Can Outdoor Lights Get Wet? (Find Out Now!)

Tiffany Nichols
by Tiffany Nichols

Outdoor lights can make your home’s exterior look incredible. They’re also popular for holidays and great for summertime gatherings. But can outdoor lights get wet? And if not, how do you protect exterior lighting from the weather?

Fortunately, you can leave most outdoor lights in the rain without an issue. That’s because manufacturers usually waterproof them during assembly. However, you should keep some exterior lighting options away from moisture. So, always check the label first.

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Can Outdoor Lights Be in the Rain?

You can hang or install most outdoor lights regardless of the weather because they don’t have exposed wiring. And if the fixture does have exposed wiring, it’s probably for interior spaces instead. Plus, many outside lights use solar power instead of electricity. That means there’s no risk of water damage or fire.

Moreover, solar-powered exterior lighting is practically waterproof by design. Manufacturers seal solar lights, so water can’t get inside the unit. Even if it pours, your luminaries stay protected against moisture and keep shining until their power cells deplete.

Are All Outdoor Lights Waterproof?

No two light fixtures are the same. So, that means not all outdoor lights are water-resistant. And while most come with weatherproofing, that weatherproofing isn’t always 100%. In other words, even waterproof outdoor lights can succumb to moisture.

The reason is simple. Moisture can cause the fixture’s components to rust. Meanwhile, metal rusting is especially common in beach towns where the air is damp. And that’s why many homeowners wash their outdoor lights with water and vinegar every six months or so.

Will LED Lights Work If They Get Wet?

Exterior lights and solar-powered luminaries are beautiful. But they’re not your only waterproof option. LED lights are often water-resistant as well, although you have to be more careful. Some LEDs can’t handle exposure to water because of the electricity that flows through the bulbs.

In those cases, you may be able to mix LED lights with incandescent bulbs to create a unique look. However, both lighting types may require different maintenance. So, always read the installation instructions to make sure you can use the lights outside.

NOTE: Most LED lights can withstand heavy rains, but the cord and plug may need more protection.

Can You Put String Lights in Standing Water?

You can put string lights outside your house even if the weather is terrible. You can even string several strands together to cover large areas of your property. But you can’t let string lets sit in standing water because it could corrode the electrical components.

Water is an electrical conductor, which means it transfers a current. However, water can also cause your strands to rust or malfunction. And if the string of lights is rusted or malfunctioning, you could get hurt when operating the switches.

For the best results, always hang string lights above the ground. Hanging string lights outside can help keep them away from standing water, and it can also extend the lifespan of the bulbs and connectors.

What Happens When an Extention Cord Gets Wet?

It’s not that big of a deal if your extension cords get wet. That’s because extension cords and exterior power cords are basic devices with no complicated electrical circuitry. So, homeowners use them both outside regardless of the weather conditions where they live.

Expect minimal damage if you leave outdoor extension cords out in the rain. But still, be sure to turn the power off when you’re not using them. And don’t forget to dry off the plug before you reconnect it to the outlet. That way, there are no accidents.

NOTE: Leaving your extension cords near water can be dangerous if the cable is damaged or the wires are exposed.

How Do You Protect Outdoor Lights from the Rain?

Even if you use outdoor lights and extension cords, you should still protect your equipment from heavy rain. Lights with protection from moisture typically last longer and shine brighter. So, try these five tricks to keep your luminaries maintained:

  • Use Outdoor Lightbulbs: Always buy bulbs that manufacturers rate for outdoor use.
  • Connect with Outdoor Cords: Choose extensions cords that perform well outside.
  • Avoid Open Sockets: Cover all open sockets to prevent damage from the elements.
  • Protect the Plugs: Try to keep moisture away from electrical outlets.
  • Use Insulated Hooks: Insulation helps prevent fire in case something goes wrong.

Are your outdoor lights still acting funny? Perhaps you have an electrical issue somewhere in the house. So, contact an electrician as soon as possible to determine the source of the problem and fix it fast.

Related Questions

How Do You Dry Outdoor String Lights?

If your string lights outside get wet, you can always dry them. Start by leaving your strands out in the sunlight for a few days. After that, connect them to a working outlet to determine whether they still work. And as always, take the necessary safety precautions when working with wet wiring.

Can Christmas Light Plugs Get Wet?

When you string a bunch of Christmas lights together, you want them to work correctly. But winter is a wet season, so can your Christmas light plugs handle the moisture? The answer is maybe. Some strands could be rated for outdoor use while others are not. Meanwhile, no light string connector is ever 100% waterproof.

Are String Lights Safe?

Barring any defects from the manufacturer or damages from installation, you can use string lights safely. Power outages, dead bulbs, and electrical issues might change things, though. So, use high-quality lights that are for indoor or outdoor use. And try to keep the strand as dry as possible, especially if it’s not waterproof.

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Light Up Your Life

Installing outdoor lights might be easy, but you still have to consider the weather. And if all goes wrong, reach out to a licensed electrician to find out what you can do for more lights outside.

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Tiffany Nichols
Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.

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