When purchasing an LED lamp or fixture, customers should first consider the environment in which the product will be installed. Electrical products are often labeled as suitable for dry, damp, or wet locations, but it may be unclear just what these classifications mean. This article provides definitions of the environmental locations classified in UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listings, as well as our analysis.
UL Definition ⇒ A location that is normally or periodically subject to condensation of moisture in, on, or adjacent to, electrical equipment, and includes partially protected locations.
Most indoor spaces can be considered dry locations, including living rooms, bedrooms, corridors, and other residential areas. The majority of commercial and office areas are also categorized as dry locations. Areas adjacent to bathtub or water tap are excluded from this category.
While dry location products are not required to have waterproof or water-resistant properties, many lamps have at least some water resistance built into the design.
Pay specific attention to products labeled “DRY LOCATIONS ONLY” as these cannot be used in damp or wet locations. If a lamp has no location rating, it is most likely a “DRY LOCATIONS ONLY” rating.
UL Definition ⇒ A location not normally subject to dampness, but may include a location subject to temporary dampness, as in the case of a building under construction, provided ventilation is adequate to prevent an accumulation of moisture.
Damp locations include moist areas or areas close to a water source but not directly exposed to water splashes or accumulation of moisture.
Examples include unfinished basements and other humid areas. Ceiling or wall surface area more than 2 feet away from the sink in the kitchen or at least 8 feet away above the bathtub in the bathroom may be considered damp locations, as long as these areas have adequate ventilation. Damp locations also include covered outdoor areas not directly exposed to rain such as porches, pavilions, and canopies.
Products suitable for damp locations cannot be used in places where direct contact with water is involved. When in doubt, Products suitable for wet locations are always a better choice as these products are more robustly designed for withstanding rough weather or accumulation of moisture over the long run.
UL Definition ⇒ A location in which water or other liquid can drip, splash, or flow on or against electrical equipment.
Wet Locations include most of outdoor areas without cover or protective shield, or some indoor areas directly exposed to water splash or flow, such as enclosed bathtubs, showers, and sinks.
For areas classified as wet locations, be sure to choose only products labeled as ‘SUITABLE FOR WET LOCATIONS’ for safety. And it is always recommended to conduct the installation by a locally authorized electricians for making sure that water cannot enter or accumulate in wiring compartments, lamp holders, or other electrical parts.
It is important to note that although these products are designed for usage in wet locations, it does not mean they can be immersed in water or subject to pressurize water jet. Products involve water submersion need to have specific IP ratings in addition for classifying the level of their waterproof features. Learn more about IP ratings at: https://www.iec.ch/ip-ratings