Understanding IP Rating on Bathroom Wall Lights

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As you know bathrooms have the potential to get very damp while you are bathing so ensuring that your bathroom wall lights are not going to let in water you should understand the IP rating system before buying. The IP rating system consists of the letters IP which precede two numbers. IP stands for ingress protection, or in other words, how resistant the fitting is to letting things in. Typically bathroom wall lights need to meet a certain level of protection from water, steam and dust. This ensures the light stays clean and hygienic, as well as keeping the electrical circuits safe.

The two numbers included in each IP rating refer to their level of protection against letting the above examples into the light fitting. The first digit refers to the dust resistance of the light with the second digit referring to the water resistance. The standard for bathroom wall lights is a rating of IP44. This gives the light a safety level to go anywhere in a bathroom within zones 1, 2 or 'not zoned'. Zone 1 is the area directly above the bath so obviously this is where the majority of the steam is going to meet the light.

Zone 2 refers to a 0.6m perimeter around the bath as well as any sinks, this zone also includes any lighting placed within a height of 2.25m from the floor. Finally there is a not zoned area which is anywhere in the bathroom outside of zones 1 and 2, this was previously referred to as zone 3. The lighting in this area does not require a specific IP rating, however some lights may state they are not suitable for bathroom use.

You will find that although most bathroom wall lights would be placed in zones 2 or 3 they are designed to withstand the higher moisture areas of zone 1, directly above the bath. This should give you piece of mind when choosing your bathroom wall lights.

The higher IP65 rating should be used if the lighting will be subject to any water jets, perhaps for cleaning; this higher rating is designed to keep the light safe with direct contact with water.

If a light is rated IP67 or above this means the light is completely submergible up to 1 metre, this rating would refer to lights placed inside the bath or shower itself. This area is referred to as zone 0 as direct contact with water is a certainty. For lighting which will be submerged deeper than this for use in swimming pools the rating should be IP68.

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