What is IP zoning, especially for bathrooms? We have also written about IP rating in general, but what about the IP zones in a bathroom? To illustrate the IP zoning regulations, we have divided the bathroom into areas or “zones“, which are classified using the numbers 0, 1, 2 – see the illustration below.
Luminaires – the bathroom lights – are then assigned a certain “IP rating” which indicates how much protection they provide against ingress of water and other particles. Each zone has a minimum IP requirement that must be met if a fitting is to be installed in this area.
- Zone 0 – Inside the bath or shower. Any fittings used here must be SELV (Separated Extra Low Voltage – max. 12Volts) and have a minimum rating of IPX7 (IP67) (protected against immersion in water – total immersion proof);
- Zone 1 – Above the bath or shower to a height if 2.25m. Recommended IP rating: IP65. In this zone, if there is likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, a minimum of IPX5 is required. Also, subject to IP rating, SELV or 240V luminaires may be used in this zone; ff the fitting is 240 volts, a 30mA residual current device (RCD) must also be used to protect the circuit in this zone.
- 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 IPX4 (IP44) is required. In this zone, if there is likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, a minimum of IPX5 is required. Also, subject to IP rating, SELV or 240V luminaires may be used in this zone. In addition, it is a good practice to also consider the area around a wash basin (within a 60cm radius of any tap) as Zone 2.
- Outside the zones – anywhere outside zones 0, 1, and 2. Where water jets are not to be used for cleaning purposes, the general rules of BS7671 apply. Here, there is no requirement for any lighting solutions to be protected against particles or solid objects, e.g. IPX4 – no IP rating required.
IP ratings explained (IP = Ingress Protection)
- The first digit – protection against ingress of foreign bodies, like: tools, dust, fingers, etc.
- The second digit – protection against ingress of liquids. Ex. IP44 offers protection against solid objects greater than 1 mm and water sprayed from all directions.
The first digit – protection from foreign bodies
- 0 – no protection from foreign bodies;
- 1 – protected against solid objects greater than 50mm(e.g. accidental touch by hands);
- 2 – protected against solid objects up to 12mm(e.g. fingers);
- 3 – protected against solid objects greater than 2.5mm(e.g. tools and wires);
- 4 – protected against solid objects greater than 1mm(e.g. small tools and wires);
- 5 – protected against dust, limited ingress(e.g. no harmful deposit);
- 6 – totally protected against dust.
The second digit – protection from liquids
- 0 – no protection from liquids;
- 1 – protection against vertically falling drops of water(e.g. condensation);
- 2 – protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical;
- 3 – protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical;
- 4 – protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted;
- 5 – protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions – limited ingress permitted;
- 6 – protected against high pressure jets of water (use on ship deck) – limited ingress permitted;
- 7 – protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m;
- 8 – protected against long periods of immersion under pressure.
Although there are numerous combinations of IP ratings, the most common ones are: IP67, IP65, IP44, IP20. For specially IP rated luminaires you will find each product clearly marked with its IP rating PLUS the highest zone in which it can be installed.