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Outdoor lighting serves several different functions on a residential or commercial building. The primary functions include providing safety for movement in the dark as well as increasing security by keeping the exterior of the building out of the shadows.
There are some important differences in the design of outdoor light fixtures compared to those used inside the home or business. These differences in design provide longer life cycle for the fixtures even with the most extreme conditions of exposure to cold, heat, sunlight and moisture.
Outdoor Rated Fixtures
While it is possible and safe to use outdoor rated fixtures indoors, the reverse is not true and should never be considered as a lighting option, even when installed under covered areas.
The choice of rated outdoor light fixtures is important to prevent electrical problems when the light fixture is exposed to moisture. Even in a covered area where direct contact with rain or snow is not a concern, high humidity levels can create the same types of problems.
Outdoor-rated light fixtures are designed with sealed housings to prevent moisture from making contact with the electrical components and the bulb. Look for the rating and the words “weather resistant” or “UL listed for wet locations.”
When safety is a concern, choosing outdoor light fixtures that are designed to provide a higher level of lumens is always the best option. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light will be, with LED lighting options available in cool or neutral colors for different light intensities.
Take the time to consider the quality of the light fixtures as well. There are very well-made, heavy-duty fixtures on the market specifically designed for outdoor use as well as those that are very cheaply made. Selecting the top-quality fixture will provide years of outdoor lighting, even in the most extreme environmental conditions.