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Are Outdoor Lights Waterproof?

Are you thinking of installing outdoor lights in your backyard or patio? Putting up lights is a great way to liven up your outdoor space, giving you more options for relaxation and entertaining guests. It also adds more functionality to parts of your home that you wouldn’t normally think to hang out or work in at night. 

But of course, you do have to consider the feasibility of hanging lights outside where they are constantly exposed to the elements. After all, most outdoor lights are powered by electricity. And as we all know, electricity and moisture don’t mix. 

This brings up the question: are outdoor lights waterproof? Can you hang lights outside and leave them up safely on a semi-permanent basis? Read on to find out the answer. 

What The IP Rating Tells You 

One of the most important things to keep in mind if you are planning to install outdoor lights is the Ingress Protection (IP) rating. This signifies how well electrical devices are protected from dirt and moisture. 

IP ratings are indicated by two numbers following the letters “IP”. The first digit indicates the device’s ability to withstand dust, while the second shows how well it holds up against moisture.

Of course, the higher the rating, the better suited your lights are for outdoor use. LED lights rated at IP65 are sufficiently protected from foreign objects and even water jets. If you want to leave your lights outside semi-permanently, make sure that it has a rating of IP65 or higher. 

Keeping Your Outdoor Lights Protected 

Apart from IP rating, there are many other ways by which you could protect your outdoor lights from damage and ensure safety. Here are some helpful suggestions: 

Use Extension Cords Rated For Outdoor Use

Your extension cords should also be rated for outdoor use. You can tell they can be used outside safely if they have rubber, vinyl, or plastic covers. Most outdoor cords also have a “W” stamped on them. 

Use Bulbs Rated For Outdoor Use

The same goes for light bulbs as well. Most C7 and C9 bulbs are safe for outdoor usage. If you don’t have these types of bulbs, you could use incandescent bulbs as long as they aren’t exposed to moisture or water. If you are installing them only temporarily, it would be best to take them down right after using them. 

Discard Worn Or Frayed Lights 

Inspect your string lights frequently for wear and frayed sections. If you detect any issues with the wire, the plugs, or the sockets, discard the entire led light string. Unless you have experience repairing electrical equipment, it would be best to stop using them entirely. 

Don’t Leave Sockets Open 

Whether you are installing outdoor lights or using standard light strings temporarily, avoid leaving any sockets open. Sockets that have bulbs in them will prevent dust and moisture from entering, which helps ensure safe operation. 

On the other hand, open sockets allow moisture, dirt, and other contaminants to enter, which could cause a short circuit.

If any of the bulbs burn out, simply leave them in the socket until you can replace them. The rest of the lights should keep working until then. 

Protect Light Plugs From Water And Moisture 

The longer your string lights are, the more likely you are to use multiple lengths plugged into each other. This can be risky if dirt and moisture get into the plugs. 

To avoid moisture-related issues, get as many cord protectors as you need for the lights you are planning to install. You might also consider wrapping connected plugs together with electrical tape to keep them securely fastened.  

Use Only Insulated Hooks And Staples For Light Installation 

Finally, use only insulated staples and led light hooks for hanging your outdoor lights. These usually have durable vinyl coatings that keep the wires from being exposed. 

If you opt to use staples, keep in mind that they can push against the wires and rip their jackets. As an alternative, you can use cup hooks, mounting clips made of plastic, or eye screws instead.

So Are Outdoor LED String Lights Waterproof?

Some lights are better suited for outdoor use than others. Always make sure that the lights you install in your backyard are rated for outdoor installation and can withstand exposure to the elements. 

Even if your lights are safe for outside use, it is advisable to practice proper care and maintenance practices. Taking care of your lights will ensure longer life and safer use. 

Disclaimer: Our products are ROHS-compliant. This means that we are aware they may contain lead but do not exceed the allowable amounts.