Great care must be taken when choosing lighting for bathrooms because you must ensure that you adhere to bathroom lighting regulations, referring to the IP rating of the light fitting and bathroom zones.
IP rating stands for Ingress Protection Rating and is an industry standard classification system that classifies the level of protection an electrical enclosure has against both solid and liquid particles, in accordance with BS EN60529. The code that represents this classification is separated into two numbers following the letters IP. For example, IP65. The first number is the level of protection against solid particles and the second number is the level of protection against liquids. The larger the number, the greater the level of protection.
Bathroom Zones refers to the different requirements of each area that a bathroom has been split into. Each zone within a bathroom has different requirements dependent on the risk level of water getting close to the electrical supply. There are four different types of zones, which are Zone 0, Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3.
Zone 0 is the area inside the shower or bath itself and any fitting used in this area must be low voltage and rated IP67.
Zone 1 is the area of a height of 2.25m from the floor above a bath and the area within a shower cubicle. Any fittings used in this area must have a minimum of an IPX4 rating.
Zone 2 is the area 600mm outside a bath or shower. This can be the area to the side or above the bath/shower. Any fittings used in this area must have a minimum of an IPX4 rating.
Zone 3 is any area outside of the above zones and where no water jets are likely to be used. This means that in this zone, no IP rating is required. However, if there is a likelihood of water jets being used then a fitting with a minimum of an IP65 rating is required.
When choosing bathroom lighting it is important to consider the type of lighting you require. It is worth considering accent or task lighting in bathrooms, depending on your preference, or even a mix of both. Task lighting provides more concentrated light, which will help in completing daily tasks or routines such as shaving, washing or cleaning teeth. Accent lighting gives the opportunity to create a more relaxing atmosphere when, for example relaxing in a bath. A popular choice for bathrooms is the use of downlights or spotlights, which are great to use in bathrooms. For low ceilings, it is best to use flush or semi-flush fittings in order to give maximum head clearance.