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Lighting & Interiors

What is an IP Rating?

by Cusack Lighting 01 Sep 2023

What is an IP Rating and why is it so important in lighting?

IP Ratings, also known as Ingress Protection Ratings are a standardised system used to indicate the level of protection provided by an electrical enclosure or housing against various external factors such as dust, water, and other foreign objects. IP Ratings are particularly important when it comes to lighting fixtures used in different environments, such as bathrooms and outdoor spaces, where exposure to moisture, dust, and other elements can vary significantly.

An IP Rating consists of two digits, each of which represents a specific type of protection. Here's how to interpret IP Ratings:

First Digit (Solid Particle Protection):

This digit indicates the level of protection against solid particles like dust and debris. It ranges from 0 to 6, with higher numbers indicating better protection.

IP0X: No protection against solid particles.
IP1X: Protection against larger solid objects, such as hands.
IP2X: Protection against fingers or similar objects.
IP3X: Protection against tools, wires, and small objects.
IP4X: Protection against most wires, screws, and small particles.
IP5X: Limited protection against dust; dust ingress is not entirely prevented but won't interfere with the equipment's functionality.
IP6X: Complete protection against dust; the equipment is dust tight.

Second Digit (Liquid Ingress Protection):

This digit indicates the level of protection against liquids, particularly water. It ranges from 0 to 9, with higher numbers indicating better protection.

IPX0: No protection against water.
IPX1: Protection against vertically falling water drops.
IPX2: Protection against vertically falling water drops when tilted up to 15 degrees.
IPX3: Protection against water spray at angles up to 60 degrees from vertical.
IPX4: Protection against splashing water from any direction.
IPX5: Protection against low-pressure water jets from any direction.
IPX6: Protection against high-pressure water jets or heavy seas.
IPX7: Protection against temporary immersion in water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
IPX8: Protection against continuous immersion in water under conditions specified by the manufacturer.
IPX9: Protection against high-pressure and high-temperature water jets, often used in specialized industrial applications.

When choosing lighting fixtures for specific environments, consider the intended usage and potential exposure to factors such as moisture, dust, and other elements.

Low IP ratings
Lower IP Ratings below IP44 for example - are mostly suited for indoor use in spaces that have virtually no exposure to dust or water, like a living room or bedroom. The majority of light fixtures in your home will be rated IP20 which is sufficient for most indoor areas of the home. However, bathroom lighting should have a higher IP Rating, read on to find out more!

High IP Ratings
Light fixtures that are rated IP65 and above are considered to be waterproof and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. IP65 and IP66 are common IP ratings that offer more protection. IP65 lights can withstand water projected directly onto the fixture but are not completely waterproof and should not be submerged in water. IP66 lights can withstand water being sprayed forcefully from any direction but should not be submerged in water either.

It's important to note that higher IP Ratings often come with better protection but might also limit the ability of the fixture to dissipate heat, so balancing protection with appropriate thermal management is crucial. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines and local regulations when selecting lighting fixtures for different environments.

Bathroom Zones
Bathroom zones are designated areas within a bathroom that are classified based on their proximity to water sources and the likelihood of water exposure. These zones help determine the type of electrical equipment that can be safely installed in each area. The zones are typically numbered from 0 to 3, with Zone 0 being the area with the highest risk of water exposure and Zone 3 being the least likely to come into contact with water.

  1. Zone 0: This zone is inside the bath or shower itself. Only fittings with a very low voltage (usually 12V) and specifically designed for immersion can be used in this zone.
  2. Zone 1: This zone is above the bath or shower, up to a height of 2.25 meters from the floor. Any equipment used in this zone must have a minimum IP rating of IPX4, which provides protection against splashes from all angles.
  3. Zone 2: This zone extends 0.6 meters horizontally from the edge of Zone 1 and also includes the area around sinks. The same IPX4 protection as Zone 1 is required here.
  4. Zone 3: This zone is outside Zones 0, 1, and 2, and it's generally considered the least likely to come into contact with water. However, it's still important to use appropriate equipment for safety reasons.

When choosing electrical fixtures and appliances for your bathroom, it's important to consider both the specific bathroom zone and the appropriate IP rating to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. 

Check out the full range of our appropriately IP Rated Bathroom Fittings and Outdoor Fittings online today! 

For more information please email

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