The choice of electrical installation products for bathrooms is primarily determined by their class of protection against electric shock and the degree of protection against water ingress. What do the leading manufacturers offer the Russian buyer to solve this problem? How and where to buy high-quality sockets, switches, boxes, shields?
In the current regulatory documents, there are more restrictions on the installation of electrical equipment in bathrooms, showers and toilets than in other places of permanent residence of people. ATdangerous and especially dangerous rooms, which they are, the number of sockets, switches, junction boxes, lamps and wires should be kept to a minimum. Electrical installation work in bathrooms should be carried out as rationally as possible, in compliance with all the requirements set forth in the «Electrical Installation Rules» (PUE), state standards, building codes and technical conditions. ATin the above premises, only special-purpose electrical installation products can be used: socket outlets, junction and branch boxes, lamps, switches actuated by means of a cord, RCD sockets, RCD plugs, as well as selective RCDs.
ATbathrooms, showers and toilets, the protection class of electrical fittings and electrical appliances must be at leastII, and the degree of protection against water is not lower than IP44.
ATin accordance with the accepted zoning of bathrooms and shower rooms on the basis of electrical safety in zone 0 (the volume of the bathtub, shower tray), it is allowed to install devices with a degree of protection IPX7, as well as low-voltage electrical devices powered by mains up to 12B, designed for use in these premises (usually they are used in hot tubs with software control and automated showers). In this case, the power supply 12B must be outside the zone0. Placement of sockets, switches, junction and junction boxes, lamps, any electrical appliances powered by mains over 12In this zone is not allowed.
ATzone1 (the space above the area, which is bounded by a plane at a height of 225cm from the floor) it is allowed to install products with a degree of protection IPX5, as well as a switch activated by a cord, installation of a water leakage sensor (usually on the floor near the bath), instantaneous electric water heater of protection classII (with double or reinforced insulation). The power supply of the devices is carried out through wires or cables laid in the wall or floor, brought from another zone or from the outside. Sockets, switches, junction and branch boxes, open wiring, lamps, a washing machine and other electrical appliances should not be here.
ATzone2 (space width 60cm adjacent to the vertical surface of the zone1 and bounded by a plane at a height of 225cm from the floor) install devices with a degree of protection IPX4. The same prohibitions apply here as in the zone.1. However, in addition to a class II water heater, installation of lighting fixtures and a cord-operated switch, laying of power wiring tucked into the wall or floor is already allowed in this area.
ATzone3 (volume height 225cm and width 240cm adjacent to the vertical surface of the zone2) there are no restrictions, therefore it can be installed devices with degree of protection IPX1. Here, the installation of splash-proof sockets with an isolating transformer or with an integrated RCD is allowed; cord operated switch; junction and branch boxes; lighting fixtures. It is also possible to lay power wiring in an open and closed way, install a boiler, washing machine and other electrical appliances. In addition, in zone 3, it is permissible to place a mini-shield with selective RCDs that protect energy-intensive electrical appliances.
It is easiest to distinguish sockets and lighting devices with a degree of protection IP44 and higher from ordinary ones by marking— on ordinary products it is sometimes absent, but on devices with the indicated degrees of protection it is mandatory. Of course, there are other signs, but outwardly they may be indistinguishable. In addition, a characteristic feature of IP44 electrical sockets is the presence of a cover over the contact holes and a protective cover (made of PVC or similar materials), which almost hermetically closes the back of the product and prevents moisture from getting inside.
The applied classification of electrical installation products complies with the international standard International Protection— IP. The letters IP are used in the marking. They are followed by two numbers: the first indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of solid particles, the second— degree of protection against water. The symbol X in the designation instead of a number indicates that the requirement for this parameter is not standardized.
Degrees of IP protection
|First digit: protection against ingress of solid particles
||Second digit: protection against moisture ingress
||Protection against vertically falling drops
||Protection against touching hazardous parts with the back of the hand. 3protection against the ingress of solids exceeding 50mm
||Protected against splashes falling at an angle up to 15 to the vertical
||Protected against splashes falling at an angle up to 60 to the vertical
||Finger contact protection. Protection against ingress of solid objects exceeding 12mm
||Splash protection from all directions
||Protection against access to dangerous parts with a tool. Protection against ingress of solid objects exceeding 2.5mm
||Protected against water jets from all directions
||Protection against contact with wire to dangerous parts. Protection against ingress of solid objects exceeding 1mm
||Complete protection against splashes and strong jets like sea storms
||Protection against water during short-term immersion to a depth of 15cm to 1m
||Absolute dust protection
||Protection against water during prolonged stay at a depth of more than 1m*
|*The exact data is specified by the manufacturer.
