Bathroom lighting and electrical wiring has always been the trickiest part in every renovation. However still, It is the only place in a house where the entire family visits and spends a considerable chunk of time at twice if not thrice or more in a day.
Lighting and power in our bathrooms comes to a bit more since we have factors such as moisture, water,mist and dust that are a must to consider.
Different areas in the bathroom like near the tub or shower or in the basin area are the areas that require a lot of consideration on what type of lighting or electrical device or even where to place sockets are limited by a required measure called "Ingress Protection” or “International Protection" which is normally referred to as the IP rating . This is always followed by two characters. These two numbers refer to the level of protection and it is important that you choose fittings with the correct rating according to where they are to be sited within the bathroom. It is important to understand the rating by which bathroom lights and power outlets or electrical devices such as heaters or heated towel rails are classified.
IP Explanation and Ratings
EN 60529 outlines an international classification system for the sealing effectiveness of enclosures of electrical equipment against the intrusion into the equipment of foreign bodies (i.e. tools, dust, fingers) and moisture. This classification system utilizes the letters "IP" ("Ingress Protection") followed by two or three digits. (A third digit is sometimes used. An "x" is used for one of the digits if there is only one class of protection; i.e. IPX4 which addresses moisture resistance only.)
Below is the International Classification System Table
The diagram shows a bathroom split into four clear zones: 0, 1, 2 and Outside Zone or also known as Zone 3
|Zone 0||Inside the bath or shower. Any Lighting used here must have a minimum rating of IP67 (protected against immersion in water)|
|Zone 1||Above the bath or shower to a height of 2.25m. A minimum rating of IP44 is required|
|Zone 2||The area stretching to 0.6m outside the bath or shower and above the bath or shower if over 2.25m. An IP rating of at least IP44 is required|
|Outside Zone||Anywhere outside zones 0, 1 & 2. Where water jets are not to be used for cleaning purposes, the general rules of BS7671 apply|
In addition to the above, if there is a likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purpose in zones 1 and 2 a fitting rated a minimum IP65 must be used.
Now that this has been explained, always make sure to purchase bathroom lighting according to these standards to make sure that your bathroom is always safe. You should also have this principle applied when you purchase other electrical devices such as heated towel rails, or a guide to where you'd put sockets in your bath for razors and other devices.
This may also fix the common misconception that LED lights are not rated for bathrooms. Typical LED lights have an IP rating of IP66 which is more than the needed IP rating standard that bathrooms should have. - Not to mention you'd be saving a whole lot from energy bills in the long run.