We’ve just hung some lovely fairy lights under the eaves of our new summer house in the yard, they look amazing but we had to make sure they were suitable for outdoor use – and this meant being waterproof.
Fairy lights are waterproof for outdoor use if they have an IP65 rating for hanging on buildings and trees in the yard, or an IPX-8 rating if they are going to be continuously submerged in water, such as in a garden pond. It’s dangerous to use fairy lights outside if they don’t have these ratings.
Let’s dive down into the subject of waterproofing for fairy lights in more detail, and discover the safety ratings you should look out for when buying them…
Can Fairy Lights Be Used Outdoors?
Fairy lights are simple decorative lights designed primarily for outdoor use. They are similar to string lights but use much smaller bulbs and a much closer bulb proximity than you typically see in string lights.
Thus, the best way to think of fairy lights is as a cousin to Christmas lights. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, though white and small bulbs are usually the most common.
Homeowners often use them as decorative lighting for outdoor areas, including hanging them in trees, around pillars, and throughout outdoor recreational areas.
Lawn decoration, not yard illumination, is their primary purpose. Their output is not high enough to light up an outdoor space the way that you can get with string lighting. That said, they do make a home more attractive and engaging.
That said, it is possible to use fairy lights indoors if you want. They can be hung throughout your home to decorate various areas, such as hanging them in a home to highlight walls, stairs, and much more.
Usually, though, fairy lights are focused on outdoor sites. Homeowners who purchase them must also check to make sure that their lights are waterproof to minimize any risk of electrical shock.
Above all – when using fairy lights outside your home, if you have any doubts then consult your friendly local electrical contractor – please do not make the same mistakes as Chevy Chase!…
Are My Fairy Lights Waterproof?
A vast majority of fairy lights possess a waterproof design and come with an IP65 rating for general waterproofing, or an IPX-8 rating if they are going to be submerged in water (more on these ratings below). Since they’ll primarily be used outside, your fairy lights must be protected in this way to minimize the risk of danger.
When checking out fairy lights, make sure to read the packaging to see if they are covered in this way. The package features list should state whether the lights have waterproof protection or not.
Why would any fairy lights lack waterproofing? If a company markets them primarily as an indoor light, they may not take the extra processes required to waterproof them. That process costs a little extra money and may impact their production bottom line. That said, you’ll rarely find fairy light manufacturers who aren’t willing to protect their lights in this way.
If you own fairy lights, and you aren’t sure if they are waterproof, you may want to replace them with safer alternatives. Or, if you can remember their brand name and their model number, you can research online to discover if they are waterproof. If they are not, you should take them down and make sure that you replace them with safer alternatives.
Are Copper Fairy Lights Waterproof?
Copper fairy lights are a popular, if more costly, alternative that works well for many different homes. They are popular because the copper wiring can be shaped and bent into many various angles. As a result, it is easy to use them to produce a myriad of different decorative designs, particularly for Christmas. But are they waterproof? Here’s how you can tell.
When checking the package of any fairy lights, look for this four-digit code: IP65. This coding helps indicate the waterproofing level of your lights and minimizes your risk of shock. IP stands for Ingress Protection, while the last two digits tell you two different things. The first (6) means that your lights are dust-proof and that no solid object can go inside and damage its structure.
The second digit (5) tells you that the string of lights can resist low-pressure water. It can resist this water from any angle, meaning your lights should be safe from most types of rain, snow, and ice. This rating is used not just in lights but in all items that contain wires. For example, many audio speakers are certified IP65, meaning they have the same protection as these fairy lights.
Are LED Fairy Lights Waterproof?
LED fairy lights are very popular because these bulbs have around 70,000 hours of average lifespan and use much less electricity than traditional bulbs. In fact, a large number of manufacturers produce LED-only fairy lights. The output is about the same as conventional bulbs, making them a reasonably attractive option for homeowners trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses. But are they waterproof?
As with all fairy lights, make sure to check the Ingress Protection rating for your fairy lights before making a purchase. Most LED lights have a waterproofing rating of IP65, meaning that you should have little trouble integrating them into your outdoor decorative areas. However, if you find that the rating is not IP65 but IP64 or similar, your lights may not provide you with the waterproofing protection needed.
Are All String Lights Waterproof?
Only string lights that have a rating of IP65 or better are considered waterproof. Therefore, any with ratings below this should not be exposed to water. They must, instead, be used primarily for indoor decoration to minimize the risk of shock.
That said, a majority of the string lights you’ll find on the market do have a waterproof rating of IP65 or higher, as this is considered the industry standard for outdoor lights.
As a result, you should have little difficulty finding string lights with a waterproof rating. Even non-fairy lights or traditional string lights should have some waterproofing protection. The same is true of Christmas lights, which are very similar to fairy lights in design and have a similar usage. So please make sure to pay attention to this factor before making a purchase to keep yourself safe.
Can You Put Fairy Lights in Water? (Fully Submerged)
Some people may want to put fairy lights in a pond or a similar body of water to produce an appealing and mysterious look. However, it is very dangerous to put your lights in any type of submerged water unless they are completely waterproofed. Even IP65 is not safe enough to place your lights in submerged water. Remember: it protects against low-pressure water, not complete immersion.
Even these lights are likely to end up causing a high risk of shock if you place them in the water. You’re likely to get shocked placing them in the water, and anybody who steps in the water will likely get shocked as well. The water may also wear away the surface of the lights and the wires, as they’re not 100% waterproof, and even increase your risk of lethal electrocution.
As a result, it is vital to look for fairy lights with a much higher level of Ingress Protection. The highest possible rating for waterproofing is IPX-8. This allows objects to be placed in continuous water immersion in depths of more than one meter (around three feet or a yard). Be very careful when choosing these types of lights and research which options are the safest for your specific needs.
What Happens if Fairy Lights Get Wet?
If you’ve hung fairy lights on your gazebo or other outdoor seating areas, and it rains, you should be okay if your fairy lights have an IP65 rating. The wires and the bulbs are strong enough to resist water damage and won’t cause a shock risk.
If your wires get immersed in water by accident, then you probably need to replace them. Airing them out is usually not safe enough to protect you.
That’s because immersion usually forces water into the wiring or the bulbs. Once inside, the water is likely to compromise the integrity and strength of these elements.
Even brief immersion may cause this risk because it will take time for the water to dry out and leave the lights safe. So, make sure to keep your fairy lights (even most waterproof types) from water immersion to keep them safe.
So in the final analysis, when you’re buying fairy lights for use outdoors – make sure they have an IP65 waterproofing rating and you should be fine for normal outside wet weather use.
However, if you want to submerge your fairy lights in water – such as in a pond or water feature – then you should check they have an IPX-8 rating for continuous use underwater to depths of over one meter.
Stay safe folks and enjoy your beautiful fairy lights – we love ours! 🙂