but after being in the house for about a week, and it is -6C outside this morning, we are happy we did. I don't know how the cost will compare, but I don't think we have given up anything in comfort.

  • jodierd
    11 years ago

    Am renovating a 1963 modern. Two of the bathrooms have round chrome globe-ish (they bulge from the ceiling somewhat) fixtures over the tub with three infrareds. Overkill in No. Ga, but I so love the Martian look. And they sure do warm the person.
    They are one of the reasons the day I finally got internet access here I celebrated: "The Atomic Age meets the Cyber Age."
    Tomorrow the tile arrives for the one bath I had to rip it out of, so soon I will be able to test them for real! (Am brushing my teeth in a tub right now.)
    ~Jodie

  • flowerchild2002
    11 years ago

    I still have the eery red light in my main bathroom. When we renovated the guest bathroom we found some heat lamps that just looked like regular big bulbs. Still heats, but without the weird sci-fi feeling mornings.

  • lyvia
    11 years ago

    So I see four options for warm bathrooms, short of fireplaces and ductwork.
    1. underfloor heating
    2. fan blowing heated air (whisperwarm)
    3. infra red heat lamp (broan) heats bodies
    4. super towel warmer/radiator

    I'm thinking the underfloor heating has better timers - so the bathroom is warm when you wake up, as long as it is morning and not a midnight trip. 2 and 3 are probably best for midnight trips. 2 would gather dust and dog hair in our house (must have an intake?). 3 would be hard to place if the bathroom isn't small, and may just warm the surface of your pajamas on a midnight trip. And somehow, 4 just seems gimmicky - How well can a radiator work with a towel hanging on it? I'm thinking underfloor heating will never need cleaning, no moving parts, and can be left on during cold snaps, but set on the timer for the rest of the winter. But all of this is from reading not experience - what do you guys think?

    For ambiance, I would go for sterno gel. They are like candles on steroids, but without sparks, so much safer than burning wood. realflame.com has a bunch.

  • sayde
    11 years ago

    Ours heat lamps emit white light, not red. This was a last minute thought and so glad -- use it all the time. Makes the bathroom a comfortable place not just to shower and bathe, but also for undressing/dressing. Love this, love the heated floors and the heated towel rack.

  • cybersal
    11 years ago

    We bought a 1960s "modern" type Ike-damaged home in Galveston. It is 1,000 feet from the beach at 57th, so there was no flooding from the gulf but the giant deluge from the bayside came across the island and 18 inches into the house. We have replaced EVERY thing, all plumbing, wiring, central a/c, doors, all cabinets, every thing. Except for the windows, closet poles and the UFO heating lamps. In bathrooms we replaced the center lighting, vanity lighting, vent & lighting, but decided to keep the heat lamps. Since we won't be using much in the way of heat normally (maybe Feb, March) they are just the thing for chilly morning showers. The building inspectors are happy with every step of work we have done and had no problem with approving them. I just wish I had them in my bathroom at the main residence 150 miles inland. That bathroom never warms up enough. Normally the only other places I see them are hotels that are getting a little long in the tooth.

  • melloddc1_aol_com
    10 years ago

    i have a heat lamp in my new bath. interesting note when i went to buy another infrared bulb. the salesperson told me red is usually only used for chicken coops to hatch chickens. i always thought they had to be the red bulbs which don't give off much light just heat. so he sold me the infrared white bulbs which give off heat and light. FYI

  • weissbach_b_ghc_org
    10 years ago

    I just had tiles put in my bathroom and they are cold!!! Does anyone know if a ceiling heating bulb would warm them up at an average ceiling to floor distance?

  • Lamp89
    8 years ago

    I saw such lamps before in a motel.

    Check Habitat for Humanity ReStores. Once I saw an old lady donate such fixture you are talking about.

    You could just use a standard flood light fixture like in the setup in the image I found on Google Images.

    And I think a heat lamp should heat up your floor with enough time.

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:2002408}}

  • lee676
    8 years ago

    Just make sure it's rated for a 250 watt floodlamp bulb

  • yardkay
    8 years ago

    I put heat lamps in every bathroom of my new house because I was looking forward to the warmth when my or the kids come out of the bath/shower. I put them right outside the bath/showers. But even though I put in a clear 250 watt heating bulb, when you stand under them, you don't feel any warmth. It's like they are not even there. What am I doing wrong. everyone else seems to love them, and I thought I would too, but they don't seem to work. I bought the Broan 164 2 light heater and ventilation fan. I have a 250 watt bulb in one (controlled by a timer) and a regular bulb in the other.

