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Weatherproof and the IP Rating System

Weatherproof and the IP Rating System
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Synopsis: Weatherproof products and what does that IP number really mean?

After a winter that was much wetter than average (2013 – 2014) who knows what weather there may be in store for the UK. The only thing we can be confident of is that it is not likely to be “average”. It is strange to think now that before the last very wet winter period we had a period of below average rainfall (2010 to March 2012) resulting in an official drought.

It makes you wonder how extreme the new averages might become, but whatever the cause, the evidence seems to indicate that climate change is here to stay.

For a business like ours it can be interesting to see how climate change can effect buying habits. Operating in the UK where the weather is often wet we have always sold some weatherproof products, but there has been a massive leap in demand which really began in the massive heavy rainfall and flooding of the summer of 2007.

While the kind of weatherproof electrical boxes and switches we have won't help in a flood situation (weatherproof doesn't mean it will work submerged in water) they will help keep electrical equipment and switches operating and more importantly, safe to use.

These kind of boxes are rated using the IP system. This system tells you how effective the protection is likely to be and it consists of two numbers. The first number relates to intrusion protection and the second number relates to moisture protection. So, the higher the numbers the better the protection.

For example, IP44 gives protection against solid bodies larger than 1mm and protection against water spray from all directions. IP66 gives protection classed as dust tight and protection from strong water jets and waves (this means just about anything short of immersion).


About the Author

Steve Farr Electrical and Electronics blogger for BestStuff.co.uk, Steve also writes much of the copy that appears on the BestStuff web site.
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