We are often asked if special lights are needed in bathrooms and the answer to this question is very definitely yes!
As we are all aware, water and electricity should never mix so we need to ensure that we use the correct lights with built in protection from the inevitable little splashes. Luckily for us, there is an easy to use rating that will help us to choose the right level of protection for our needs which is called an IP rating.
IP stands for ingress protection and is followed by two numbers. The first is for the level of protection from dust which ranges from 0 – 6 and the second number is the steam and water resistance rating and this is the one we need to pay attention to for our bathrooms. This ranges from 0 – 8, with 0 being non-resistant and 8 being fully submersible.
In addition to the IP rating, there are zones within a bathroom which are generally referred to as 0, 1, and 2 with the last zone sometimes referred to as zone 3 and other times as an outside zone.
Zone 0 is a place where you should only ever use the highest IP rating of 68. These are specially designed lights which will generally be recessed and can be used in areas such as the side of the bath where water will submerse them.
In zones 1 and 2 you should always use a minimum of IP44. Just to give you an idea IP44 is also the standard required for outdoor lights, so they are safe to be rained on.
For zone 3, or the outside zone, is the rest of the room which at least 60cm from all baths, showers and basins. This area could use a lesser rating, but we generally don’t recommend using less than IP44 anywhere in the bathroom as splashes can still occur in this area with relative ease.
As the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry!