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6 Places That Require Wet or Damp Rated Bulbs

6 Places That Require Wet or Damp Rated Bulbs

What is a UL Listing? 

“UL Listed” means that Underwriters Laboratories has tested a sample of the product. In part, this determines what environments are suitable for the product. Some light bulbs and fixtures are only rated for dry and indoor use, while others are submergible. Damp locations are typically protected from weather and not exposed to complete saturation of water or other liquids, but may be exposed to dampness and condensation. Wet locations are areas where water can flow, drip, or splash on electrical equipment. Light fixtures used here must be fabricated to prevent water accumulation on electrical parts and components within the fixture to avoid causing damage or electrical shorts. Here are six areas you may not have realized require damp or wet location rated light bulbs.


Located along the edges of a roof, eaves are used to keep water away from the walls of buildings or home. Eaves may also be used along pathways to avoid splatter from rain which may lead to building erosion or water damage. If you choose to add illumination to your eave, the lighting fixture and light bulbs should both be rated for damp locations. Consider using outdoor damp rated LED downlights. Mainly used for safety purposes, these lights create a gorgeous down lighting effect that shines illumination primarily downward.

Freezers and Cold Storage Lighting

Due to the low temperatures, selecting the right light for cold storage spaces, particularly freezers can be challenging. Light fixtures and bulbs used in these areas should be damp rated because of moisture from condensation. You should also consider the startup time of your lights and how they may be affected by the cold.


Basements can often be humid, musty, and damp. If you’re considering renovating a basement to create your very own man cave or party room, besides adequate dry wall, you’ll need to use the correctly rated light fixtures. Because of the tendency for condensation or “sweating,” you’ll need to use light bulbs rated for damp locations here as well. For overhead lighting, consider using damp rated recessed can and downlights.

Public Restrooms

It may be obvious that wet recessed lights are required for under the shower, but less obvious that public restrooms may require damp rated light bulbs and fixtures as well. Whether caused by humidity or water throwing patrons, if water is getting inside the lamp and causing it to fail, you’ll need damp location rated products.

Front Walkway

Before choosing front walkway lights for your home or business, you’ll want to ensure they are rated for outdoor use. Although some outdoor locations will vary between damp and wet rated lights, lighting used for front walkways should definitely be wet rated because rain water typically comes in contact with fixtures in walkways. The light fixture has to be able to withstand water without the possibility of causing premature failure of the bulb.  Typical lights that may be used for front walkways include  LED pathway lights

Car Wash

Lights used in car washes are constantly exposed or even submerged in water. Because of this, wet rated lighting is essential.  Fluorescent vapor tight lighting has been the standard for most car washes. However, more and more companies are switching over to energy efficient LED fixtures For example, in El Cajon, California at the Happy Cow Car Wash, the owners created two different options for washing cars. There is the standard car wash and then there’s the “laser show” car wash experience which creates a party atmosphere while washing your vehicle. Using 7,400 LED lights, lasers, video screens, and music, one could easily think they’re at a nightclub instead of getting their car cleaned.

Understanding when and where to use wet vs. damp rated lighting is vital not only for illumination purposes, but overall safety. What are some spaces that you’d still like to be enlightened about when it comes to choosing properly rated lighting? Feel free to leave your comments or questions below, and as always you can reach us on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn or Pinterest.  

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