When do you need IP44 light in bathroom?
Finding the right light fittings to use in your bathroom can be a tricky matter, especially if your electrician or quick internet search points towards IP44 rated fittings. Whilst there are areas where IP44 rated fittings are essential or highly recommended, often a standard fitting (IP20) will suffice - giving you a much greater scope when choosing the right fitting.
In order to be clear about what you are shopping for it is important to understand the regulations in a bathroom.
Which are the areas where IP44 lights need to be used?
Below, we have included a diagram which described the different zones of a bathroom. According to the regulations, IP44 rated fittings are required when located inside the area described as Zone 2. Therefore if you are using a pair of wall lights either side of the mirror, make sure they are located just outside of zone 2 so you can use a standard fitting i.e. not IP44. It is worth noting that some common sense should be applied and it is always worth taking the advice of the electrician.
Zone 0 and Zone 1 are the most heavily regulated when it comes to safety – Zone 0 covers submerged lights which must be completely immersion proof, while zone 1 refers to the area immediately above the bath (to a height of 2.25m from the floor) where IP65 lighting is recommended.
IP44 lighting is suitable for use in Zone 2 and Zone 3 (Outside Zones) - in other words, within 60cm from the edge of the bath and to a height of 2.25m from the floor. Note that inside a 60cm radius above a basin is also Zone 2 and requires fittings rated as IP44 or higher.
How to convert non-IP44 lights for bathroom use?
Keep in mind that not all bathroom fixtures are at risk of water ingress and therefore don’t need to be IP44 rated. Since IP44 fittings are designed for areas where water spray is a possible hazard, there are a number of tricks you can use to get the non-IP44 light you want to fit the regulations.
If you have your sights set on a bathroom pendant, but it hangs too low above your bath or sink, one possible solution is changing the length of the flex to keep it out of the splash zone and into zone 3. After all, it’s a matter of centimetres to move/elevate your fitting from one zone to the next.