Safety comes first at Socket Store, and this is especially true for our customers buying new lighting for higher-risk areas such as bathrooms. If you’ve vaguely heard of IP ratings but don’t really know what they mean, read on!
An IP rating stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and is an international standard used to rate the effectiveness of sealants against moisture and dirt. Each IP rating has two digits; the first rates effectiveness of sealants against solids and the second against water. The higher the number, the greater the protection.
In rooms where water is present – such as, obviously, bathrooms and kitchens! – certain lighting must meet a minimum IP rating to reduce the risk of electric shock. When installing bathroom lighting, it’s important to understand the bathroom ‘zones’ and which IP rating applies to each:
Zone 0: The area inside the bathtub or shower cubicle. Any fitting installed within Zone 0 must be low voltage (max 12v) and be totally immersion proof, with a minimum rating of IP67.
Zone 1: The area around the bath and shower up to a height of 2.25m from the floor and a radius of 1.2m from the water outlet. In this zone, the rating must be a minimum of IP44 although, in practice, many shower lights are rated IP65.
Zone 2: The area reaching 0.6m outside Zone 1. A minimum rating of IP44 is to be used here, and it’s also good practice to consider the area around a wash basin, within a 0.6m radius of the taps, as Zone 2.
Zone 3: The area reaching 2.4m outside Zone 2. In this area, no IP rating applies unless water jets are used for cleaning.
You might also need to be aware of IP ratings for some kitchen lighting and outdoor lighting. Always seek advice from a qualified electrician if you are unsure of what you need or how to correctly install lighting in any area of your home.