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What is an IP rating?
If you have ever shopped for new bathroom or outdoor lighting, you will have come across IP ratings. IP ratings are a measure of the protection a sealed (or unsealed) electrical fitting has against dirt or moisture. IP stands for 'Ingress Protection', and its following number codes are defined in international standard EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989).
What do the digits represent?
Here is an example of what an IP rating looks like: IP65.
The first number after 'IP' is used to define the protection against solids such as dirt and other objects, and the second is used to define the protection a fitting has against water and moisture. The higher the number is, the better protected it is. Using an improperly rated light bulb in the wrong location can be dangerous and increase the risk of injury.
First digit - Protection from solids
0 - No protection
1 - Large surface objects (>50mm) but not deliberate tampering or force
2 - Fingers or similar size tools or objects (>12.5mm)
3 - Thick wires/tools (>2.5mm)
4 - Most wires/screws (>1mm)
5 - Large amounts of dust
6 - All dust, complete protection against any foreign body
X - Undefined dust protection
0 - No protection
1 - Dripping water
2 - Dripping water ( fitting tilted up to 15 degree)
3 - Spraying water (falling at any angle up to 60 degrees)
4 - Splashing water
5 - Water jets
6 - Powerful water jets
7 - Immersion up to 1m
8 - Immersion beyond 1m
Choosing the correct lamp
The IP rating of a lamp will be dependant on where it will be placed, and how exposed to the elements it will be. Most outdoor lighting will have a high IP rating and be able to withstand some degree of dust and water. If your lamp is prone to higher amounts of splashing or water jets you will have to go for a lamp with a higher IP rating. If you are choosing lamps for floor-recessed lighting, you will need complete water tightness (IP67).
For more information...
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you are having trouble getting your head round IP ratings; we will be more than happy to help!
Our telephone number is 0345 605 2505, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.