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The Bathroom Zones for Extractor Fans
UK electrical regulations divide the bathroom into 4 zones. These zones are determined by their proximity to water, humidity and condensation, and the likelihood of the electrical items installed in those areas getting wet. Now we all know that electricity and water don’t mix, thus the need for the zones!
All bathroom light fittings and extractor fans are given an IP (Ingress Protection) rating, which relate to which zone they are suitable for. The first digit of an IP rating describes its protection from solid objects such as tools, insects or dust. The second digit, and the one we are concerned with, relates to its protection from water and moisture. The higher the number, the more protection it has:
The second digit - protection from liquids:
X0: no protection from liquids
X1: protection against vertically falling drops of water (e.g. condensation)
X2: protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical
X3: protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical
X4: protection against water sprayed from all directions - limited ingress permitted
X5: protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions - limited ingress permitted
X6: protected against high pressure jets of water (use on ship deck) - limited ingress permitted
X7: protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m
X8: protected against long periods of immersion under pressure
Bathroom Zone 0
The inside of the bath, or the inside of the shower that can physically hold or contain water. Electrical items installed into these areas must be low voltage, SELV (Safety Extra Low Voltage - no higher than 12V), and rated no lower than IPX7.
Bathroom Zone 1:
The area directly above zone 0, limited to a height of 2.25m above the bath or shower. Electrical items installed in this area must have an IP rating of IPX4 or higher. Items installed into zone 1 can be mains voltage, but if so must be fitted to a 30ma RCD. Low voltage items can also be installed in this area, but the transformer must be located outside of zone 2.
Bathroom Zone 2:
This is the zone beyond zones 0 and 1, continuing 0.6m horizontally and up to 2.25m vertically. As with zone 1, mains voltage items must be fitted to an RCD, and low voltage items’ transformers must be installed outside of zone 2. IPX4 or higher protection is required. Wash Basins are classified as being in zone 2.
Bathroom Zone 3:
Any lighting or extractor fan can be installed in this area, as it does not have an IP rating. Apart from shavers and toothbrushes though, no portable electrical equipment is allowed in this area.
We remind you that all electrical works must be carried out by a fully qualified and registered professional electrician.