Where Can Wet Location Lights Be Used?
Understanding which lights are safe to use and get wet and which lights are safe submerged in water can be tricky. A general misconception is that if it's rated for wet locations, then it can be used in pools. Let's take a look at what fixtures can be used underwater and which ratings you will need.
Wet locations means that a bulb or fixture can be used in an area where water will come into contact with it. Fixtures that are wet rated can be used in public bathrooms, garages, barns, porches and other areas. While these fixtures are designed to handle rain and water drips, they are not sealed enough to be used in water. For water submersion, you will need to look for products that have specific IP ratings.
IP ratings provide more levels of distinction. Composed of two numbers, IP ratings tell you how much protection a fixture has against solid objects and water entry. The first number covers objects like fingers and dust, while the second covers water. For applications in or near water, there are three ratings that you need to look for:
- IP68 is full, permanent submersion in water up to 13 feet.
- IP67 is for temporary submersion in up to 3 feet of water for no longer than 30 minutes.
- IP65 protects against water jets at any angle.
For any lighting project that will be permanently installed in water, it is highly recommended that you use products with an IP68 rating for safety. It is not recommended using IP67 rated products since they are only for temporary submersion. IP65 ratings will be most commonly used for general outdoor applications such as area lights used in parking lots.
Products that are fully waterproof include underwater lights and waterproof tape light. Waterproof tape lights are used on decks and patios, or in pools and fountains. In order to maintain its rating, waterproof tape light should not be cut. It is designed with a hermetic seal to prevent water or moisture from seeping into the circuitry. Cutting the tape light will annul that protection. Be sure that any connector cables are waterproof as well.
Landscape lighting, such as pathway lights and bullets, will have a wet location rating. LED security light fixtures will also have a wet location rating since they are designed for mounting to a wall or under eaves. Rope light is also listed for use in wet locations as long as it is uncut. Like waterproof tape light, the rating is voided once it is cut. However, unlike waterproof tape light, rope light can be sealed with shrink tubes and silicone glue to protection against water. Rope light can be used outdoors to light walkways, flower beds, decks, and patios.
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