What Bathroom Lighting
Tuesday, 30 January 2018 | Graham
WHAT LIGHTS CAN YOU USE IN A BATHROOM
Your bathroom can be a busy place, with the family all rushing to school and work, but at other times it can be a place of sanctuary so the way you light your bathroom needs to take this into account. You may consider lighting design unimportant for such a room, but the fundamentals still apply, you need task lighting, for makeup, shaving etc., and accent or decorative lighting for those times when you want to relax in the bath...
Firstly when looking for bathroom lights there are a number of considerations apart from the style you wish to use. There are Regulations on what lights can be used in different parts of the bathroom known as zones and lights should be IP rated for use within these zones. More on Bathroom Zones in a moment.
There are things you cannot use; you cannot use a portable light in the bathroom, so no table or floor lamps.
WHAT ARE IP RATINGS FOR BATHROOM LIGHTS
IP ratings explained:
Electrical equipment can be given an IP number short for Ingress Protection then 2 figures, the first digit for mechanical protection (what can get inside) the second number for the level of water protection. So a very common IP20 used for many household lights, 2 means nothing over 12mm can enter, ie fingers, and 0 no water protection. Whereas IP44 again the rating for many outdoor lights, 4 means nothing over 1mm so no wire can be poked in, and the second 4 refers to protection from splashes. This makes IP44 a good rating for outdoor lights as well as some areas in the bathroom. So the higher the second number the better the water protection, generally they go hand in hand. ip56, ip66 etc.
SO WHAT IP RATING DO YOU NEED FOR THE BATHROOM?With all bathroom lights, placement i.e. where in the bathroom you wish to install the light will determine the types available as the bathroom is split into zones.
Zone 0 - Inside a Bath or shower - only low voltage (12V) Total Immersion units.
Zone 1 - The area immediately surrounding the bath / shower to 2.25 m above the bath. Any lights in this zone must be IP55 or higher i.e spray proof.
Zone 2 - This area must have splash proof lights so IP44 or IP54 or higher.
Zone 3 - No IP requirement, but IP44 preferable as these are splash proof
Obviously the larger your bath or shower room the easier it is to place lights away from risk areas and this will give you a greater choice of fittings, ceiling lights can be used without an IP rating as long as they are not directly over a bath or shower, as most bathroom ceiling lights tend to be in the centre of the room this will not be an issue. Using a Flush or fixed fitting will suffice.
Switching needs to be either a ceiling pull switch or a switch outside of the room.
Having clarified what you can safely use, in the next article we'll look at design aspect of lighting your bathroom.
SELECTED BATHROOM LIGHT IDEAS