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What does the IP rating of a hand dryer mean?

What is IP Rating for a Washroom?

The IP rating (Ingress Protection rating) helps determine what washroom electricals can be fitted in particular zones in the area. It is important to consider this when buying lights, hand dryers and extractor fans etc.

The illo hand dryer in the picture is located near to the sink. The installation process needs to consider the IP rating of the hand dryer.

The IP number is used in the UK to specify the necessary environmental protection of electronic equipment in the washroom.

These ratings are determined by two specific tests as explained below.

illo Dryer near to a sink IPX4 rated

The IP (Ingress Protection) number is composed of two numbers:

The first number ranges from 0 - 6. This refers to the level of protection against solid foreign bodies such as dust. An X in this position means that this attribute was not tested

  1. No special protection
  2. Protection from a large part of the body such as the hand, from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter
  3. Protection against fingers or other object not greater that 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter
  4. Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc with a diameter or thickness greater than 2.5mm
  5. Protection from entry by solid objects with a diameter or thickness greater than 1mm
  6. Protection from the amount of dust that would interfere with the operation of equipment
  7. Dust tight

The second number ranges from 0 - 8. This refers to the level of protection against water.

  1. No special protection
  2. Protection from vertically falling drops of water e.g. condensation
  3. Protection from direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from the vertical
  4. Protection from direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical
  5. Protection from splashed water from all directions, limited ingress permitted
  6. Protection from low pressure water projected from a nozzle
  7. Protection against heavy seas, or powerful jets of water
  8. Protection against immersion
  9. Protection against complete, continuous submersion

The higher the number, the better the protection. For example, IP24 is protected against penetration of say a finger and from splashes of water from any direction.

The type of product that requires an IP rating in the washroom does vary, but generally it's anything that uses electricity. This could be any sort of electric hand dryer, shaver socket, lighting or extractor fan fitted on the wall or within the ceilings. You need to know the minimum rating required in your chosen zone to make sure you are fitting electrics safely and legally in your washroom or wc. Take a look at our diagram above to easily identify your washroom zones.

What Are Washroom Zones?

Washroom zones are areas where electrical equipment must offer a certain degree of protection against water. The washroom zone number refers to the amount of water likely to be present. The lower the zone number, the higher the IP rating needs to be.

For example, Zone 0 covers areas inside showers. These areas must have a particular minimum IP rating that protects against water immersion - in this case, IP67.

Washroom IP zones explained... IP Rating for Hand Dryer image

Zone 0

Zone 0 is inside the shower tray itself. Any fitting used in this zone must be low voltage, (max 12V) and be rated at least IP67 which is total immersion proof.

Zone 1

Zone 1 is the area above the shower to a height of 2.25m from the floor. If the fitting is 240V a 30mA residual current device (RCD) must also be used to protect the circuit in this zone. An IP65 rating is recommended.

Zone 2

Zone 2 is an area stretching 600mm outside the perimeter of the shower and to a height of 2250mm from the floor. In these washroom zones an IP rating of at least IPX4 is required. In addition, it is best practice to consider the area around a wash basin, within a 600mm radius of any tap, to be considered as zone 2.

Zone 3

Zone 3 is anywhere outside zones 0, 1, and 2 (subject to specific limits) and where no water jet is likely to be used. No IP rating is required. However, if water jets may be used for cleaning purposes in zones 1, 2 and 3, a fitting rated a minimum IP65 must be used.

Please note you should always make sure any electrical work is carried out by a suitably qualified electrician.

The following featured hand dryers all have an IP24 rating.

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