If you are planning a new bathroom, or the complete renovation of your existing bathroom you may have come across the term ‘Bathroom Zones.' Bathrooms are considered to be a 'special location' for electrical installations. This is because they have an increased risk of electric shock for the user, due to the proximity of water.
As set out by IEE Wiring Regulations there are now established ‘zones’ within the bathroom to ensure that electrical equipment is safe for installation. This new regulation pays particular attention to the zones in and around the bath or shower area of the bathroom. Understanding bathroom zones can be beneficial as it can help you to plan the layout of your bathroom safely, and can also save you time and money in the long term. Here is an easy to understand guide written by the bathroom experts of Drench, covering everything you need to know about bathroom zones.
Zone 0 - Inside the bath or shower
Any fittings used from inside a bath or shower must be of low voltage. SELV (max. 12V) and a minimum of IPX7 protected against immersion in water, fittings must be totally immersion proof.
Zone 1 - Above the bath or shower
Fittings directly above the bath tub or shower tray should be installed at a height of 2.25m from the floor. Products should be IP44 or higher and if the fitting is 240v a 30ma RCD (Residual Current Device) must be used to protect the circuit.
Zone 2 - 0.6m Outside of the bath or shower
Zone 2 covers a large surface area. From above the bath tub or shower tray above zone 1, to the area around the wash basin, within a 60cm radius of any tap and stretches 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath 2.25m from the floor. Lighting installed in this area should be at least IP44.
Outside Zones – Outside Zones 0,1 & 2
Outside zones have no special requirements unless for example water jets are used for cleaning purposes. Portable equipment is safe for use in the outside zones providing they are located where their flex length prevents them from being used in Zone 2. Portable devices must be plugged in outside the bathroom, with the socket far enough away to ensure the appliance cannot be used inside zone 3. Any space under the bath is considered out of scope, as long as it cannot be accessed without using tools such as a screwdriver.
What are IP Ratings, PELV & SELV?
Lighting deemed suitable to go in bathroom zones are given an Ingress Protection (IP) number, such as IPXY, where X and Y are numbers. The X shows the level of mechanical protection, and the Y shows the level of moisture protection. In both cases, the higher the number, the better the protection. If a piece of equipment does not have an IP number, it must not be used in zones
Bathroom lights are classified using an IP (Ingress Protection) rating. The IP characters are followed by 2 numbers which refer to the level of protection against the ingress of foreign bodies (1st number) and protection against the ingress of liquids (2nd number).
You will find that many of the products on the Drench website are IP rated. Electrical equipment in bathrooms must have a satisfactory level of IP (Ingress Protection) mechanical and moisture protection, against factors such as condensation, humidity, steam, drops of water or sprays from showers. IP numbers, indicate the level of protection needed, with the first number representing mechanical, and the second moisture. Equipment with no IP number must not be used in Zones 0, 1 or 2, or in any other wet or damp location.
PELV & SELV
Electrical products may also be identified as as PELV - Protective Extra–Low Voltage, low voltage but connected to earth, or SELV — Separated Extra–Low Voltage, low voltage but with output isolated from the input. SELV products can be used in any zone in the bathroom providing the source, such as the transformer, is located beyond Zone 2.
We hope you have found this guide useful. You will find many of the products on this site have IP ratings for your guidance. If you do have any queries about any of our products, please do not hesitate to get in touch.