Bathroom lighting must also be safe and comply with IEE bathroom lighting safety requirements, which requires different lighting within bathroom lighting zones.
If you are altering the bathroom lighting, take care to use bathroom light fittings that are designed for use in the right bathroom lighting zone.
Bathroom lighting safety
Safety must come first with bathroom lighting, you are dealing with electricity close to water so you need to ensure the lighting is safe and fittings are appropriate for the bathroom.
There are IEE safety regulations in place for bathroom lighting, which are rightly rigorous:
- These lighting regulations state that bathroom lighting must be completely encased to avoid shorting and electric shocks, and double insulated with the bulb and all metal parts covered.
- Also depending on where the bathroom light is located in the bathroom depends what level of protection a bathroom light needs. Therefore each bathroom light has a safety rating, which in basic terms determines the amount of water protection a light has.
What is a bathroom light safety rating?
A bathroom safety rating is called, IP rating, which stands for ‘Ingress Protection’. An IP rating has two characthers:
- The first character of the IP rating specifies the degree of protection against particles or solid objects.
- The second is the degree of water protection, this starts with 0 for no protection and goes to 8 for a light which may be totally submerged in water up to the specified depth.
For example a bathroom light with an IP rating, IPx4, x is used in this case because there is no requirement for bathroom lighting to have a level of dust protection. Lights sold as IPx4 will have been tested for protection against water splashing from any direction.
To determine what level of what protection you bathroom light needs, you need to work out where the light will be placed and determine what bathroom lighting zone this falls into.
Bathroom lighting zones explained
To determine what rating bathroom lighting needs, a bathroom is split into four clear zones.
|Zone||Bathroom lighting zones|
|0||Inside the bath or shower itself and any bathroom lighting fittings used must be low voltage (max 12V) and be rated IPx7, which has total protection when immersed in water.|
|1||Above the bath to a height of 2.25m. A minimum rating of IPx4 is required here.|
|2||An area stretching to 0.6m outside the bath and above the bath if over 2.25m. An IP rating of at least IPx4 is required here.|
|3||Anywhere outside zones 0, 1, and 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jet is likely to be used there is no IP rating required.|
NB. In zones 1, 2 and 3, if there is a likelihood of a water jet being used for cleaning purposes a minimum of IPx5 is required.
The IEE Regulations do not make specific reference to wash basins but in the opinion of The Lighting Association they should be treated as Zone 2 (i.e. IPx4).
Don’t ever be tempted to use a conventional light fitting that’s not intended for bathroom use, the cost saving is just not worth the risk, so ensure the bathroom light is right for the bathroom lighting zone.