Almost all major manufacturers of electrical devices and specialized trading companies supply to Russia the necessary range of products for special electrical installations, including bathrooms. ATfirst of all, these are such industrial giants as BUSCH-JAEGER, BTICHINO, GIRA, GEWISS, JUNG, MERTEN, LEGRAND, SIEMENS, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, SIMON. FROMNumerous firms from Korea, China, Turkey, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belarus, as well as Russian electrical enterprises are trying to compete with them in our market.
High-quality electrical installation equipment for bathrooms is supplied to Russia from Italy under the GEWISS trademark. This group of manufacturers publishes in Russian practical manuals for the installation of their products. The range of the company is quite extensive: European standard sockets for electric shaver with an isolating transformer and light signaling of the selected voltage (230/120AT); sockets equipped with an automatic overload protection device; sockets of the «Sikursistem» and «Sikurplay» series for 16And with a constant (2200W) or selectable (from 200 to 2200W) maximum power, with built-in class A differential circuit breakers responding to leakage currents of 10 and 30ma. Products are equipped with protective screens and fuses against short circuits. In addition, wall switches for 16A, powered by a non-conductive cord 150cm; built-in IP44 junction and junction boxes made of insulating heat-resistant plastic with 48 series white coverRT (GW 48001-48011); electronic water detector with sensor, equipped with light and sound alarm.
A wide range of electrical fittings for bathrooms is produced by the French concern LEGRAND. Shaver sockets, with or without safety shutter, can be used for 115V and 230V appliancesC. Connecting these sockets to the network through an isolating transformer occurs only when the plug is plugged into the socket. Products are protected from overloads and short circuits by means of a built-in thermal relay that limits the power to 20VA. For the power circuit of washing machines and for operation in especially damp rooms, the company offers sockets of the Plexo series55s with IP55 protection. These are devices with a protective shutter, safe for children, with and without a lock, devices with a differential circuit breaker for a rated current of 16A, responsive to leakage current 30ma.
ATbathrooms heated by electrical appliances can be equipped with an electronic thermostat in a moisture-proof design. LEGRAND releases for these purposes the thermostat series «Plexo55s monoblock» in a housing with a protective shutter and with an adjustment range from 5 to 30C. Plexo series junction and junction boxes, round or square, made of self-extinguishing plastic (at 650FROM— for 30c) and allow the introduction of cables and pipes with a diameter of 4 to 25mm. Their degree of protection is IP55.
A diverse range of devices for bathrooms is produced by the German company GIRA. ATeach of the 9 series of electrical installation products has socket outlets for wet rooms. For example, in the line System55 are Schuko sockets marked SV (Safety), ZSV (Additional Safety), WSV (Enhanced Safety). Surface-mounted GIRA fixtures in waterproof design (TX-44 series) can also be installed in sanitary facilities. The Schuko socket outlets, designed for a current of 16A. All of them are equipped with protective shutters, have fields or plates for writing. ATsome models, along with the standard ones, are provided with selected circuits (for example, only for a washing machine or clothes dryer), the shutters of these outlets are locked with a key. The company also offers consumers one very interesting solution: by purchasing special rubber seals for sockets and switches of any of its eight series, you can achieve IP44 protection. We choose a product, buy additional gaskets— and we get a device suitable for installation in the bathroom.
In addition, GIRA also manufactures a leakage sensor. It consists of a control unit and the actual sensor. When moisture gets on the sensor, the unit notifies about it with sound and light (red) signals. Can be combined with the binary inputs of the EIB control bus systems. The device has II class of protection and degree of protection IP65.
