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Luminaire purchase: Why degrees and classes of protection are important.
Luminaire purchase: Why degrees and classes of protection are important.
Alexander Kaufmann
17. December 2018
Alexander Kaufmann

Invisible, powerful, universal. Electricity. Sometimes, however, this form of energy can also become dangerous. Protection against electrical voltage is therefore the top priority for all devices. What do you need to look out for when you buy a new lamp for your home? We have collected everything you need to know.

Do you know it? You peep up and speculate. You've never had to install a new luminaire in your bathroom before. Everything has to be perfect: Only the best is good enough for the home wellness temple. Besides style and charm, one thing is particularly important: Your safety. Equipped with the knowledge of all protection classes and degrees of protection, you can successfully implement any project – guaranteed.

Protection class vs. degree of protection – what is the difference?

Let's talk about protection: If you want to know how safe your luminaire is with regard to the built-in electrics, a quick glance at the packaging is sufficient. There you will find information on the protection class. This is divided into three categories: I, II and III.

But not only you as a user need protection. Depending on the room in which you mount the luminaire, it must also be safe from dirt and water. The specification for this is called degree of protection. This allows conclusions to be drawn about the ambient conditions in which the luminaire can be used.

CLASSES OF PROTECTION – a class of its own

You unpack the luminaire, turn it and look at its shape. Under certain circumstances, what you see can already be the most important component for your own protection. Depending on the material and design, the outer layer of a luminaire offers more or less protection against electrical voltage. This protection is divided into three classes:

Class 1:

Precautions of this class prevent current from flowing uncontrollably due to a defect. The protective conductor (yellow-green wire) acts as a conductor in the event of a defect. Triggering the fuse prevents further damage. All our luminaires have at least this protection class or higher.

Practical tip: It must be ensured that the protective conductor is always connected to the mains supply first.

Class 2:

Class II devices have continuous, double or reinforced insulation. It prevents contact with live parts. Therefore, these devices do not require an earth connection.

Class 3:

Electrical devices of protection class III also have complete insulation and thus protect the user from an electric shock. In addition, these devices are operated exclusively with a low voltage (max. 50 volts AC or 120 volts DC). For devices that you plug into your home power outlet, this means the use of a transformer. This reduces the normal voltage from 230 volts to less than 50 volts.

DEGREES OF PROTECTION – so that water and dust don't stand a chance

How would you best describe defense? Electrical engineering does this by means of degrees of protection. They tell you to what extent a device is protected against the ingress of water and dust.

Depending on the use, make sure that the luminaires have the appropriate degree of protection. Simply avoid dangerous situations: You install a luminaire in your living room? Then you need a lower degree of protection than when installing in the bathroom. Sounds logical – it is.

The degree of protection is indicated by the IP code (International Protection Code). This consists of two code numbers "IP XX" and ranges from IP 20 to IP 68.

The first code number indicates what protection a housing offers against foreign objects, the second code number describes the extent of protection against water or moisture. All our luminaires are protected at least with IP 20. This means that solids with a diameter of more than 12 mm have no chance of penetrating into the luminaire.

Simply put: the higher the degree of protection, the more difficult it is for substances to penetrate into the interior.We have compiled some examples of luminaires with different degrees of protection for you:

IP 20 – All Eglo luminaires have at least this degree of protection.

IP 33 – 30194 CITY 1 – EGLO outdoor luminaire:
  • Protected against solid foreign bodies, 2.5 mm diameter and larger
  • Rainproof luminaire
IP 44 – 97965 PALMITAL – EGLO Bath luminaire:
  • Protection against foreign bodies, with diameters from 1.0 mm
  • Splash-proof.
IP 54 – 95002 LED Lora – Eglo ceiling luminaire:
  • Dust protected
  • Splash-proof.
IP 65 – 95235 ZIMBA-LED recessed luminaire for outdoor area:
  • Dust-tight luminaire
  • Protected against water jets
IP 67 – 86189 RIGA 3 – EGLO recessed floor luminaire:
  • Dust-tight luminaire
  • Waterproof luminaire

Observe degrees of protection at home

Bathing fun with safety

Special circumstances require special measures: But no problem – when you buy your new bathroom luminaires, simply pay attention to the various protection areas. Keep a simple rule of thumb in mind: The more water that can occur in an area, the higher the degree of protection should be. Basically, all luminaires from IP20 can be installed in the bathroom. However, there are some areas where a higher degree of protection is required.

Luminaires with a degree of protection of IP44 or higher should be used within a radius of 60 cm around the bath, tap and shower.Luminaires with protection class IP65 or higher must be used in the shower or in the area of a shower head. From a height of 2.25m from the stand area, IP20 luminaires can be mounted anywhere.

Degrees of protection in the outdoor area

If you use luminaires in the outdoor area, the choice of the right luminaire is made easier with regard to degree of protection. IP23 outdoor luminaires (e.g. wall luminaires, floor luminaires, bollard luminaires, roof overhang luminaires, etc.) are generally suitable for all outdoor areas as long as they are not installed in the ground. For recessed floor luminaires or pool luminaires , a luminaire with degree of protection IP65 or higher must be used.

Just think of different situations when choosing your outdoor lighting: Heavy rain in summer, snow flurries in winter, windy evenings in autumn – so you are prepared for every situation.

So far – so safe. You are well prepared for your next project. You just remember: Protection classes indicate protection against electric shock. Degrees of protection, on the other hand, describe how easily substances can enter the interior of the luminaire. The higher the degree of protection, the more difficult it is for liquids and dust to enter the housing. But don't let that unsettle you. In most cases, a luminaire of protection class IP20/23 can be used without hesitation.

Alexander Kaufmann
Alexander Kaufmann
Online Marketing - this very diverse area has cast me under its spell for a long time. Together with a great team I can help shape the online presence of EGLO. This includes the creation of blog articles. An informative, understandable and visual structure is very important to me.

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