What are Bathroom Wet Zones?
Bathroom Wet Zones are 3 special areas in your bathroom where any electrical fitting needs to be more water resistant, let's take a look at these zones and some other important things to look at with your Bathroom Lighting
Electrical Bathroom Zones Explained
This zone covers the base of the shower and the inside of the bath, all light fittings used here must be at least IP67 and 12V.
The area of this zone is directly above the bath and shower (to a height of 2.25m from the floor), all light fittings must be at least IP44.
This last zone is the area 600mm from the shower cubicle and from the bath and also extends 2.25m from the floor. This zone also covers the area 600mm from the tap at the sink. All light fittings in this zone must also be IP44 or UL Damp Rated.
Tip: Be careful if your shower or bath are near your vanity, this may mean your vanity lights will get caught up in the Zone 2 600mm away from the bath or the shower.
What are IP67, IP44, UL Damp Ratings?
An IP Rating (Ingress Protection) is a light fittings protection from particles and moisture. In particular for bathrooms we are looking at Moisture. IP44 means a light is protected against splashes of water, where IP67 fittings are capable of being submerged in water for short periods of time.
The higher the second number in an IP rating the better, so an IP68 light may be used in place of an IP67 and an IP65 or higher light may be used in place of an IP44
UL Ratings are a standard from Underwriter Laboratories that you will find used on American fixtures. UL Damp and Wet rating has been recognised locally as suitable for use in Zone 2 provided a NZ Declaration Of Compliance is available. So a UL Damp rated fixture can be used in Zone 2 as a Vanity Light.
The main other point to check is that any light that is fixed inside the shower base is Extra Low Voltage, which means 12V, many LED fittings are available in 12V so if you have the desire for some feature lights inside your shower this shouldn't be hard to find.
While Vanity lights that are outside Zone 2 do not need to have an IP rating these fittings are typically better designed for moist/damp spaces.
What IP Rating do downlights need in a bathroom?
Technically if they are above 2.25m from the floor they do not need an IP rating, however it is best practice to use a fixture that is IP44 or higher. Even the best ventilated bathroom has some moisture inside and this protects the light fitting and the driver behind from any moisture.