Is it really dangerous to use a hair dryer in the bathtub? This is a question that many people have asked, and there are conflicting opinions on the matter.
Some say using a hair dryer in the bathtub is perfectly safe as long as you take proper precautions, while others believe it is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
So, what is the truth? Can a hair dryer in the bathtub kill you?
- Electrical Shock Risk: Hair dryers can cause lethal electric shocks when in contact with water.
- GFCIs: Modern homes have GFCIs to prevent shocks but aren’t foolproof.
- Safety: Use electrical appliances like hair dryers away from water sources to prevent accidents.
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Can You Get Electrocuted in the Bath?
For many of us, taking a relaxing bath is the perfect way to unwind after a long day. But did you know there’s a danger of electrocuting yourself if you’re not careful?
In a few terrifying incidents, people have been electrocuted by taking a relaxing bath or shower.
According to Rick Coons, CEO at Indiana Electric Cooperatives, “Bathrooms are the most dangerous rooms in homes because of the large number of appliances used and multiple water sources present.
Not following proper rules regarding electricity can lead to serious injury or even death.”
The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports that more than 30,000 non-fatal shocks occur yearly .
According to the organization, 60 people are electrocuted yearly due to consumer products such as small appliances, power tools, and lighting equipment.
If you’re using your hair dryer in the tub, you could easily get an electric shock or even worse!
What Happens When You Drop a Hairdryer in the Bath?
When electrical equipment falls into water, it can interact with the water, causing it to conduct electricity. If you come into touch with water, this voltage might be passed to your body.
When the dryer falls into the somewhat conductive bathwater, a “ground fault” is formed because the metal drain pipe for the bathtub functions as a ground route.
If your body is submerged in the water between the dryer and the drain, enough current may run through your body to stop your heart.
Only when the human body completes an electrical circuit does one become electrocuted?
Unless one is bathing in distilled water, bath water is more conductive than the human body, and the current would flow through the water from the hair dryer to the ground.
However, modern hair dryers include a GFCI near the plug end of the power cord that will shut off the power to the hairdryer in case of a “short,” also known as a ground fault, that passes through you.
These were required due to the number of people who died after using hair dryers in bathtubs/showers.
Since 1975, most areas of the United States have mandated ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in bathrooms .
A GFCI is a circuit breaker that cuts off electricity when it detects an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing current. These circuit breakers are designed to prevent electrical shocks from occurring.
According to the National Electric Code, a restroom must have at least one GFCI-protected outlet. Each bathroom should have two or three GFCI-protected outlets.
What To Do If Your Hair Dryer Falls In Water?
If your hair dryer falls in the water, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to salvage your hair dryer. Avoid touching the dryer while still plugged in water to avoid electrocution.
Secondly, drain the water from the bath. Remove the plug from the drain hole and remove the drain cover. Make sure to use gloves.
The next step is to discard the dryer. An electrical device exposed to water cannot be guaranteed to be safe. Do not be tempted to use it, no matter how good it looks on the outside.
What Are the Odds of Surviving Electric Injuries?
Usually, minor electric shocks, such as those caused by tiny domestic equipment usually do not need medical attention but quick first aid.
But if someone has been electrocuted, you should contact a doctor.
In any case, if you encounter someone who has had an electric injury, here is how you can be of help:
- Do not touch the individual since they may have come into contact with an electrical source.
- Call 911.
- Turn off the power source if it is safe to do so. Make sure to use a nonconductor like wood or plastic.
- Administer CPR if the person has no pulse.
- If the person has been burnt, do not try to remove the clothes or cover them with blankets.
Bathroom Safety Tips
The bathroom is one of the busiest places in a home and can be among the most dangerous.
Water and electricity are sworn enemies, and the bathroom has both. It’s, therefore, imperative to take safety precautions to avoid fatal accidents.
Here are some vital tips to keep in mind.
- Use only approved hair dryers.
- Before utilizing tiny electric gadgets, thoroughly dry your hands.
- Test your GFCI outlets regularly to ensure they are operational.
- Use central heating rather than an electric heater to keep your bathroom warm.
- Light fixtures that might catch fire if water or steam exposure should be covered.
- Unplug all non-essential electrical appliances.
- Turn off the power when installing a GFCI outlet, and use tools with insulated handles.
This video shows some more tips:
Is it ever safe to use a hair dryer near water?
No, it is never safe to use a hair dryer near water. Water is a conductor of electricity, and using a hair dryer in or near water significantly increases the risk of electric shock, which can be fatal. Always prioritize safety and keep electrical devices away from water sources.
Are GFCIs completely safe against hair dryer accidents in water?
While GFCIs provide some protection, they are not guaranteed to prevent all electric shock accidents with hair dryers in water.
How can I ensure safety when using a hair dryer?
Always use hair dryers in dry areas away from water sources, such as bathtubs or sinks filled with water to ensure safety.
Hair dryers are small devices that require proper care and maintenance. They are very useful for drying wet hair quickly.
But they can cause serious damage if used improperly. So always follow these simple rules to ensure you get the best out of your hair dryer.
- 1. Alarming Statistics. Electrical Contractor Magazine. https://www.ecmag.com/section/safety/alarming-statistics
- 2. WHAT IS a GFCI? https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/099_0.pdf