The German company JUNG has developed special lines of shock and moisture resistant wiring devices. Its products are distinguished not only by high mechanical strength, degree of protection against water penetration, but also by an interesting design. Perilex and WU flush-mounted series500 represent current rated 10 and 16A waterproof outlets with a heavy-duty spring cover (151W/WU), with labeling field and child lock (CD520KIWU), illuminated with spring cover (CD520KOWU), with padlock and labeling field (SD590BFSL). ATsurface-mounted series WG800 and WG600, the company offers sockets with similar features and functions. For example, sockets with spring covers 820NA/KI are child resistant, 820KO— operation indicator, 820NA— a field for an inscription on a cover and the lock.
WG series circuit breakers800 and WG600 for tubs and showers, cord operated, designed for both wall and ceiling mounting. For semi-automatic switching on/off of washing machines and dryers, JUNG offers a moisture-proof time switch with ranges of 15 and 120min.
Belarusian enterprise «UPOBelTIZ» supplies to the Russian market a wide range of single and double sockets, designed for a current of 10A, for open installation in damp rooms with additional RCD protection. The same company produces various types of connecting, branching and mounting boxes suitable for use in bathrooms.
It is possible to do without the above-described electrical installation equipment with a degree of protection IP44 only in large bathrooms. ATold buildings are unlikely to succeed. Firstly, because zone 3 of a standard bathroom in a multi-storey building (with an area of 3-3.9m2) only include the wall opposite the bathtub and sections of walls adjacent to it with a width of 5 to 50see It is hardly possible to place all the electrical equipment there (and there is nothing to say about the aesthetics of such an arrangement). Secondly, because the sockets in this case, according to the PUE, must be connected through an isolating transformer. BUTthis means that it will be impossible to provide power through them to anything other than an electric shaver due to the low power of the transformer. The installation of an isolation transformer of greater power will require, in addition to the high costs of its purchase, also the area for this device, as well as constant supervision (the transformer does not turn off from the network). If we add to the above an increase in the amount of electricity bills, it becomes quite obvious— the option with an isolating transformer is of little use. That is, the only way out (provided by the PUE) is the use of sockets of a protection class of at least IP44 with a residual current device.
The cost of electrical installations
||ELJO (SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC)
|Single socket with grounding and cover
|Illuminated single-gang switch
|One-key switch with two places
|Single-gang switch with two places with backlight
What is UZO?
The residual current device (RCD) monitors the current leakage from the circuit, which occurs when a person touches the conductive section of the circuit and current begins to flow through his body, and provides automatic disconnection of all phases or poles of the emergency section of the circuit in a time usually not exceeding 0.02s (+40…-60%) from the moment the leak occurs.
RCDs are available in two types: AC and A. Type AC reacts to the leakage of alternating (sinusoidal) currents— these are the devices we have been talking about so far. But in electrical circuits that supply equipment that includes rectifiers or controlled thyristors, in the event of an insulation breakdown, leakage of not only alternating, but also direct (pulsating) current is possible. RCD type AC practically does not react to this. For such cases, another type of device is intended.— A. Since the circuit for measuring the difference in currents in type A RCDs is more complex, such devices cost 1.1-1.5 times more. The need for their application in the current regulatory documents is not specified. But in the operating instructions, for example, washing machines, you can read the requirement to install this particular type of RCD (what you should pay attention to when choosing a machine).
ATsale, in addition to RCDs mounted on a switchboard, you can find RCD electrical outlets. They are of two types: built-in RCD (installed in place of an existing outlet), mounted RCD (simply plugged into an existing outlet). Other type of products with built-in RCD— the so-called RCD plug. All three devices are good, first of all, because they eliminate the need to change the electrical wiring in the bathroom in old houses. True, products with a built-in RCD are about 3 times more expensive than RCDs installed on a switchboard. They produce sockets with a built-in RCD, for example, companies such as ABB and GIRA. Domestic RCD plug from «ASTRO-UZO» will cost the buyer 594rub. It is advisable or not to use devices with a built-in RCD, it is up to the consumer to decide.
Another protective device worthy of attention is the differential circuit breaker.— a combination of a circuit breaker with an RCD (two-in-one type). It works both in case of current leakage to the ground, and in case of short circuits and overload. Like RCDs, differential automata are designed for different operating currents and leakage currents. The use of such a device is advantageous when there is not enough space for the installation of two separate devices in the control cabinet. The cost of a differential machine can be both 1.5 times more expensive than a separate circuit breaker and RCD, and as much as RCD,— as a rule, it all depends on the manufacturer.
