We frequently get asked about the appropriate lights for use in the bathroom. A bathroom is a multi-use environment so lighting needs to be suitable for both functional tasks such as shaving or applying make-up as well as condusive to relaxing in after a long day. Electricity and water do not make good bedfellows so here's some guidance on how to safely light your bathroom for all intended uses.
What is IP44 rating?
An IP code is an International Protection marking which indicates a standard of protection against intrusion from factors such as human contact, dust and water. IP44 specifically indicates protection from the intrusion of water. Lights which are IP44 rated are designed for use in bathrooms and other environments where water spray is a risk. Not all bathroom lights are at risk of water intrusion and therefore may not need to be IP44 rated.
How to tell if your lights need to be IP44 rated
Whether your bathroom lights need to be IP44 rated depends on where you're going to position them, specifically how far away from a water source. The diagram above illustrates the 'zones' that require IP44 lights. If in doubt, consult the electrician who will be installing the lights and be aware that some electricians are unhappy installing anything but IP44 lights anywhere in the bathroom whatever the regs!
Zone zero refers to any submerged lights within the bath, shower or sink. These lights must be totally immersion proof. They must be SELV (Separated Extra Low Voltage max. 12Volts) and have a minimum rating of IP67.
Zone one refers to the area above the bath to a height of 2.25m (7' 4") from the floor. The recommended IP rating for lights in this area is IP65, meaning the light is protected against low pressure jets of water from the shower. If the light is 240V then a 30ma residual current circuit breaker (RCCD) must also be installed to protect the circuit within this zone.
Zone 2 refers to the area 60cm (1' 11") around the perimeter of the bath or shower and to a height of 2.25m (7' 4") from the floor. It is also usually suggested to consider the area around a sink, within a 60cm (1' 11") radius of a tap to be considered as zone 2. A minimum IP rating of IP44 is required in this zone.
Zone 3 (outside zones)
Zone 3 refers to anywhere outside of zones 0, 1, and 2. There is no need to use IP rated fittings in this zone however if there is any chance of a direct water jet being used for cleaning purposes in zones 1, 2 and 3 a fitting rated a minimum of IP65 must be used. It is also sensible to apply an element of common sense. If a light fitting is within a steamy bathroom but just outside of zone 2, for example, consider if an IP44 light fitting may be more appropriate.
What is the visual difference between lights which are IP44 rated and not?
The visible difference of an IP44 bathroom light will be its lamp, or 'bulb', which is a very tiny G9 fitting surrounded by a protective capsule. This is important to consider because you will not be able to use a feature lamp, such as a Squirrel Cage filament bulb.
Can all your lights be converted for bathroom use?
Most of our lights can be converted for bathroom use, excluding adjustable fittings such as the spotlights and adjustable reading lights. If you've seen a light on our website that you'd like to use in your bathroom which isn't in our bathroom range then please contact us to enquire.
We hope you have found this post useful, we are always happy to answer any questions you may have so if you are in any doubt about which lights you require then feel free to give us a call - 01989 567416.