Can Outdoor Christmas Lights Get Wet?

Christmas lights are an absolute must for any household during the festive season. From LED lights to festoon lights, there are endless choices to decorate your Christmas tree.

However, when you’re using your Christmas lights outside, it is extremely important to consider whether they are protected against rain, snow and moisture.

In this article, we will take a look into the best Christmas lights for outdoor use and how you can check if your lights are rainproof. 

So, let’s get straight to the point: can Christmas lights get wet?

Though most Christmas lights can get wet, you need to check your lights’ IP rating to determine whether they are well protected against rainy conditions. If you’re using lights for exterior use, you should aim for outdoor lights with an IP65 rating. Outdoor fixtures with this rating give complete protection against water jets and foreign objects.

Outdoor Christmas tree lights

What kind of Christmas lights should I get for outdoor use?

If you’re using Christmas tree lights outside, you should always opt for outdoor lights since they’re specifically made to be resistant and durable, plus they are usually weatherproof. 

To determine exactly whether your model of Christmas lights can be used for exterior use, you need to check its IP rating. IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and this scale basically tells users how well protected the light fitting is against moisture and other foreign bodies such as dirt. 

The IP rating ranges from 0 to 69, with IP00 being the least protected against dust and water jets, and IP69k being extremely well protected against long term water immersion, total dust ingress and high pressure water jets. 

Best IP Ratings for Outdoor Christmas Lights

Now that you are aware of how important it is to check the IP rating of your outdoor lights, let’s take a look at the best IP ratings for outdoor Christmas lights.

IP44

Christmas lights with a rating of IP44 are protected from water spray from any direction. This means that these lights can get wet. However, if you live in an area where it rains frequently, then this option is not the best for you. This is a good option however if you’re on a budget.

IP55

Outdoor Christmas tree lights with a rating of IP55 are a great all-rounder choice whether you live in a dry or wet environment. These lighting fixtures are not only protected from limited dust ingress but they are also protected against high-pressure water jets. Most high-quality Christmas lights for exterior use will have this rating.

IP66

If you’re looking for lights that can be used in your outdoor festive display for years to come, then IP66 lights are the ideal choice. Outdoor garden lights with this rating have full protection against dust ingress and high-pressure water jets. These lights are extremely durable and resistant and they can last up to 10 years.

Are Christmas lights waterproof?

One of the most common questions from our customers is whether Christmas lights are water resistant. Most modern lights with a rating above IP44 are waterproof. Christmas lights with this rating are safe to be used outdoors and are protected from rain and water.

The main key to consider is the level of water resistance you’re looking for. Are you looking for lights that will be fine in the rain or are you wanting to fully submerge your lights in water? 

Waterproof Christmas lights in the rain

If you’re looking for Christmas lights that are weatherproof, then most outdoor lights will be well protected against weather conditions. However, if your aim is to completely submerge the lights in the water, then you need to look for specialist pool LED lights.

Finally, if you’re using lights within dripping or flowing water, you should use a lighting fixture with an IP rating above IP55 for complete protection. You should also ensure that the lights are tightly sealed against water.

How to Keep Outdoor Christmas Lights from Shorting Out in the Rain

Keep your Outdoor Plugs Dry

Wrap electrical tape securely around the plugs, completely coating the plug to prevent water from getting in and effectively creating a water-tight seal. This will allow your Christmas light plugs to get wet without getting damaged.

Keep all Electrical Appliances Sealed

Protect any connections that may be subject to the outside elements. To keep them dry, connect them inside of a plastic bag and then seal both ends of the bag.

Don’t Stack Up too Many Appliances On a Single Outlet

As long as the house and the appliances have the correct fuses, potential for accidents is minimised. Nevertheless, you should avoid stacking up too many appliances on a single outdoor outlet. This way, you’ll keep your Christmas lights from shorting out in the rain.

Replace Faulty Bulbs

A single faulty bulb can cause all the Christmas strip lights to short out. To prevent this, you should isolate the faulty bulbs and replace them. You can find the faulty bulbs easily by using a light tester.

How to Protect your Outdoor Christmas Lights Display

When it comes to outdoor lights, there are some safety measures you should take to protect your festive display and to avoid accidents, such as fires and trip hazards.

Check and Maintain Existing Christmas Lights

If you’re using Christmas lights you already own, check the lights before adding them to the tree and replace failed bulbs. The replacement bulbs should be the same type and rating as the originals. In addition, look out for any damage to the wires. Damaged lights should never be used.

Use Electrical Tape for Any Exposed Connectors

You should always use electrical tape (Teflon tape) for any exposed connectors. This will ensure they are kept dry and tightly sealed from water.

Keep your Power Supplies Safe

When it comes to outdoor lighting, controllers and power supplies are essential to supply electricity to your Christmas lights. It is therefore extremely important to keep them safe and dry. To do this, you can use a waterproof box to ensure the power supplies are protected from rain and water.

Avoid Trip Hazards

Last but not least, ensure all the wires, connectors and lights are neat to avoid trip and fall hazards. This is especially important if you live with kids as they’re more likely to run around your festive lights display.

Use Solar-Powered Christmas Lights

If you're looking for a solution that requires lower maintenance, then solar-powered Christmas lights are a great alternative. These lights not only require little maintenance but will also save you money on energy bills.

In addition, solar garden lights won't usually short out in the rain or get damaged as they're built to be used outside. Today, most solar lights, including long-lasting solar path lights, can be found at an affordable price range.

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