One of the biggest challenges about anything outdoors is protection from the elements. Sun, wind, rain, and moisture all take their toll on outdoor products. We’ve all seen how the sun can fade and literally change the color of something. Or how moisture can get inside something and create mold or rot. It’s a constant battle. There are ratings to measure ingress protection (IP)—the level of ability to keep solids and water out.
The IP rating consists of two numbers: the first is the rating against solids or particles. The second is the rating against water. Outdoor lighting should always be rated at IP65 or IP66. Underwater lighting should be IP68. Do not use fixtures rated less than this, as they will not be able to keep the elements out as well. You will find yourself with costly repairs coming at an alarming rate, which will inevitably cost you more in the long run than using quality components to begin with.
It is of utmost importance to use high-quality lighting fixtures, connections and lamps to keep moisture out. Moisture and electricity do not play well together! Outdoor bulbs must be fully potted and sealed to keep moisture out. Fixtures made of solid copper or brass can withstand the elements far better than aluminum or plastic. Aluminum has its place in certain situations, but professional lighting designers NEVER install plastic fixtures.
Dust particles can also create major problems. You want to make sure your fixtures, bulbs, and connections do not permit dust to enter, as it can interfere with connections and performance.
An outdoor lighting professional will always choose products with the highest IP ratings to give you the best performance. This is no place to skimp! See what a difference professional outdoor lighting designed and installed for you can make!