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You often see an IP value on lighting, but what does this value or classification actually mean? IP stands for Ingress Protection or International Protection rating. The first number indicates the degree of protection against solids and the second figure the protection against moisture and dust. Usually for indoor lights such as a pendant lamp for your living room, a ceiling lamp in your bedroom or a recessed spotlight in your hallway do not need extra protection as they are IP20 and that is sufficient enough to protect against dust. However, when it comes to bathrooms and any outdoor lighting it's a different story as water and electricity cannot mix. So for these type of areas you need a higher IP value, the higher the IP classification, the better the lighting is resistant to moisture and water.
The IP classification of lamps
The following IP classification are the most common in lighting:
- IP20: Dust Proof
- IP21: Drip proof (cannot be in direct contact with water)
- IP23: Drizzle proof (cannot be in direct contact with water)
- IP44: Splash proof (suitable for bathrooms & outdoors where its covered)
- IP54: Splash and Dust proof (suitable for bathrooms & outdoors where its covered)
- IP65: Dust proof and protected against low pressure jets of water
- IP67: Dust proof and protected against the affects of immersion up to 1m or 30mins.
- IP68: Complete dust and water proof (protected against long period of immersion)
When it comes to IP classification for outdoor or bathroom use, this is divided into Zone areas where each light will need a different IP value.
Zone 2 is the sink and toilet area of your bathroom or enclosed shower units. This area does not require a high IP value as there is no direct contact with water when in use, therefore an IP44 applies and any lights need to be mounted 60cm from Zone 1.
Zone 2 for outdoor light use is where the light is mounted in an area where the lamp is not directly exposed to outside elements, these be mounted in an area where there an overhead roof or structure that provides shelter from above. These areas such as your porch with an overhead roof, sheds or garages with soffits require minimum IP value of IP44.