Bathrooms are the most humid rooms in everyone's homes. Therefore you need to make sure you use the right water-resistant light fixtures for all your bathroom lighting. This guide is to help you understand how bathrooms are divided into different safety zones, and how to choose the right lights for each one.

What does IP rating mean for bathroom lights?

Ingress means entering, in the case of bathroom lights it means water or steam entering a light fitting. Ingress protection means the amount it is protected. There are various Ingress Protection ratings so called IP ratings. The higher the IP rate is the more protected the light is. Summarising, the rating refers to the light fittings ability to prevent solids or liquids penetrating the device's enclosure.

What does a particular number mean?

An IP rating usually has 2 or 3 numbers after it, for example IP 68. The first number corresponds to solid material entering the light fitting. E.g. Dust, tools, fingers etc. The second number would correspond to water or steam entering the light fitting.

What are the bathroom light zones?

In case of lighting installations are carried out in bathrooms it is essential to understand the importance of bathroom zones, as set out in the electrical safety regulations. These bathroom zones are designed to ensure that only bathroom lights provided with appropriate protection are used, especially within the higher risk areas so that the risk of electrocution is avoided.

Zone 0 
Inside the bath or shower itself is Zone 0. Any fitting used in this zone must be low voltage, (max 12v) and be rated at least IP67 which is total immersion proof.
Zone 1
It's just the area above the bath or shower to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone a minimum rating of IP45 is required but it is generally accepted that IP65 is to be used. It's also worth noting that most shower lights are rated at IP65 in any case.
Zone 2 
The Zone 2 is an area stretching 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone an IP rating of at least IP44 is required. In addition it is good practice to consider the area around a wash basin, within a 60cm radius of any tap to be considered as zone 2.
Outside Zones is anywhere outside zones 0,1 and 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jet is likely to be used. There are no special IP requirements in this zone, however we suggest that you consider a light with an IP rating of at least IP20+.
In addition to the above, if there is a likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purpose then a fitting rated with a minimum of IP65 must be used. Full details can be found in the latest copy of the IEE wiring regulations.

To help yourself with choosing the perfect light solutions for your bathroom check our previous posts. Do you prefer wall lights or maybe indirect light?