Today, strict regulations apply to electricity and LED lighting in the bathroom. In the bathroom, there are many sources of water. Water and electricity are 2 things that do not go well together and can be dangerous or fatal. After all, too many accidents have occurred because a water source was placed too close to an electricity connection and caused a short circuit. The rules are strict and that is why it is mandatory to install a 30 mA (milliampère) loss current switch in your bathroom. Where the rule for the home is 300 mA, it is much stricter for the bathroom.
When you install bathroom lighting, you must first and foremost determine in which zone you want lighting. A bathroom is divided into 3 zones.
a) Zone 1:
This is the dark blue zone at the bath or showers up to a height of 225 cm. In this zone, it is not advisable to install LED lighting unless in the ceiling and at a height above 225 cm. Below this zone, it is mandatory to have a water-resistant fixture ( minimum IP 45 or IP 65 (spray-proof or no damage if sprayed at any angle)).
b) Zone 2:
This is the light blue zone that starts at the border of the bath, washbasin, bidet or shower and up to a distance of 60 cm. Within these dimensions, bathroom lighting must be water-resistant ( minimum IP 44 or IP X4 (splash-proof (no damage if sprayed at any angle).
c) Zone 3:
This is the white zone. This zone starts at the edge of the light blue zone. There are no special requirements (in Ireland though) for water resistance.
These regulations apply to domestic use, according to the “IEE wiring regulations”, a regulation that dates from 2008.
In summary, it comes down to this: as soon as there is the least exposure to water, IP 45 or IP 65 is a minimum requirement, above 225 cm or when one is more than 60 cm from the dark blue zone, no requirement is required anymore.
2) Which fixture should you choose?
There are many options for installing lighting in a bathroom:
a) Wall LED Lighting :
A wall lamp or wall lamp is often attached to the wall. In the bathroom, there are also wall fittings that are mounted above or next to the mirror or the pharmacy cabinet. These are often narrow, elongated wall lamps that mainly provide diffuse or indirect light.
A wall lamp in the form of a painting lamp, with which an arm that lets the light source shine at a distance of +/- 20 cm towards the mirror or downwards is also used a lot.
Wall lights with shades are nowadays often used as bathroom lighting. The cap is then usually made in Plexiglas or glass and is often white or translucent.
b) Ceiling LED lighting:
A LED ceiling lamp is used in almost every bathroom. The advantage of a ceiling lamp is that it never gets in the way. It is always attached to the ceiling and never hangs low. Round or square ceiling lamps are often used as bathroom lighting, but there are also trendier trends in which the shapes can be more extravagant. In a bathroom, with an average size of 12 m2, it is advisable not to experiment too much with this. A ceiling lamp is primarily intended to provide indirect light. That is why it is often equipped with frosted glass as a lampshade in which you can place LED lamps. That way you get a nice diffused light which is highly recommended. The use of spotlights, on the other hand, can sometimes be blinding and is not recommended.
c) Recessed spots:
Recessed spots are very often used as bathroom lighting. Nothing is easier! It makes 1 whole with the ceiling and is now available in many types. Built-in spots with an IP 45 or IP 65 degree are often hung above the shower or bath. You can opt for recessed luminaires with separate spots or you can opt for recessed spots with integrated LED modules. Nowadays there are also varieties without a driver. It is often recommended to work with 12 V or 24 V luminaires, but it can also be used in 220 V. Recessed spotlights are often also integrated into the bathroom furniture.
d) Hanging LED lighting
Hanging lamps are hardly ever used in a bathroom. Unless you have a large bathroom of 25 or 30 m2, it is not advisable since they reduce mobility.
e) Ambient LED lighting:
In addition to all other lightings, the emergence of LED lighting has created the possibility to work with mood colors for bathroom lighting. For example, a built-in wall lamp with blue color can also be very nice in a shower. LED strips in RGB (where the colors change or where you can set your favorite light color) is also widely used nowadays. Make sure that the lighting meets the requirements for water resistance.
3) Light intensity
With bathroom lighting, you must always distinguish between direct and indirect lighting. Indirect LED lighting provides basic lighting while direct lighting. And can provide extra light in the places where you need it, for example at the mirror. In general, a total light intensity of 200 lux is recommended. Usually, a power of 4 to 6W / m2 is sufficient to have correct bathroom lighting.
Even in places where you need extra light, you should be careful not to place excessive lighting because it can have a blinding effect. A wall lamp next to the mirror is often provided with a maximum of 15 W LED.
Always ensure that when you install bathroom lighting, you first switch off the power.