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LED Lights in the Bathroom: The importance of IP Ratings and Zonings

LED Lights

If you are installing LED Lights in your bathroom, you will first need to check the IP Rating of your fittings and whether they are suitable for the area in which you intend to use them.

What is an IP ("Ingress Protection") Rating?

All electrical enclosures are assigned an IP Rating, which provide an insight into the level of protection offered against moisture and other foreign bodies. (i.e. dust, dirt etc)

An IP rating consists of the letters IP followed by two numbers. The first number describes the level of protection offered against intrusion, while the second number refers to how water-resistant the enclosure is.

Both of these number are derived from the following series:

First Digit (Foreign Bodies):

0. No Protection.

1. Protected against solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter or a larger part of the body, such as a hand, but no protection against deliberate access.

2. Protected against solid objects larger than 12mm or a small part of the body, such as a finger.

3. Protected against entry by tools, wires etc, with a diameter of 2.5mm or more.

4. Protected against solid objects larger than 1mm (i.e. thin wires/small tools etc)

5. Limited protection against dust, but not total. Complete protection against physical contact with internal components.

6. Completely dust tight.

Second Digit (Liquid):

0. No Protection.

1. Protection against condensation.

2. Protection against water droplets equivalent to 3mm of rainfall per minute.

3. Protection against spraying water up to 60 degrees from vertical.

4. Protection against water splashing from any direction.

5. Can withstand low-pressure jets of water from any direction.

6. Can withstand powerful jets of water from any direction.

7. Capable of temporary immersion (30 minutes) at a depth of no more than 1 metre.

8. Hermetically sealed. Capable of prolonged immersion under high pressure.

With so many combinations available, it can sometimes become a bit confusing. For instance, an electronic enclosure that offers complete particle protection may offer no protection against moisture. All you need to do is match the two numbers.

What is IP Zoning?

As working with electricity in close proximity to water can be dangerous, an extra guidline called an IP Zoning is used. These split the bathroom into three main "zones" with a minimum IP requirement for each.

Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower. Any fittings situated in this zone must be low voltage (max 12V) and offer protection against complete immersion, i.e. IP67.

Zone 1 is the area just above the bath at a vertical distance of 2.25m from the floor. Any light fittings in this area need a minimum rating of IP65.

Zone 2 refers to the area beyond a horizontal distance of 0.6m from of the bath and a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone a rating of at least IP44 is required.

These zones give installers a clear, visual guideline as to what IP rated fittings can be used in which areas of the bathroom. All IP zonings are written in regulation, so need to be adhered to.

Most LED Downlights have an IP65 rating, making them suitable for use in Zone 1 and 2 of the bathroom. Our LED Strip Lights are also available with an IP65 rated coating, which means they can  also be used in the same locations.

The IP rating of a product should always be clearly stated in the product specifications. If not, contact the retailer.

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