At first glance, IP ratings may appear unremarkable, but getting to grips with them is essential when you’re shopping for bathroom lighting.
That’s because the letters ‘IP’ stand for ‘International Protection’ marking, or more commonly, ‘Ingress Protection’. This coding system indicates the level of protection provided against intrusion by objects and body parts, such as hands and fingers, as well as from dust and water.
Without a doubt, when you’re shopping for lighting that will be close to a water source, such as those found in a bathroom, shower room, wet room or steam room, the integrity of the lighting fixture’s mechanical casings and electrical enclosures couldn’t be more important.
The IP code is therefore present to give you more detailed information (and assurance) than the somewhat vague terms ‘waterproof’ and ‘water resistant’. All legal lights carry an IP rating, as even when they are untested to a specific rating they are deemed IP20.
Practically any purchase – from consumer electronics to automobiles – can be rated with IP, the highest of which is reserved for protection against high-pressure, high-temperature washes in all directions.
The IP rating can be determined by reading the first and second digits following the initial ‘IP’. The first digit in IPXX is its protection rating against particles, while the second is its protection against water. So, IP44 basically means ‘4 for protecting against particles larger than 1mm in size; 4 for protecting against water splashes’.
Zones and regulations
When it comes to bathroom lighting, the requisite IP rating is determined by measuring its proximity to a water source or receptacle.
Spaces directly above a shower or bath are considered “Zone 1” while those within 60cm of a water source are “Zone 2”; both require a rating of at least IPX4 (so IP44 is acceptable). If the light uses a 240V supply, a 30ma RCD (residual current device) must be used to protect the circuit in Zone 1. Beyond those areas, no IP rating is required, but it’s often recommended by electricians that lighting fixtures of IP44 rating or better are installed in any bathroom interiors.
Note: Only specialist devices are permissible in “Zone 0” areas such as the bathtub itself, the sink basin or the bottom of the shower – you’ll need to consult with an expert about obtaining insulated lights for these areas. We must also state here that any installing of consumer electrics in your home or commercial property must be completed by a qualified electrician.
Our specialist IP44 collections
The Light Yard are one of the UK’s only retailers specialising in IP44-rated pendant lighting for your bathroom. A dramatic ceiling light is beloved by interior designers, since it has the power to transform the a plain bathroom into a relaxing and romantic space.
Our matching bathroom wall lights are IP44-rated too, allowing you to create the look you want, with all the flexibility you need.
Our collections can help make your bathroom much more than just a space for cleanliness, but a personalised refuge created to enrich your own sense of well-being.
Well, who could have guessed IP ratings did all that? Maybe they are a bit remarkable after all.
Next time on the Blog of Light, we’ll be looking at outdoor spaces and IP considerations when it comes to lighting on your patio, pergola or balcony.
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To speak with a member of TLY’s team, call 0044(0)330 223 3940