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Can you get a boiler fitted in your bathroom?

Purchasing or renting a property with a boiler within the bathroom may not be as unusual as you might think. In fact, some homeowners or landlords may choose to install a boiler within a bathroom for a range of reasons including saving space within the main residential areas, reducing noise or if no other area within the property was practical for the boiler installation.

However, within the UK, there are a number of regulations that must be met in order to safely and legally install a boiler within a residential property, no matter the situation within the building. There are also benefits of locating a boiler within a bathroom that we will also explore further later on.

What is the biggest factor with installing a Boiler within a Bathroom?

In addition to the general guidance that a boiler should be installed with sufficient surrounding space to safely install and subsequently maintain a boiler within the room, the main factor within any bathroom is that water and electrics do not mix!

Therefore, there are specific regulations that relate to installing an electrical device within a bathroom in order to protect the device from being splashed by water and to protect any inhabitants from reaching the device with wet hands, and the danger that is attributed to this.

For ease of understanding and applying the regulations that apply to installing electrical devices within bathrooms, zones are used. Bathrooms are split into four zonal areas, measured by the proximity to the sink, bathtub or shower tray.

In each of the zones, different rules will apply. Please see these rules below:

  • Zone 0 – Areas directly inside anything that can hold water, for example, a sink, bathtub or shower tray. By their very nature, these areas can get very wet and therefore must not have any electrical devices fitted within zone 0.
  • Zone 1 – This zone refers to any areas 2.25 meters above a zone 0 area, eg. a sink, bathtub or shower tray, and is sometimes referred to as the ‘splash zone. Due to the proximity of running water, zone 1 areas are deemed unsafe to install electrical devices within.
  • Zone 2 – Zone 2 areas are defined as those 600mm above or adjacent to a sink, bathtub or shower tray. These areas are still likely to suffer from splashes and therefore boilers must not be installed within zone 2 areas.
  • Zone 3 – The space left within the bathroom outside of zones 0 – 2 is considered zone 3. This space is considered safe to install a boiler within, as long as there is sufficient space to maintain the boiler.

These regulations can initially appear a little complex, however, they are important to keep both the device and the inhabitants within the property safe. There are many visual representations of the bathroom zones that can be found online.

These designs can help to visualise the above dimensions in a more real-life scenario. Of course, each bathroom layout may be different and therefore to check the zones within your property, it may be worth making a plan on paper or marking out each zone within the bathroom itself.

In addition, a boiler must be installed on an outside wall to support the weight of the unit itself as well as to allow the dangerous gasses produced by the boiler to be released from the property safely via the flue.

Are there Other Implications to Factor When Considering Installing a Boiler within a Bathroom?

There are other factors to consider when investigating if a boiler can be installed within a bathroom such as:

• Available space 

If there is sufficient space to install a boiler within zone 3 in a bathroom, ideally a housing should also be considered such as a cupboard with a functioning door to shield the boiler from spray, splashes, moist or dampness.

The cupboard should be big enough to provide a clearance space around the boiler to allow for air to flow around the boiler as well as ensuring there is sufficient space that the boiler components are accessible for any repairs or maintenance procedures. It is always worth checking the boiler manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that housing is safe, the correct size and for any other considerations.

• Aesthetics

Depending on the size of the bathroom, the boiler housing may be incorporated into a vanity unit or dressing area to disguise the boiler further and may also provide further storage for towels, cosmetics or cleaning products. There is a wide range of units available on the market to match the colour scheme within the bathroom and in a range of shapes, sizes and styles.

• Boiler Flue

The boiler must have a flue safely installed to remove any dangerous gases that the boiler produces away from the property and the people living there.

There are regulations specifying the distance that a flue must be installed away from windows or doors depending on the size of the property, however, as a guide, an allowance of 30-60cm away from any windows or doors (including within neighbouring properties) should be considered when designing or assessing the possibility of a boiler installation.

Such rules are in place to ensure that any harmful gases that have exited the property via the flue are prevented from entering the property via any open windows or doors.

What are the Benefits of Installing a Boiler within a Bathroom?

There is a range of benefits of having a boiler installed within a bathroom as follows:

  • Proximity to the Shower or Bath – A conventional or system boiler that has a hot water cylinder installed within the bathroom is likely to perform better due to being closer to the water outlets, as the water does not need to travel as far, therefore, resulting in hot water, quickly, at an appropriate pressure. Of course, in such scenarios, there also needs to be space for the cylinder to be housed within close proximity to, or within the bathroom itself also.
  • Plumbing – The plumbing is already in situ within a bathroom and therefore by utilising this and keeping the pipework distances minimised to the location of the boiler, this can keep the cost of the plumbing of a new or relocated system as low as possible.
  • Aesthetics and Space – By installing a boiler in the bathroom it can be kept out of sight and save vital space within other areas of the property. In addition, by minimising the plumbing and pipework requirements, can also reduce meters of unsightly pipes.

Boiler in the Bathroom Summary 

To summarise, there are strict regulations that must be adhered to in order to safely install a boiler within a bathroom however if these can be met and there is sufficient space to install a boiler in zone 3 within a bathroom, there are benefits from both the boiler performance, the cost of the installation and pipework requirements as well as improved aesthetics.

Should you need any assistance with establishing if there is sufficient space within your bathroom for a boiler installation, or require any advice regarding relocating a current boiler, please consult a qualified heating engineer.

A professional can provide invaluable advice prior to a project involving a boiler including:

  • Advice covering the regulations of the various locations permitted for a boiler
  • The most suitable type of boiler for your household and the common habitant’s usage
  • Advice on eco-friendly matters such as energy efficiency
  • The boiler size required for the property and usage
  •  Additional services such as insurance policies or maintenance plans

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