Breakdown of the IP code
How the IP code defines the use of lamps in bathrooms and outdoor areas.

When walking through furniture stores, DIY stores or model houses we always notice one thing in particular: the great bathrooms. And not only because of the partly new technical details and the quality of the furniture, tubs and tiles, but also because of the often sophisticated lighting. In order to savely install a lamp or any other electronic device in such rooms, you should pay attention to the IP code.


In this article, we’ll focus on this security-related topic and show you which IP code should be used for the various applications and environments.

The difference between bathroom lighting and regular lamps

Bathroom and outdoor lights are suitable lamps for use in humid environments. They place special demands on the design of the lamp so that it is guaranteed that no water or dust can penetrate it. Lamps for exterior or humid rooms are always luminaires of protection type II and have a corresponding IP code for legal reasons. This is also indicated on the packaging.

The IP code in the bathroom

In addition to the protection type and the IP code, bathroom lighting must comply with the requirements for the respective protection area in a humid room. The individual protection areas in the bathroom are defined in DIN VDE 0100 part 701. Three areas of protection have been defined since 2002. For more information on the protection areas please read our expert article.


Breakdown of the IP code

The installation of lamps or electronic components in humid rooms depends on the permitted IP code . The IP code determines the extent to which an electrical component can be exposed to environmental influences without being damaged or presenting a safety risk. They also give an overview of the protection against water penetration. The letters IP stand for “Ingress Protection” and the “X” is replaced as follows:

  1. digit: touch protection / protection against foreign objects
  2. digit: protection against water
  3. digit: additional touch protection
  4. digit: additional letters

The third and fourth position is not mandatory for lamps and is often not included in practice. If the first or second digit is not relevant to the label, it will be replaced by an “X”, since then there is no protection.

Index for touch protection
IP Code: Index for touch protection
Index for liquid ingress
IP Code: Index for liquid ingress

For example, a lamp with IP68 would be completely protected against touch (refers to electrical components), dustproof and protected from water penetration when immersed and could operate in a pond. But beware: for use in chlorinated water, such as pools, the surface finish of the lamp must be suitable. This is worth a conversation with a qualified electrician.

The IP code in the outdoor area

A lamp that is used outdoors must withstand wind and weather. This results – similar to the bathroom, depending on the place of use and purpose certain requirements, especially on dust and water protection. Below we have shown typical locations for outdoor lighting and their minimum requirement for the respective IP protection.

The IP code in the outdoor area
Code IP 23

When installed directly under a roof, the lamps must have at least protection class IP23. Thus these lamps are protected against foreign objects with < 12.5 mm diameter and dripping water (15% incline impact).

Code IP 44

If the lights are installed on a covered wall, they must have at least IP44. Lamps with IP44 are protected against solid foreign objects of 1 mm diameter and splash water. That is, water that splashes against the housing from any direction must not have a damaging effect on the lamp.

Code IP 65

If you want to install lamps on or in the ground, under a roof or overhead, you have to use lighting with IP65. These lamps are then dustproof and protected against water jets. This means that the lamps remain safe even when they are subjected to heavy rain or when sprayed with a garden hose.

Code IP 67

Lights that are placed outside in the ground or road must at least comply with IP67. These lamps could then also endure temporary submergence in water without damage.


Code IP 68

Lamps for a pond or a stream course have to comply with IP68 as they are permanently under water. IP68 is therefore also the highest protection class for lamps.

Due to the dangerous combination of water and electricity in wet rooms and outdoor areas, these lights should only be installed by a licensed electrician. However, architects and light planners are also happy to help with a well thought-out planning.


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