  • yardkay
    8 years ago

    I put heat lamps in every bathroom of my new house because I was looking forward to the warmth when my or the kids come out of the bath/shower. I put them right outside the bath/showers. But even though I put in a clear 250 watt heating bulb, when you stand under them, you don't feel any warmth. It's like they are not even there. What am I doing wrong. everyone else seems to love them, and I thought I would too, but they don't seem to work. I bought the Broan 164 2 light heater and ventilation fan. I have a 250 watt bulb in one (controlled by a timer) and a regular bulb in the other.

  • attofarad
    8 years ago

    I put combination heater/exhaust fans in 3 of my baths. They are on timers (5-10-15-30 minute push-buttons), so that the wife doesn't leave them on and run up the bill. Not quite as instant to feel as the heat lamps, but much more effective after the first minute. She wanted always heated floors, but had to settle for heaters on short timers and heated toilet seats.

  • bus_driver
    8 years ago

    About 1994, I wired a new house for my daughter and her husband. Per their request, the ceiling heat lamps are immediately in front of the showers. I found them quite effective when testing when the house was complete. But they say that they never use them. I do not know why.
    I do have the combination fan-light-heater units in my house. I think it takes many more watts with these to feel warmth than with the heat lamps.
    And we have the electric radiant in the floor under the tile in the bathrooms. It is on for just a couple of hours per day. Wife loves it!

  • lee676
    8 years ago

    Just ordered an infrared heat lamp for my new bathroom. Not the Broan one with a built-in exhaust fan (too noisy) or the Air King that's nicer looking but I've never used, but rather something like a Progress P6952-16TG that has a simple round bezel like a typical recessed floodlamp, and a separate quieter exhaust fan. Heat lamp will be positioned in the ceiling about a foot in front of the sink and mirror.

    Should I put a timer switch on the heat lamp? And if so, a new-style electronic one with buttons for different time lengths, or the traditional mechanical timer knob? Many of those are irritatingly loud as they slowly turn towards off. Or I could just put it on a regular light switch.

  • enduring
    7 years ago

    I am bumping this thread.

    Lee676, what did you get, in the way of switches? I have the Broan installed but no bulbs yet (I still have to tile the shower :) I had the electrician put in a timer, like one would have for an exhaust fan. I am hoping this will be the ticket. In our old bath we had a regular toggle switch to the heating lamp and sometimes it got left on. Though, usually it got turned off, because the room would just get too hot by the end of the shower, dressing, etc. Loved the infrared lamps in the old bathroom and DH insisted that we have one setup in the new bathroom. While I have been using the other bathroom, during the bathroom remodel, I miss the lamps a lot. Even with central heat and radiant floor heat, I miss the lamps when I get out of the tub. It just feels drafty and cool.

  • lee676
    7 years ago

    So far it's just on a regular switch, but the renovation isn't quite complete yet. I plan to change it to some sort of timer, but haven't decided on whether to use a mechanical twist knob or an silent electronic control (it will be one of the two, as I don't want a 250-watt lamp inadvertently left on). I really like the Pass & Seymour/Legrand Adorne switches which I'll be using in another bathroom without a heatlamp - they're the most elegant looking switchgear I've yet seen - but they don't seem to have a timer in that line.

    The infrared heat lamp itself works great BTW - it's strategically placed in front of the sink and mirror, and gets toasty and warm underneath it, and immediately upon being switched on and without a draft. I wound up getting the Globe Electric 90057 fixture which was half the price of the Progress unit; it's a remodeler fixture rather than one designed for new construction, but it still can be used in new construction nonetheless.

  • enduring
    7 years ago

    Thanks Lee676, I looked up the Pass & Seymour/Legrand Adorne switches and they are beautiful, I see what you mean about elegant. Too late for me, I have all decor type switches. In my old fashioned bathroom I have a twisty timer. I thought it was in keeping with the look of the room. It is working very well and didn't much at all. In the second bathroom, which has a modern look, I went with an electric timer. What ever the electrician had on his truck.

    I just got my 2 each 250 watt infrared bulbs in place. I bought the clear ones at the large local farm store in the chicken department :) They will do the trick when we step out of the shower. Dang, I still haven't got that shower tiled yet!

  • jordansmith_2008
    7 years ago

    I'm about to install a heat lamp over my client's walk-in tub--the kind where you get in from the side and fill it up with hot water and bask. One very good reason to have radiant heat overhead: you have to drain the tub to get out (unless you're a monkey). And y'know what? It takes time for 45+ gallons to drain away. All that luxurious bathing gets you wet...and cold.

