Article
I’m beginning to think about a couple major renovation projects for my 
55-year-old house later this year, and lighting is definitely part of 
the equation. I’m hoping to replace both my front and back doors, and 
new light fixtures will be included with those upgrades.

Shining Some Light on Outdoor Fixture Selection

Chuck Ross
I’m beginning to think about a couple major renovation projects for my 55-year-old house later this year, and lighting is definitely part of the equation. I’m hoping to replace both my front and back doors, and new light fixtures will be included with those upgrades. Style is usually the first thing I think about when choosing a light fixture. But for these exposed locations, I know I’ll also need to feel secure these new welcome-beacons can stand up to the nor’easters and blizzards they’ll face here in New England.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to know which fixtures can handle such storms. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Intertek, with its ETL certification program, both evaluate fixtures and lamps (or, as most consumers call them, “bulbs”) for use in either damp or wet locations. Products that pass the groups’ testing requirements will be marked as either “listed” or “suitable” for the conditions faced in either type of installation.

But, before I started wandering the aisles of my local lighting showroom, I decided to do a little research to learn the difference between “damp” and “wet.” As you might suspect, the difference hinges on a question of degree:

  • Damp-listed fixtures face normal or periodic exposure to moisture condensation in or adjacent to their electrical components. This is most common in settings just outside a shower or above a kitchen sink. In outdoor applications, damp-listed fixtures are limited to covered, fully protected applications that aren’t ever directly exposed to water. This could include covered patios or under protective canopies.

  • Wet-listed fixtures can stand up to direct exposure to water, including driving rain. They’re sealed, with wiring encased within the fixture body. This makes them suitable for any outdoor use, including post- and wall-mount applications, along with landscape uses.

Since my house is a simple Cape Cod design, with no overhanging eaves or other protection, I’ll be going for wet-listed fixtures. It will be good to know they’ll be safe to light the way during even the stormiest weather for decades to come.
Photo courtesy of Kichler Lighting
BURNDYWeld Exothermic Grounding
advertisement
SureCrimp Compression Connectors
advertisement