When you’re out shopping for outdoor or bathroom lighting you may have seen the term ‘IP rating’ attached to various fittings. This is a code which simply indicates how well-protected a lighting product is from external influence. This term stands for Ingress Protection.
What is Ingress Protection?
Ingress protection (IP) determines if an electrical product’s exterior case or enclosure will protect the working parts from water, dust or solid object intrusion. This is to keep the product electrically safe for longer lasting usage. Ingress protection testing, or IP testing, provides a repeatable test standard to compare the enclosure protection. This is a type of testing which should always be performed at an accredited test laboratory.
IP - in detail
You may still wonder what this means. Basically, each part of the code is designed to enable you the necessary information to help you decide if the fitting you are looking at is suitable for where you wish to put it.
Firstly – IP
As noted, the IP in the code is short for Ingress Protection - as in how well protected a fitting is.
Digit 1 - Solids
The first digit tells you how well protected a fitting is against solids. This is relevant to elements such as dust, and other objects. The higher the number, the more protected it is. On occasion
you may find the digit represented by an X. X means the value has not been determined, usually because the product hasn't been tested for protection against solid objects.
Digit 2 - Liquid
The second digit is used to tell you about the level of liquid protection: 0 being not protected and, the highest value of 8 being safe to submerge in more than 1 meter of water.
Please see the chart below to see a clear idea of how the IP rating is calculated.
Anybody looking to buy exterior lighting will want this fixture to be durable and well protected against the elements. Mostly designed for outdoor use, some will carry with them a higher IP rating than others. This can range from an IP of 44 to 68. IP 68 is obviously the best. An IP44 rated light fixure is suitable for use in outdoor buildings such as your garage, shed or porch, if the fitting is under a canopy. This makes it safeguarded against foreign bodies 1mm+s thick and splashing water. An IP65 rated fitting is the minimum requirement outdoor use. The 6 rating means it is completely dust tight, while the 5 means it’s protected against pressurized water jets from any direction.
Overall, this rating is there to help give an accurate consideration as to the kind of lighting, the application and environment to where they lighting is to be used. It also gives an idea as to how ideal the type of lighting also is for use.