  • enduring
    7 years ago

    Sounds like a great solution to those types of tubs. I love my timer. Used it yesterday when I got my new zero degree marble counter installed. There was frost forming on the counter. Had to wait a bit for things to warm up, so I turned the infrared on with the timer. It remained on for the prescribed time. It even got reset a few times because that stone was COLD.

  • jmaves
    7 years ago

    Just finished remodeling bath with terrific results. Only trouble is, my contractor talked me out of an iron tub. I'm a serious bath addict, but the bath loses heat quickly. Part of the reason is the very nice Utilitech exhaust fan is linked to the overhead lamp over the tub. I can't seem to find a combination heat lamp/ventilator that doesn't have a light built into it. Will I have to rewire?

  • hombre
    7 years ago

    HELP! I am wanting to put in a recessed heat lamp that is directional above a shower. I have a vaulted ceiling with a shower. We are going to raise the glass (may vent may not; BTW how much clearance do you need for shower exhaust without venting?), put in a directional heat lamp (just 250W but need to make sure it can go in shower), etc.
    Can someone point me in the right direction on a recessed, directional heat lamp for in ceiling/attic use? Can remove/redirect insulation as it is in attic. THANKS!

  • VWFeature
    7 years ago

    Underfloor heating is awesome. Radiant heat lamps are easier to retrofit, less $$. Instant heat, great after shower. I have a portable floorstanding parabolic heater- heats me, not the room.

    Any radiant is better than fan blown air.

  • bus_driver
    7 years ago

    Even though the ceiling radiant lamps have fallen out of favor, remember that the old ways work now as well as they ever did.
    My wife does like our radiant heat under the bathroom floor tiles.

  • aturovidal88
    7 years ago

    I'm about to install a heat lamp over my client's walk-in tub--the kind where you get in from the side and fill it up with hot water and bask. One very good reason to have radiant heat overhead: you have to drain the tub to get out (unless you're a monkey). And y'know what? It takes time for 45+ gallons to drain away. All that luxurious bathing gets you wet...and cold.

    If you are finding the best solar powered lights for your home, view this website and read quality reviews about Solar Flood Lights

    This post was edited by aturovidal88 on Sun, Nov 23, 14 at 2:22

  • lostmotion
    7 years ago

    I have a 250W heat lamp in my garage over the bench to keep me from freezing in northern OH winters. It is screwed into a surface mount porcelain utility socket which gets very hot in a short time. If you're considering putting one in a can make sure it is rated for such service. A conventional IC can would probably keep tripping the thermal.

  • Nancy in Mich
    6 years ago

    From what I have read on these heat lamps, the ceiling height is quite important. In a room with high ceilings, you are not going to feel the heat as well.

    I have a Nutone exhaust fan/heater fan/light/nightlight combo that was professionally installed on its own circuit in 2006. We blew out the heater element and had to replace it (hubby was so proud of himself!). Then the light stopped working, as a matter of fact it went POP loudly and flashed brightly, so hubby wanted the whole unit replaced. I decided to go with the same model because 1. the hole in the ceiling is THAT big and 2. Panasonic fans don't seem to use the 6" duct, and we didn't want to have anybody crawl through all of that insulation to change it. So we bought a whole new one and hired our contractor to replace it while he was here doing other jobs. He simply changed out all the guts, leaving the housing in place. Now, three years later, we have blown out the heater again!

    So I am done with this set up and when we remodel the bathroom I plan to have him put in a Panasonic fan and some heat lamps.

    I appreciate all of the discussion about your experiences with these lamps. I have been looking online and I see this one. Aside from it sticking down from the ceiling and becoming a "design element" that does not add anything to to the decor, I thought that it had the advantage of being point-able.

    I have your standard 1978 ranch home with 8 ft ceilings. The shower is across from the toilet, and the vanity is about 3 feet past where you would stand getting out of the shower. Would you get a couple of these obtrusive point-able lamps, or in-ceiling stationary ones, one outside the shower, one above the vanity?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Heat lamp fixture that hangs below the ceiling.

  • lee676
    6 years ago

    These are interesting, never seen them before. Hard to answer your question without looking at a floorplan, but being able to aim them towards different places could be useful. I wonder if the bottom of the fixture becomes too hot to move by hand if the lamp's been on for awhile. We're talking 250 watts here.

