I See a Lawsuit Coming

In California, lighting in bathrooms must be high efficacy, or must be controlled by a manual-on occupant sensor. The 2005 Residential Compliance Manual further states, “At least one high-efficacy luminaire should be installed so that it can be left off the occupant sensor circuit to ensure that all of the luminaires don’t switch off while someone is in the bath. Even dual technology
sensors may not detect a motionless and silent occupant.”

So, if you don’t have a 4-pin fluorescent light in your bathroom, then your lights must be controlled by an occupant sensor. Persons with dimmers need not apply. However, depending on the location of the sensor and the activities of any occupant, all the lights may go off. Well, there you go. Someone taking a shower in a wet, soapy area and the lights go off. Tell me there won’t be a lawsuit if the occupant slips and falls.

Let’s say the bathroom does have a high efficacy luminaire, in addition to an incandescent or halogen light above the sink. As the compliance manual states, the occupant should never just turn on the vanity light. Instead, the occupant should turn on all the lights, just in case the vanity light goes off. Now, how exactly is energy being saved when you have to turn on all your lights?

I still don’t understand how the State can mandate the installation of an occupant sensor that may cast the unwary into darkness when the State is aware of the sensor’s shortcomings. Why exactly is California sending people to Sacramento to require us to install a defective product?

I think after the lawyers get done with this silly law, we will all need to post a sign in our bathrooms warning family members and guests that the lights may go off on them while they are in the bathroom. Furthermore, before anyone may use the facilities, we will need them to sign a disclaimer stating that they are aware the lights may go off on them and that they waive all rights against the homeowner should they slip and fall in a darkened bathroom.

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