THE RULES AND REGULATIONS EXPLAINED.
Choosing the right light for your bathroom has never been easy, but in recent years it's become that little bit harder with the addition of new rules and regulations that mean you can't put any old lights into your bathroom. Hopefully this guide will give you a better understanding of what bathroom lights can be put where and will make the job of choosing your new bathroom lighting that little bit easier.
The basic idea is that a bathroom is split into three different zones. These zones are decided upon by how close they are to water. The closer your bathroom light is to water then the higher the risk of you, water and electricity meeting which means that a greater level of insulation is required.
The system has been designed to protect the end user from the obvious potential dangers that arise when electricity and water are in close proximity. Every bathroom light is given an IP rating, which stands for Ingress Protection. The higher the IP rating, the greater the level of insulation. Each IP figure contains two numerical characters e.g. IP44. The first number refers to the products protection against dust and the second refers to its protection against moisture.
As an example of what the numbers mean then a bathroom light with a rating of IPX3 is protected against spraying water up to 60 degrees from vertical, an IPX4 bathroom light would be protected against splashing water from any direction, an IPX5 bathroom light is protected against jets of water from any direction, an IPX6 bathroom light is protected from powerful jets of water with limited ingress with no harmful effect, compared to a bathroom light with a rating of IPX7 which would be protected against total immersion in water for limited periods.
Each zone has a requirement of a minimum IP rating for the bathroom lighting that is going to be used.
Zone 0 is the zone inside the bath or shower itself. Any bathroom light fitting used in this zone must be low voltage (12v max) and be rated at least IP 67.
Zone 1 is the area above the bath to a height of 2.25m from the floor. Here, bathroom lights of IP 44 minimum has to be used.
Zone 2 is I suppose what you might call the splash zone and is the area extending 60 cm outwardly around the edge of the sink, bath or shower up to 2.25 m from the floor. Here bathroom lighting of IP44 minimum can be used.
The area outside these zones above the bath or shower should be considered zone 2 up to a height of 3m. It also important to note that any bathroom lighting circuit should be protected by a 30 ma residual current device (RCD).
This information should be used as a guide only and for more accurate information please consult the latest IEE wiring regulations or a qualified electrician.