  • Nancy in Mich
    6 years ago

    Lee676, that is a very good point. No, you would not want to be moving that lamp once it had been on for a minute or two. I am thinking that these things hanging from the ceiling would drive me nuts. They are so ... 1980 I guess. Too busy for one small bathroom once you figure in the actual lighting. I am leaning toward the other option, one by shower, one by vanity.

    Did you ever put a timer on yours, and if so, what kind did you choose? Are you using the red bulbs? Since the white bulbs put out so much light, I would think they put out less heat, no? You can get one or the other for your watt, so the bright white light has to put out less heat.

  • Nancy in Mich
    6 years ago

    Lee676, that is a very good point. No, you would not want to be moving that lamp once it had been on for a minute or two. I am thinking that these things hanging from the ceiling would drive me nuts. They are so ... 1980 I guess. Too busy for one small bathroom once you figure in the actual lighting. I am leaning toward the other option, one by shower, one by vanity.

    Did you ever put a timer on yours, and if so, what kind did you choose? Are you using the red bulbs? Since the white bulbs put out so much light, I would think they put out less heat, no? You can get one or the other for your watt, so the bright white light has to put out less heat.

  • enduring
    6 years ago

    Hi Nancy, I put a Broan 2 lamp ceiling recessed heat lamp in my most resent bath remodel, last year. I have it on a timer, what ever the electrician had, 10min, 20min, etc -electronic type. I had a heat lamp in the old bathroom and DH loved it and wanted it again, so I went ahead and had one put in this time. I never use it :( I find that I am never really that cold when I get out of the shower with the radiant floor heating. The other thing is that with the exhaust fan in the shower and the heat lamp outside the shower, I have a sneaking suspicion that the exhaust fan is sucking all the heat out before it has a chance to warm me up. Maybe thats not how radiant heating works, but I don't get warm. My ceilings are 8'. I don't know why the old one heated and the new one doesn't other than the exhaust system near by. The old exhaust system was very ineffective. The good thing about the heat lamp is that it puts out a lot of light for those rare occasions that I need it extra bright in the BR. like when the stone people needed more light to mount my counter top, the 500watts was very bright, lol. It did warm the place up a bit. The fan wasn't running.

  • Nancy in Mich
    6 years ago

    Enduring, it sounds like you have the white ones, then. I wonder if the red lamps would give more heat?

    Thanks so much for your report. It really does help to get the personal experiences when you are making these decisions. Do you think that the floor heat warms up the room a bit, not just the tiles and your feet?

    There is so much to consider when gutting a bathroom, isn't there? We do have a heat vent in this bathroom, but the wall to the exterior is not likely very well insulated. It is hard to tell if the aluminum slider window from 1978 is the total reason for it being so cold sitting on the toilet under the window, or if the wall is a culprit, as well. It gets so cold that the impulse is to add any source of heating that one can get her hands on!

  • enduring
    6 years ago

    Yes the floor seems to add a bit of warmth. I noticed this in my first bathroom, (the one with the soapstone sink and custom vanity that I've posted so often). I used that room for bathing while I gutted and had the second bath remodeled, this last 1-1/2 years. I noticed that with the floor heat on, I was warmer than when it was off. I just had the tub, no shower in that bathroom. It might be nice to have a heat lamp over the toilet :) if it is cold, but if you gut the room, you'll be able to insulate better.

    I don't know if the red lamps put out more heat then the white lamps. They are both 250 watts, so I assumed they put out the same heat. I always used the red ones in the old bathroom and for the baby chicks :) But I don't know if it matters in the bathroom. I've heard that the red lights for chicks helps them not peck at each other.

  • Jennifer O'Neill
    2 years ago
    Very helpful info on the drop-down heat lamp fixture, thank you. I need to keep warm somehow when I’m sitting on the shower bench and I’m out of the spray (e.g., scrubbing down a golden retriever after her 5th skunk attack).

    I am also hardwiring a heated towel rack to the wall perpendicular to the shower. I had a portable towel heater in Connecticut, but I’ve been mourning its theft by my awesome movers along with $45,000 worth of other stuff. [NOTE: AVOID STATE TO STATE MOVERS IN NJ.]

