Shopping for bathroom heaters is definitely not your everyday task and it's easy to get confused by the technical terms used in the electric heating industry. Soon enough you discover that your attempt to buy a bathroom heater, supposedly an easy task, turns into two hours of research on IP ratings, zones and electric heated towel rails. Today I will focus on bathroom heating zones and hopefully by the time you shop for your next electric heater or towel rail, you’ll know everything there is to know!
What are bathroom heating zones?
Bathroom heating zones are divided into four areas: 0, 1, 2 and 3, with zone 3 often being referred to as the ‘outside zone’. All of these zones can be used to mount a heater, however, different zones require different minimum IP ratings. On Electric Radiators Direct, the IP ratings of our appliances can be found by clicking on the 'Specification' tab on individual product descriptions. The IP rating simply indicates the level of protection a bathroom heater has against foreign bodies (first digit) and liquids (second digit). For example, a heated towel rail rated IP10 would have no protection against liquids, and minimal protection against foreign bodies (solid objects greater than 50mm, for example accidental contact by hand). The highest rating for protection against foreign bodies is 6 – an electric bathroom heater with this kind of rating will be totally protected against dust. For liquids, a rating of 8 is the highest, and it means your bathroom heater is protected against long periods of immersion and pressurised water.
What are the rules and requirements for bathroom zones?
This is the zone inside your bath or shower. The minimum IP rating for this zone is IPX7 and any fittings used in this zone must be SELV (Separated Extra Low Voltage – max, 12Volts). The ‘X’ simply means that there is no minimum requirement for protection against foreign bodies, however, a recommended rating would be IP67.
Zone 1 & 2
Zone 1 is the zone above your bath or shower to a height of 2.25m. If you were to install a heated towel rail in this zone, it would need a rating no lower than IPX4. Zone 2 stretches to a 0.6m outside your bath or shower and above your bath or shower if over 2.25m. This zone has the same requirements as zone 1. The IP rating for these zones changes if there is a likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes – in this case, the minimum IP rating required increases to IPX5.
The ‘Outside’ Zone 3
As the name suggests, zone 3 is any area in your bathroom outside zones 0, 1 and 2 where water jets are not to be used for cleaning purposes. There are no minimum requirements for an IP rating in this zone and you should refer to standard BS 7671 regulations (Requirements for Electrical Installations) or your electrician.
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