|Bathroom Electrical Safety | bathroom safety zones | Bathroom electrics|
Water carries electricity efficiently. When the two mix, the result can kill. Because of this, from an electrical safety point of view, the bathroom is possibly the most dangerous room in the home. The consequences of an electric shock are far more severe in a bathroom or shower room as wet skin reduces the body's resistance. There are special requirements for electrical installations in bathrooms.
Choosing a light that’s safe for the bathroom
Electrical equipment may be identified as having a certain level of mechanical and moisture protection, these are quoted as 'Ingress Protection' (or IP) numbers - such as 'IPXY', where X and Y are numbers, the X showing the level of mechanical protection and Y showing 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 0, 1 or 2 (or elsewhere having a wet/damp environment).
The most common IP Codes are: IP67, IP65, IP44, IP20. For bathroom products you will find them clearly marked with its IP rating and the zone in which it can be installed
Typical electrical items which are marked with IP numbers include:
•Electrical shower units
Safety Zones for a Bathroom
Zone 0 - Inside the bath or shower. Any fittings used here must be SELV (Separated Extra Low Voltage – max. 12Volts) and have a minimum rating of IP67 (protected against immersion in water – total immersion proof)
Zone 1 - Above the bath or shower to a height if 2.25m. A minimum rating of IP44 is required. In this zone, if there is likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, a minimum of IPX5 is required. Also, subject to IP rating, SELV or 240V luminaries may be used in this zone; if the fitting is 240 volts, a 30mA residual current device (RCD) must also be used to protect the circuit in this zone.
Zone 2 - The area stretching to 0.6m outside the bath or shower and above the bath or shower if over 2.25m. An IP rating of at least IP44 is required. In this zone, if there is likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, a minimum of IPX5 is required. Also, subject to IP rating, SELV or 240V luminaries may be used in this zone. In addition, it is a good practice to also consider the area around a wash basin (within a 60cm radius of any tap) as Zone 2.
Outside the zones – anywhere outside zones 0, 1, and 2. Where water jets are not to be used for cleaning purposes, the general rules of BS7671 apply. Here, there is no requirement for any lighting solutions to be protected against particles or solid objects, e.g. IPX4 – no IP rating required.
New 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations now require that additional protection shall be provided for all circuits by the use of RCDs having the characteristics specified in Regulation 415.1.1. Regulation 701.411.3.3 means that all circuits, including lighting, electric showers, heated towel rails, etc., will require RCD protection, not exceeding 30mA.
Supplementary equipotential bonding
17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations introduced a change regarding supplementary equipotential bonding. The Regulation states that where the location containing a bath or shower is in a building with a protective equipotential bonding system in accordance with Regulation 4220.127.116.11, supplementary equipotential bonding may be omitted where all of the following conditions are met:
1. All final circuits of the location comply with the requirements for automatic disconnection according to 411.3.2,
2. All final circuits of the location have additional protection by means of an RCD in accordance 701.411.3.3,
3. All extraneous-conductive-parts of the location are effectively connected to the protective equipotential bonding according to 418.104.22.168.
Heaters and towel rails
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