Safety Tips for Installing Bathroom Downlights

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The modern interior lights are characterised by their gentle and almost shadow-free lighting. This has made them a rage amongst those looking for lighting solutions for task oriented areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens. The designs and illumination possibilities available with such bathroom downlights are immense. For example, they can be used to produce both accent and ambient lighting by increasing or decreasing the number of light sources.

Another advantage is their positioning. By being placed away from direct vision, they provide a silent glow to the whole bathroom space. This is where other traditional lighting solutions fail, as they are either too bright or too dim.

One of the advantages of ceiling downlights is the simplicity of their design. All they need is a proper sized hole in the ceiling, where the containers are pushed in and secured with clips. This provides the added advantage that if any maintenance or modification is needed, it can be done by just unscrewing the clips and releasing the container. This simplicity is not present with bathroom downlights.

Why We Need Electrical Security for Bathroom Downlights

Reports by DIY News say that "every week in UK, at least 1 person dies due to electric shock, at home, while around 80 others suffer severe electrical shocks of varying magnitudes." A majority of such incidence are related to the misuse of electrical appliances in the bathroom.

Water is a good conductor of electricity and plays a vital role in the bathrooms. This is why all the electrical appliances are supposed to follow several predefined safety regulations before being installed there. The same holds true for bathroom downlights. In the UK, this regulation is called the IEE Wiring Regulation. This regulation clearly defines the safe areas in the bathrooms, where electrical installations can be made. Constant revisions are made to this regulation based on case studies.

Safe Zones for Installing Bathroom Downlights

The 17th edition of the IEE Wiring Regulation divides the bathroom into 3 zones, based on the frequency of water presence - the 0 zone is the wettest, while 2 is the driest possible zone.

• Zone 0: It defines the interior of the bath or shower, which can hold water for long stretches.
• Zone 1: This is the area directly above Zone 0, measuring up to 2.25m above the bottom of the shower. Horizontally, it stretches to 1.2m from the center of the shower.
• Zone 2: This is the area beyond both Zone 0 and 1. This zone stretches vertically 2.25m and horizontally 0.6m.

Bathroom downlights are generally installed in Zone 2, although for smaller spaces, even Zone 1 can be considered. However, in both cases, the transformer should be located beyond Zone 2. Recessed downlights, designed for use in wet areas, should be used in the shower and above the tub.

Security Standards to Consider Before Buying Bathroom Downlights

All the electrical circuits meant for installation in bathrooms need to be protected by Residual Current Devices (RCD) not exceeding 30mA. All bathroom downlights are marked on the basis of the level of mechanical and moisture protection they have. These are quoted in the form of Ingress Protection (IP) numbers. The common format is IPXY, where X is for mechanical protection and Y for moisture protection level. The higher the numbers, the better will be the protection. If you already have a bathroom downlight that has no IP listing on its casing, then you can install it only outside Zone 2.

Fire rated downlights should be installed to protect your premises from fire. Another form of interior lights for bathrooms is the mirror lights. They are placed in front of the mirrors so as to work as their 100% dedicated source for illumination. They should be placed 30 inches away from the mirror and approximately at eye-level. Similar safety issues are to be considered for these products as well.

Kathryn Dawson writes articles for Luma Lighting, masters of interior lighting in the UK. They have a huge collection of house lights available including lights for the kitchen, bathroom and every other room in the house. Check out their unrivalled selection of bathroom downlights from Saxby to add brightness and space to your bathroom. Accentuate that special painting with mirror lights from Endon that are available with or without rocker switches.

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