Switch for a heated bathroom mirror
April 11, 2011 2:04 AM   Subscribe

I need to buy an electric switch.

I have a bathroom mirror with a heating pad on the back to prevent it steaming up. I need to add a switch to control when the heating pad comes on.

I need something that:
* Is way smaller than a normal (light) switch
* Has an indicator of some kind so that I know when it's on
* Can support this kind of current (I don't have specs at the moment)
* The cable should not be visible

For the last point the switch would be at the side of the mirror, so the cable needs to enter the switch at it's side to remain hidden.

Infra-red switches are a possibility too, but I couldn't find one which matches everything above.
posted by devnull to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you considered wiring it to the bathroom's regular light switch, so it's simply on whenever you are in the bathroom and turns off when you're not? Mirror heaters are very low power.

Otherwise I see a lot of "Oh, damn, I forgot to pre-heat the mirror before my shower" frustration coming.

If you're really looking for a manual switch you are probably after a "lamp switch", of the sort that's usually halfway down a lamp cord. There are many mechanisms, but they're always tiny.
posted by rokusan at 2:33 AM on April 11, 2011

Response by poster: That's what's planned, but I was concerned it would eat electricity. But you say that it doesn't, which pretty much solves the problem :)
posted by devnull at 2:36 AM on April 11, 2011

To go along with rokusan's answer, I was intrigued by the idea of a heated mirror (I am remodeling one of our bathrooms right now) and looked up one of the companies that makes them to check them out. Anyway, the installation instructions for this particular brand (here) specify that they are designed to be wired to the light or fan switch so that they won't inadvertently be left on.
posted by TedW at 5:23 AM on April 11, 2011

A typical heating pad is 65 Watts. Here in Vermont ($.15/ KWH rates), that would costs you about 15 cents for every 15 hours of operation. Negligible, methinks. If you are concerned, then you can put it on a fan timer switch, commonly available for bathrooms. That will allow you to control it and to have it automatically turn off. $20, maybe.
posted by FauxScot at 5:30 AM on April 11, 2011

I came here to post the same comment as rokusan: just connect it up to the same switch as used for the main lights. You might also want to look into a thermal cut-off switch, just in case you leave the lights on by mistake.
posted by alby at 6:19 AM on April 11, 2011

You might instead connect it to the fan switch, so that it is only on during your shower, and not when you are using the bathroom for other, non-steamy purposes.
posted by rockindata at 6:34 AM on April 11, 2011

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