DO I NEED SPECIAL LIGHTS IN MY BATHROOM?
The answer to this one is probably "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 - where you have electricity and water there is an increased risk and this is why the regulations are quite specific.
For the purposes of the regulations the bathroom is divided into zones and the light fittings are given a two digit number known as an IP (Ingress Protection) number or classification. The first number of the IP rating indicates the degree of protection against dust particles or solid objects and ranges from 0 for no protection up to 6 for total protection. It is the second number that is of more interest in bathroom lighting as this represents the degree of protection from moisture and ranges from 0 for no protection up to 8 for a light that will be totally submerged in water.
Zone 0 - 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.
Zone 1 - 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.
Zone 2 - 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.
Not Zoned – 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.
This chart offers a little more information on the IP ratings and the level of protection they provide.
IP stands for Ingress Protection (shortened to IP) which is followed by 2 digits.
The first digit relates to solid particles and dust. The second digit relates to water and steam.
If reading's not your favourite pastime, or you're short on time, you can watch our helpful video guide on bathroom lights.
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