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Safety in bathroom lighting
The single most important issue of an light fitting in a bathroom whether its bathroom chandeliers, bathroom wall lights or downlights is the simple fact the electricity and water do not mix! So often you see photos of elegant chandeliers positioned over baths that look so appealing. The reality though is that these photos are often just stylised photoshoots and the chandelier is generally removed after the shoot (or at least one would hope it is). This is because any lighting in the bathroom runs the risk of getting into contact with steam or water and this can have disastrous consequences.

The risk for chandeliers above a bath or for bathroom wall lights is that steam from the bath or basin could condense on the fitting and create a short and thereby make the whole fitting hot. If the fitting is then touched then the risk of an electric shock or burn is high to probable. Additionally even a small drop of water on a bulb could cause the glass of the bulb to explode and shower tiny fragments of glass into the bath and the surrounding area. It is also possible that standing in a bath under a chandelier that you simply cannot tell whether the bathroom chandelier has been grounded or not and if the electrical components are not sealed and steam or water and able to make contact and the person under the chandelier then touches it then the electricity will flow through this person because they in standing in the bath provide the grounding for the electricity. This can be fatal.

Therefore a set of standards have been developed to ensure that the bulbs of light fittings in a bathroom are sealed in such a way that neither steam nor water can make contact with the bulb. Of course the bulb in a bathroom chandelier cannot be completely sealed because at some time you will need to change the bulb but bathroom chandeliers must have a sealing mechanism that when closed ensures the bulb is separated from the general environment of the bathroom.



Lighting Zones in a bathroom and why they are important

The logic of lighting zones
The reason why lighting zones are so important is because the zones themselves influence the type of light fitting that can be used. These zones are determined by their closeness to water in the bathroom. The zones range from zone 0 to zone 2. Zone 0 is inside a bath or a shower and zone 2 is away from zone 0 by 0.6m sideways and 2.25m above the zone 0.

As a general rule in zone 0 (ie inside the bath and so lighting that would shine through the bath water) an IP67 approved light fitting must be used. Outside this in the zones 1 and 2 an IP44 light fitting is to be used. Away from zone 2 a standard light fitting can be prescribed although some electricians will still insist on the fitting being IP44 rated.

More detail on bathroom lighting.
This chart summarises the zones and it can be seen that typically a wall light next to or above a wash basin mirror would be counted as being within zone 1 and this light fitting should be IP44 rated. Above this area a ceiling light (provided the ceiling height is at 2.25m above the bath) this would count as zone 1 and also required a bathroom ceiling light to be rated as IP44

Bathroom lightting zones

A summary of the guidlines set by the IEE Wiring Regulations are:

Zone 0: Inside a shower or bath. The fitting must be IP67 or higher

Zone 1: This is either above the shower or above the bath up to a height of 2.25metres and therefore would typically be the ceiling. For this zone a fitting must be rated IP44 or higher

Zone 2: This area covers the zone that 0.6m wide of eitheer the bath or shower and 2.25m directly above either the shower or the bath. In this zone the bathroom light fitting must be IP44 rated or higher than this.

Examples of Products that are IP44 rated:
For zone 1 including for example wall lights next to a mirror we have a range of
IP44 rated wall lights .
For zone 2 which typically includes the ceiling we have a range of classic style and contemporary
bathroom chandeliers that are all IP44 rated. Some of these bathroom chandeliers have been designed for tall bathroom ceilings and others for lower bathroom ceilings .

Lighting design in the Bathroom
In today's busy life our bathrooms have increasingly become a sanctuary for peace and rest as well as for the necessary function of washing. Lighting is therefore important in creating the necessary mood and at the same time provide the essential function of lighting to enable use to carry of the washing function. There is little point in creating a fantastic ambience of dim lighting if you cannot actually see what you are doing.
So here are a couple of pointers for lighting your bathroom. Where possible incorporate dimmer switches that allow you to create the mood of your retreat. In areas where light is a necessity (for example over a shower or the wash basin cabinet) then spot lights could be incorporated into the overall design. The use of spotlights does not exclude creating the 'wow' factor by using a bathroom chandelier just don't pepper the whole ceiling with spotlights - use them sparingly and incorporate them into the whole lighting design. So for example if you are using a bathroom chandelier then make sure that it can give off sufficient light to be useful and this will allow for a smaller number of spot lights to be used. When locating a bathroom chandeliers into the bathroom always ensure it is approved for use in the bathroom and has the IP44 certificate.
Other lighting aspects to incorporate can be wall lights either side of a washbasin mirror. The design of these ideally should coordinate with any bathroom chandeliers that is used. So for example for a more modern look ensure that a chrome bathroom chandelier matches any chrome bathroom wall lights. Likewise if polished brass is being used.