    I decided on a mounted vs. floor towel rack this time because it’s become part of the room aesthetic. Brushed nickel everywhere!
  • Nancy in Mich
    2 years ago

    Just in case anyone wonders what I ended up with, I thought I would post it when I saw this thread pop up again. I had problems with the spacing of these red light bulb heat lamps in my bathroom. There was just not enough room between the shower and the vanity for even one or two heat lamps in the ceiling and the vent fan. Tiny bathroom and not wanting to make it look like the ceiling was so busy! I remembered the supplemental heaters I use in two other rooms. They are radiant heat cove heaters that sit up by the ceiling on the wall and radiate heat waves down into the room, heating up whatever the heat waves hit. So my floor, sink, towels and such get warmed, then radiate the heat into the room. I did not have enough room for one as long as I had a soffit above the vanity and a dropped ceiling in the shower.

    Once my contractor hit the scene, though, he suggested getting rid of the soffit and the dropped ceiling. Yes! Now I would have more than 3 ft of ceiling width to work with, and I would have the wall space above the entry door for the cove heater. So I ordered it and my contractor installed it. We keep the room door closed and have the thermostat for the cove heater set at 72 for the day, and several degrees warmer for shower time in the morning. It is SO nice in there! If you stand still, you can feel the subtle warmth "shining" down on you from the cove heater when it is cycled on. If I want to heat the room for an immediate shower, though, this system does take time to warm the room if I want the room warmer than 72 and it is not morning shower time. And since I have it on the wall above the room door, it does not shine down into the shower, which is off to the side. So it will not be as responsive as a red heat lamp for a use like Jennifer O'Neil needs. But for supplemental heat in a regular bathroom, it is great! These heaters are silent and come in 120 or 240 (money saving) volt configurations. Here is a photo of mine. Since it is at the top of the phot, you may have to click on the photo to see it. Houzz crops photos in the body of posts. Comfort Cove Heaters


  • ladydoc01
    2 years ago

    Hi what was the cost of the units?



  • Nancy in Mich
    2 years ago

    If you are asking about the Comfort Cove, I put a link there to allow you to see that, since it depends on the size you need and which thermostat you want. Mine was around $130.

  • David Ramsey
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Why not? Stepping out the hot water bath is extremely painful, I prefer changing one of the bathroom bulbs into these kinds of heat lamp. Since I don't want to remodel the bathroom ceiling completely, I will just replace the ordinary bulbs with the heat bulbs. The 250 watt infrared bulb should be ample to heat up the 50 square feet shower room. I will update the outcome after installation.

  • Nancy in Mich
    last year

    David, it probably will not be as easy as that to do. Modern light fixtures usually have 60 - 100 watt limits. You will need a light socket that will take the 250 watt bulb without risk of fire.

  • David Ramsey
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I see Nancy, thanks for reminding me. I will check if the bulb socket supports 250W.

  • Nancy in Mich
    last year

    It should not be too hard to switch it out for a fixture with a ceramic socket, if you can find one. Or just buy the fixture intended for the bulb. Here is one. I was considering This one for my bathroom before it dawned on me to get the cove heater. If you have a 15 amp circuit free on your panel and can (or know someone who can) do the new circuit, it will really heat the room up!

  • David Nolan
    11 months ago

    I would like a recessed ceiling heat lamp for a sloped ceiling above my shower but am unable to find one. Does anyone have a link they could share?

  • Nancy in Mich
    11 months ago

    Sure, Build.com and other sites sell them. Found one in about two minutes. Here But they are not going to work for a sloped ceiling. No one probably makes one that swivels like you would need for that application. Heat in a radiant form, as in a light bulb heater, travels in a straight line and you will be heating whatever surface the ceiling pitch has the bulb pointing at. You need to build out a triangular box to put the fixture in. You can drywall it so that it is not as obvious as mine was.

    It is not a great picture, but in the upper left side of the photo you can see the maple triangular box that gives my light fixture a level surface to hang on.


  • David Nolan
    11 months ago

    Nancy thank you for your kind information. It appears I am looking for a product that may not be produced. Although there are recessed lamps for sloped ceilings used for lighting I do not find a similar product for heating. I have been searching all the web engines....


    A new construction recessed ceiling heat lamp/light which fits between the ceiling joists would create a very large obtrusive flat surface in the ceiling unlike the pendant light that you successfully installed our it would need some creative framing to reduce its size. Now I am rethinking this........it might be doable. It would have to recess upward unlike yours which went downward. :)


  • HU-933779177
    26 days ago

    I remember back in July 1971 summer vacation we stayed at The Spanish Inn in Arlington between Dallas & Ft. Worth & our restroom had a clear red heating ceiling lamp & that was 1st time I became familiar with these interesting lights used to dry folks up after bathing. Most hotels & motels even today in 2021 lack such restroom features.