As a business owner, you will definitely want to optimize your investment in your lighting infrastructure. This means that the lights you choose should suit your business needs and also last long and be cost-efficient. For some locations of your business, you may have a requirement to buy wet location lighting for areas where there might be excess moisture in the environment.
The operational efficiency and longevity of a light bulb depends on a host of factors; it is not always a wise idea to buy the most expensive one in the market. For instance, the longevity of light bulbs depends to a large extent on where you install them. Certain operational conditions are harsh on specific types of light bulbs. This is especially true of humid areas and locations where the lighting fixtures receive exposure to a lot of water. That is why, as a business owner, you should buy light bulbs that are specially for wet locations.
Before learning about the various types of lighting devices that are suitable for installation in wet locations, you should know more about the features of such areas. This knowledge will help you determine which areas in your business premises will need to use bulbs with wet location lighting specifications.
What is a Wet Location?
A wet location may be a spot inside your business premises or may be a region outdoors. This is a spot where the lighting devices receive continuous exposure to water or any other liquid. The liquid may splash, drip, or flow on the lighting devices and damage the electrical components of the fixture. The typical wet locations within a facility include the exterior walls of the building, stairwells, uncovered garages, driveways and walkways, and uncovered porches. The lighting fixtures in these areas get exposure to the elements, like rain, hail, sleet, and snow.
There may also be wet locations in certain manufacturing and production areas where a lot of steam generates. Certain areas of the washroom inside the business premises may also have a wet location lighting designation. The lighting fixtures in these areas should be up to safety and operational regulations so that the electrical components have protection from water. Continuous exposure to water not only lessens the lifespan and operational efficiency of light bulbs but may also turn the lighting device into a potential fire hazard.
Fixtures for Wet Location Lighting
In the United States, the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tests and rates light bulbs to facilitate their correct and safe usage. The UL rates lighting devices for their usage in wet locations. Usually the wires in a wet location lighting device are within its metal parts to protect them from water and humidity. This also reduces the danger of fires. These bulbs prevent the accumulation of water on its live parts, conductors, and electrical components. These are the parts that cannot withstand humidity and moisture.
However, before choosing a lighting device for a wet location, you will need to know about the various lighting “zones” and the “IP” (Ingress Protection) ratings of lighting devices.
Classification of Wet Locations into Zones
Lighting areas have zone classifications to help business owners easily understand the differences between wet zones within their commercial property and determine what kind of lighting fixtures they would need for specific areas. For ease of understanding, we explain these “zones” in the context of a typical bathroom.
Refers to areas inside the bath or the shower where a lighting device gets exposure to the maximum amount of water. Low voltage and immersion-proof light bulbs are necessary in these areas.
Refers to areas like just above the bath up to about 2.25 meters from the floor. These areas tend to remain wet a long time after an individual has used the space. Besides, lighting devices in these areas may be subject to exposure by occasional splashes of water.
Refers to areas at a distance of about 0.6 meters from the bath and a height of 2.25 meters from the floor. The area around the wash basin and more specifically, within a perimeter of 60cm is also within Zone 2.
IP Ratings of Devices For Wet Location Lighting
IP ratings of light bulbs refer to an international classification system that rates lighting devices. We base this on how well its various electrical components have protection from exposure to foreign elements (like dust, fingers, and tools) and moisture. Your choice of an IP-rated bulb depends on the particular zone within your property’s location where you want to install the particular lighting device. IP65, IP66, and IP67 light bulbs are rated for wet location lighting fixtures.
The first digit of the IP number indicates the amount of protection that the electrical components of the device have against intrusion from solid foreign particles, like dust. The 6 in the IP65, IP66, and IP67 codes indicates that their light bulbs have dust protection.
The second digit in the IP number indicates the amount of protection that the electrical components of the lighting device have against moisture. IP65 bulbs have protection from water that may spray from a device with a nozzle. IP66 bulbs have protection from powerful jets or heavy seas of water. Lighting devices that are for zone 1 should have an IP65 rating. IP67 bulbs are immersion-proof and are for zone 0 areas.
The above pieces of information will help you buy the right lighting device for the wet locations.