RCDs and differential automatons of both Russian and foreign production are presented on our market. From domestic companies, consumers know the Stavropol plant «SIGNAL» (produces electronic RCD-20), Research Institute «PROEKTELEKTROMONTAZH» (electronic RCD-2000), the company «ASTRO-UZO» (offers the electromechanical device «Astro * RCD»). Of foreign companies, it is worth mentioning first of all those that have been working seriously on the Russian market for a long time: SIEMENS, LEGRAND, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, BUSCH-JAEGER. There are also Chinese-made RCDs on sale, but the quality of these products may be in doubt.
The French concern SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC offers Russian customers two ranges of devices of this class at once— the «Domovoy» series, specially designed for equipping residential buildings, and the elite multifunctional Multi 9 series, with which it is easy to solve many different tasks. ATin particular, select the sensitivity level of the RCD for leakage current 10 or 30ma. or implement selectivity when the RCD located closer to the leak is guaranteed to work. ATIn this case, only the bathroom will remain without light, and not the whole apartment.
Not so long ago, the ASTRO-UZO company introduced a novelty to consumers— RCD «Astro*ID». It not only protects the circuit from leakage, but also shows the current value of the leakage current on the LCD display. Such a device will cost in 1980-2490rub., depending on the value of the rated current (40 and 63BUT).
Where and how are RCDs installed?
Protective devices such as RCDs are installed in the switch cabinet of the apartment. There are several mounting options.
The first— one RCD for the whole dwelling. The device is placed after the introductory machine, protecting the entire apartment, including the bathroom. ATIn this case, an RCD is usually used for a leakage current of 30ma. ToThe advantages of this solution include the low level of costs and the fact that there is always space in the cabinet to install one RCD. Cons: It is difficult to determine which of the existing lines has a leak; when the device is triggered, the entire apartment remains without light.
Second option— one common RCD (30mA) plus additional RCDs (for leakage current 10mA) per line (for example, lines supplying a washing machine, a hot tub and, especially, electrically heated floors). Of course, this is a better solution than the previous one, since it allows you to turn off only the line in which it occurred in the event of a leak, and does not leave the entire apartment without light. Tothe minuses include an increase in the cost of equipment, as well as the need to allocate an appropriate space in the cabinet for its installation.
Calculation, installation and adjustment of electrical circuits using RCDs should be carried out only by qualified specialists. Only in this case you will have a guarantee that the protection will work on time.
Once at a large trade fair, a buyer inexperienced in the intricacies of electrical engineering is unlikely to make the best choice, or even become a victim of unscrupulous sellers. How to purchase good quality products that meet the requirements for electrical installation in bathrooms, how much to pay for them, which product to give preference to? These questions are answered by the technical consultant of the company «MASTER-ELECTRIC» S. V. Moseiko:
— If we talk about electrical installation products, then I personally think that they can be divided into German and all the rest. What explains this opposition? German experience in the development and production of electrical installation equipment has two centuries. Quality control of these products in Germany— one of the most strict and objective in the world. In addition, the electrical safety standards in force there are very high. Appropriate requirements are also imposed on materials used in electrical engineering. For example, PVC is not used for the manufacture of electrical installation devices. It has been replaced by other, more flame retardant and mechanically strong plastics. Collet (spring) wire clamps in switches and sockets were the first to be used by German companies. The advantage of such designs is that installation time is reduced and high quality connections are ensured, regardless of the qualifications of the installers. Wago spring terminals for connecting wires in junction boxes— also a German development.
ATthere is a wide variation in prices for electrical installation products even from one manufacturer. So, the IP44 overhead switch of the Ocean series (BUSCH-JAEGER) will cost 368rub., socket— in 300rub. The IP44 socket of the Alwetter series already costs 630rub., and the switch— 840rub.
For good quality circuit breakers, the lower retail price is now about 95-100rub., top— about 180rub. per pole. Minimum cost of RCD (single-phase AC type device)— from 750rub.; Type A appliances tend to be more expensive.
A purchase made from an authorized dealer guarantees a solution to the problem with the replacement of failed equipment if the malfunction occurred due to a manufacturing defect. However, such situations are extremely rare.
The editors would like to thank the MASTER-ELECTRIC and ASTRO-UZO companies for their help in preparing the material.