Ip ratings explained
Do I need special lights for the bathroom & outside?
The answer to this one is nearly always "YES". Great care must be taken when selecting a bathroom light as all bathroom lighting must conform to the current regulations which are designed with safety in mind. Bathrooms are considered to be a special location for electrical installations because they have an increased risk of electric shock for the users, due to being so close to water.
Everyone knows the types of electrical products that are found in bathrooms: lighting, showers, fans, heaters, shaver sockets and towel rails. All of these are governed by rules for installation and contractors must follow them, using certified products, and make sure they comply with the regulations.
Electrical contractors will make bathroom installations as safe as possible by carefully following wiring and building regulations, choosing specially designed equipment and employing a good “splash” of common sense (if you pardon the pun!).
Always consult an electrician if you are unfamiliar with wiring
What are Bathroom Zones?
For safety purposes, bathrooms are divided into zones and the IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers) wiring regulations indicate what types of lighting can be installed safely in each zone.
Each of the bathroom electrical zones illustrated below has specific requirements regarding the electrical equipment that can be installed and used in that zone.
This is inside the bath or shower tray itself and any light here must be low voltage and rated IPx7 (the x is used here because the degree of dust protection does not apply to bathrooms and any number will be ok). Lights rated IPx7 will provide total protection when immersed in water.
Is above the bath or shower to a height of 2.25 metres above floor level and a light fitting with a minimum of IPx4 is needed here.
An area stretching to 0.6 metres outside the bath and above the bath or shower if over 2.25 metres. A light fitting of at least IPx4 is needed. Zone 2 also includes the area above the sink in a radius of 0.6 metres from the taps.
Refers to the area beyond Zone 2 and was previously known as Zone 3. There is no longer a specific IP number for this area and any light fitting can be used unless it is specifically marked as not for use in bathrooms.
What are IP ratings?
Light fittings are given a two digit number known as an IP (Ingress Protection) number or rating. The rating indicates the standards are used to define the levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies such as dirt and water.
The first digit stands for the level of protection that the enclosure provides against solid bodies like dirt and dust particles and ranges from 0 for not protection to 6 for total protection.
The second digit is the one that is important in bathrooms and it relates to the degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against water and ranges from 0 for no protection, up to 8 for a light that will be totally submerged in water.
Our bathroom lighting range has been carefully designed and constructed with safety in mind. All our bathroom lights are IP rated for zones 2 & 3, so you know exactly where in your bathroom it is safe to install. We do not supply lights for zone 1.
If you are unsure that your light is suitable for the zone, always consult an electrician
What the IP number ratings mean
First digit (solids)
0: Not protected
1: Protected against objects larger than 50mm
2: Protected against objects larger than 12.5mm
3: Protected against objects larger than 2.5mm
4: Protected against objects larger than 1mm
5: Protected against majority of dust
Second digit (liquids)
0: Not protected
1: Protection against vertical drips of water
2: Protected against vertical drips of water when fitting tilted up to 15°
3: Protected against spraying water up to 60° from vertical
4: Protected against splashing water from all directions [Outdoor & Bathroom safe]
5: Protected against water jets [Outdoor & Bathroom safe]
6: Protected against powerful water jets [Outdoor & Bathroom safe]
7: Suitable for immersion up to 1 metre [Outdoor & Bathroom safe]
8: Suitable for continuous immersion beyond 1 metre [Outdoor & Bathroom safe]