Bathroom lighting advice

Great care needs to be taken when choosing bathroom lighting as the regulations are strict concerning the type of light you can use.

The bathroom mirror deserves some special attention and a diffused glass light either side will give a good general illumination where it is needed. The alternative is a halogen down-light from the ceiling or fluorescent strip light over the mirror.

The latest generation of mirrors incorporate lights into the mirrors themselves with sections of the reflective surface removed and lights fitted behind them. This is a very effective way of generating an even light and improving safety.

For general illumination in the rest of the bathroom either use down-lights for their refreshing halogen colour or a high output flush ceiling fitting to suit the decor.

Portable lights are not permitted in a bathroom so for mood lighting use ceiling mounted directional spotlights aimed away from the bath and at interesting features. Lights designed specifically for showers are available and must be carefully fitted according to the instructions.

The following information is a guide to help you understand what fitting can be placed where. This is not an installation guide and reference should be made to the IEE Wiring Regulations (17th Editions) or a qualified electrician. Firstly it is important to understand the rating by which bathroom and some outdoor lights are classified. IP rating stands for 'Ingress Protection' and is always followed by two characters. These two numbers refer to the level of protection and it is important that you choose fitting with the correct rating according to where they are to be sited within the bathroom.

The diagrams at thr bottom show a bathroom split into four clear zones: 0,1,2 and 3.

Zone 0 is in the bath or shower itself. 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 in this area above the bath to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In this zone a minimum rating of IP44 is required. If the fitting is 240V a 30MA residual current device (RCD) must be also be used to protect the circuit in this zone.

Zone 2 is an area stretching for 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.

Zone 3 is anywhere outside zones 0,1 and 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jets are likely to be used. No IP rating is required. In addition to the above, if there is a likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes in zone 1,2 ans 3 a fitting rated IP65 must be used. Full details can be in found in the latest copy of the IEE wiring regulations.

Older Post Newer Post