Australian Bathroom Lighting Requirements, ZONES and IP Ratings
So..…Water and Electricity – what a great combination!!
Happily we have lots of rules around lighting in Australian bathrooms to keep us safe… ignore them and you’ll be in some seriously hot water.
Now for the *DRY* stuff around wet areas…..
The rules around lighting in wet areas are clearly defined in Australia, which makes them easy to follow. Sometimes, it will mean you can’t have what you want, but with the right professionals in your corner, you’ll be able to find a solution that complies- AND inspires.
If you like reading standards and technical documents, you can veer off now, grab a copy of AS3000 and acquaint yourself with all the details….or you can leave that 611 page document of fun times to your Lighting Designer and Electrician and just acquaint yourself with the highlights!
Like everything – if you understand a little of the WHY….it makes it a lot easier to have informed opinions and make the best choices for your home.
Bathrooms have ZONES in the Australian Standards, which tell us what lighting can and can’t be used within certain distances of water sources. There are 3 zones – and each one has different requirements.
Here’s the snapshot breakdown of your ZONES and what can live in them….
ZONE 0 = Inside Shower Base and inside a bath or basin.
ZONE 1 = Outside ZONE 0. For bath and shower it’s a vertical projection of ZONE 0 up to a height of 2.5M in Australia. Above 2.5M is officially considered outside the zone. It also includes the area 1200mm radius from fixed plumbing connections in your shower (that’s your shower rose).
ZONE 2 = 600mm radius outside Zone 1 of bath and shower AND 150mm ouside the vanity basin and a 400mm vertical projection above it.
ZONE 3 = 2.4M outside ZONE 2 and up to 2.5M above the floor
There are 2 zones applied to Basins, for the purposes of lighting design, it is simplest to apply the larger ZONE 2 to your selections – nothing closer than 400mm above the top of the basin, and no closer than 150mm to the sides of the basin.
The safest bet is to select light fittings that are IP65 (fully sealed for use in wet areas) and then you can put your light anywhere you want (except underwater!!)
The problem with decorative lighting in bath zones in bathrooms is...….most of the pretty lights we love to see in our bathrooms are not IP65 – for lots of really good technical reasons….which we won’t get lost in right now.
So if we want to have decorative lighting in our Bathrooms, we need to pay attention to where it’s being installed (far away from water in basins, showers and baths), and try to choose something that is at least IP44 rated.
What is this IP????? It stands for Ingress Protection – and it’s a rating that classifies light fittings (and lots of other things) for their suitability for use in different locations based on how or if water and/or dust can get into the fitting where the electricity is.
So what IP ratings are needed in which ZONES?
(Any electricians reading this – we’re talking about Domestic homes here… not communal or commercial spaces…)
ZONE 0 = IPX7 – in lighting terms, that basically means you need to use underwater rated fittings that are also rated for baths and showers. Pretty unlikely you’re going to go down this path in a home.
ZONE 1 & 2 = IPX4. That is IP44 OR IP65 in the lighting world. IP65 is a much stronger seal than IP44, but both comply. When putting light into a wall niche, you’re best to choose IP68. (Why do we say IP68 when the standard says IPX4? Because we know what sort of light fittings you’ll be looking at, and the good quality ones are usually rated IP68!!).
ZONE 3 = We don’t have to worry about it in this zone, we can use anything we like, but whilst it’s not defined in the Standards, you should also always consider steam in a bathroom and ideally only choose sealed light fittings so you don’t get moisture problems.
Phew – so there’s the basic rules for selecting lighting for your bathrooms – and in our next Bathroom BLOG – we’re going to be assisting you in choosing the right QUALITY of light…so that this super important room in your home looks beautiful at the same time as being safe.