Zombie apocalypses are no longer out of the question. We’ve survived one too many once-in-a-lifetime events to think otherwise. A national toilet paper crisis. A face slap at the Oscars. A rich bloke buying Twitter.
Naturally, an apocalypse is next, right? Totally. If you’re going to be chased by your flesh-eating grandma, you want your LEDs to be apocalypse-proof.
Okay, probably not. You’ll have bigger things to worry about during an apocalypse. But, if that were to happen, this article has got you covered.
In this guide, we’ll explain the basics behind insulation contact (IC), impact protection (IK), and ingress protection (IP) ratings so you know which lights to choose next time you’re building your underground bunker (or, you know, your next home).
Your One-Stop-Apocalypse-Ready LED Shop
While we haven’t tested our lights in a zombie apocalypse (yet), all our outdoor LEDs are IK and IP rated, and our downlights are all IC rated. If you’d like to skip the details and still score lights that could probably win the next season of Survivor, give us a call now.
Insulation Contact Ratings (IC Ratings) Explained
What are IC ratings?
Insulation is commonplace in most homes and businesses. It’s in your ceilings and walls and helps moderate temperatures in your spaces. With appropriate insulation, your rooms will stay cool in summer and warm in winter—keeping your energy bills low.
Insulation Contact Ratings or IC Ratings indicate that a light is suitable for close or direct contact with the insulation and has met the relevant Australian/New Zealand Standard for Recessed Luminaires. It means your insulation can cover your IC-rated recessed lights without any headaches.
IC and IC-4 ratings indicate that light is suitable for close or direct contact with insulation—the IC-4 rating being the more effective of the two. You should also note that if an LED is rated as CA90, insulation may touch up against the LED, but it cannot cover the LED.
Why IC-rated lighting?
While insulation is an excellent way to help foil fast-increasing energy costs, insulation is flammable. Insulation is also fluffy, soft, and sometimes, if it’s pink, easily mistaken for fairy floss in your ceilings.
When you throw in downlights that can reach temperatures of up to 370°C, it’s a recipe for disaster.
If you’re using non-IC-rated lighting, installation is tricky, time-consuming, and, therefore, pricey. You’ll need to have breaks in your insulation around and above the downlight to allow heat to disperse. With broken insulation comes thermal loss, shrinking the benefits of insulation altogether.
But, if you don’t leave gaps, you’ll not only risk your safety, the trapped heat will erode the longevity of your downlights.
You won’t win either way.
So, how do I stop my LEDs from burning down my house?
Cue IC-rated recessed lights. Since IC-rated lighting can come into close contact with insulation, these champs stay cooler for headache-hampering installation and fire-hazard-dodging fun.
Using LED downlights that are IC-rated means installation is faster, easier, and, therefore, cheaper. They also look fabulous because they can be installed flush with your ceiling for an extra fancy finish. Oh, and you’ll avoid the thermal loss that occurs with breaks in the insulation, which means your insulation will remain effective.
Ingress Protection Ratings (IP Ratings) Explained
What are IP ratings?
Ingress Protection Ratings or IP Ratings describe a light fitting’s level of protection against particular environmental conditions. It is a two-digit code immediately preceded by the letters “IP”, and it represents protection against ingress or intrusion from:
- a person (e.g., fingers accidentally touching electrical components);
- solid objects and particulars (e.g., insect, dust, or dirt); and
- moisture (e.g., condensation or complete immersion).
The first digit (from 0 to 6) covers protection from solid objects, and the second digit (from 0 to 8) covers protection from moisture.
Using an IP rating chart, you can precisely determine whether your lights suit the application. For example, while terms like “waterproof LED lights” fall short of any specificity, an IP44 rating or an IP65 rating will inform you whether your lights can handle dust or moisture.
And the best part? IP rating charts and systems are universal.
Why IP-rated lighting?
This one’s simple. And also essential when choosing lights for your space. If your lights are exposed to the elements like dust, moisture, and even insects, you need IP-rated lighting.
IP-rating lighting is handy in spaces like kitchens (a place where all sorts of yummy liquids are flung around) and bathrooms (a place where you get extra steamy. Hubba hubba.) And, of course, IP-rated lights are vital for your outdoor areas.
How can I have a water fight with my LEDs?
We think it’s probably better to have a water fight with your kids, but the answer is simple, too. Choose an LED with an appropriate IP rating.
- If you choose lights for your bathroom, an IP44 rating is enough.
- If you want something more heavy-duty for the outdoors, an IP65 rating is your best pal.
- Extra heavy-duty? IP67 is your champ.
Impact Protection Ratings (IK Ratings) Explained
What are IK ratings?
And why aren’t they called IP ratings, too? LEDs are complicated enough, and having two different IP ratings is a foolproof way to run over your waterproof LEDs, thinking they’re also impact resistant.
Impact Protection Ratings or IK Ratings describe an electrical enclosure’s ability to resist impact (measured in joules). The “K” represents “kinetic” to differentiate between IP ratings, and LEDs can have IK impact ratings between 1 and 10.
Like IP ratings, IK ratings are also an international classification. And the higher the IK impact rating, the more tough and sturdy the LED.
Why IK-rated lighting?
Unless you live in a high-traffic area, it’s unlikely that you’ll need IK-rated lighting for your home. Instead, it’s in areas where your lights are likely to be damaged or vandalised where these robust, IK-rated lights show their superpowers.
They’re called vandal proof lighting for a reason. And you’ll need them in areas where you think your lights could be damaged by impact.
Suppose you don’t use vandal-proof lighting in industrial and commercial environments, public spaces, warehouses, garages, and other places where impact is expected. In that case, your outdoor lights will be damaged or deteriorate faster. And once they’re damaged, they might stop working, or even worse: you might cause hazards.
So, skip the headaches, and choose vandal resistant lighting.
Can I run over IK-rated Brightgreen lights?
Yes, yes, you can. Our beams have IK10-tested housings for impact. We really did run a few over. Check out our outdoor range and see how far you can throw these IK-rated LEDs without breaking them.
What are you waiting for? Your one-stop-apocalypse-ready LED shop is open for business. Give us a call to get prepared now.