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While some norms can make you smile, others are quite useful. For example all those that allow you to choose and install safely your luminaire.

The NFC 15-100 standard of the Technical Union of Electricity

The Technical Union of Electricity (UTE) is a non-profit association that has more than a century of existence. It was born in 1907, named at the time the name of the Union of Trade Unions of Electricity and represents all the professionals of the electrical industry, the public authorities and the consumers.

These organizations are important. They are the ones who define what can be done and what can not be done with electrical equipment. In other words, your safety depends directly on compliance with standards defined by the UTE, the IEC or CENELEC. When you buy electrical equipment, even the simplest such as a light bulb, do not just stop at the price but read the label and check its compliance. For once, the electrical standards are not there to annoy you but for your safety. The NFC 15-100 standard regulates the entire electrical installation of your dwelling house.

The classes of electrical protection

The differentiation of electrical equipment in "class" allows you to know how you are protected in case of electric shock. Because you must be protected not only during normal use but also in case of hardware failure. There are 4 classes.

Class 0: The electrical appliance has only functional insulation but is not connected to a grounding plug. Simple functional insulation does not protect you in case of electrical malfunction. If you touch such equipment and have an insulation fault, you may be shocked or even electrocuted.
Class 0 devices are banned in Europe.

Class 1: The unit has functional insulation and the metal parts are connected to a ground wire. In case of insulation fault, if you touch it it will create a "fault current" that will trip the circuit breaker and ensure your safety.

Class 2: The device has reinforced insulation. Not only does it have functional insulation, but are the metal parts even protected. This double insulation avoids the grounding of the device and the appearance of contact voltage in case of failure.
Note that in this case, the plug of the device does not have an earth pin.

Class 3These are Class 2 devices operating in Very Low Voltage Safety (SELV). It is a transformer that ensures the lowering of the voltage.
The class 1 appliances are to be reserved in the living room, dining room, office, bedrooms While you can use appliances of classes 2 and 3 even in the wet rooms of the house, kitchen and bathroom in particular.

IP as Protection Rating for your fixtures

The Protection Index expresses the level of tightness of an electrical device against solid or liquid external aggressions. It is defined by the standard NF EN 60529. In practice, it is expressed by the initials IP followed by 2 figures.

The first digit indicates the level of protection against dust:

  • 0: no protection
  • 1: protection against solid bodies greater than 50 mm
  • 2: protection against solid bodies greater than 12.50mm
  • 3: protection against solid bodies greater than 2.5 mm
  • 4: protection against solid bodies greater than 1 mm
  • 5: dust protection
  • 6: totally protected

The second digit indicates the level of protection against liquids:

  • 1 protection against condensation
  • 2 and 3 protection against rain or splashing water up to 15° and 60° from the vertical
  • 4 splash protection from all directions
  • 5 and 6 protection against water from a spear
  • 7 protection against temporary immersion up to 1 m
  • 8 and 9 protection against permanent immersion

The higher the IP, the more the luminaire is dustproof and watertight. For example, an IP20 is a luminaire for indoor use only. Outside choose lights with an IP of at least 44.

According to the principle of "who can the most, can the least" you can perfectly fit in your living room, this beautiful wall lamp design with an IP of 64 could be hung on the terrace. But beware, the opposite is totally inadvisable.

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