Can Patio Lights Get Wet? Protecting Them from the Rain

Yes, outdoor patio lights can get wet. Too much rain can find its way into your nice string of LED bulbs. In turn, this affects the efficiency and durability of your patio lights. This is where the IP rating becomes important and you have to check out for it before purchasing a patio light.

Outdoor patio lights have to be taken care of and there is no excuse. When it comes to patio lights-related questions, nothing is too big for us. You may live in an area with irregular weather patterns and thus your patio lights are not safe from the rain.

How is IP Rating Important?

Ingress Protection or IP rating is a piece of key information on patio lights that tells you how well the lights are protected from moisture and dirt. Usually, it is the initials “IP” then there are two numbers after. The first number indicates the level of dustproof protection. The second number indicates the level of waterproofing of your lights.

The basic is that the greater the digits are, the more protected are your patio lights. Both of the two digits are important for outdoor lights. It is thus of importance you consider both of them while choosing your patio lights.

To get complete protection against foreign objects and water, go for IP65. Such rated patio lights ensure you get service for a long time and with maximum efficiency. You ensure that any outdoor lights you buy are rated IP65.

Protecting The Outdoor Patio Lights from Rain

An electrician will install outdoor-rated light fixtures outside knowing that they are well-protected. However, what happens to the installation of temporary lights like the Christmas lights? Could electrical sparks occur? The thing is you will want your outdoor lights to remain safe whether they are permanent or temporary.

Here are some key tips to help you make sure your outdoor patio lights are safe;

  • Think About the Patio Lights’ Location

You may wonder why you may have to think of a proper location for an outdoor-rated light. This does not mean that you should expose your patio lights to all elements of weather. Rain may short the lights and thus provide cover by tucking the lights under the roof or close to the house.

A perfect illustration would be fixing your patio lights where the roof covers the patio. Overhangs can also be great options when locating the patio lights. However, it is important to note that the above does not offer 100% protection but rather reduces the damage.

  • Confirm that the Patio Light Bulbs Are Outdoor-rated

Being smart will help you a lot when choosing outdoor light fixtures. A regular patio light bulb might still work in your covered patio. You do not want to gamble when the rain or snow arrives as you will get devastated.

Check out for words like “weatherproof”, “suited for wet areas”, or “weather-resistant”. They are usually written on the packaging boxes or packets. Be the smarter guy in the store and go for those made to withstand tougher weather conditions.

  • Use Extension Cords Rated for Outdoor Use

The same thing that applies to light bulbs applies to extension cords; use those that can withstand moisture. Most covers of the cords are made from plastic, rubber, or vinyl that can resist rough and wet conditions. The code is usually made of letters and the letter “W” suggests that the extension cord can be used outdoors.

  • Using Solar Patio Lights

This is among the best options when you do not want problems that come with electricity and water. Such lights help you avoid problems that come with electric shorting that can cause a fire. The downside may be that they may not give you enough light on your patio all night.

  • Avoid Using Uninsulated Metal Staples or Hooks

String lights should not be hung on metal staples or hooks that lack a plastic covering. Such expose the electric wires to the rain and other weather elements. The wires may rust and there would be increased cases of short-circuiting because of the rain. 

  • Protect Connected Electric Plugs from Water

It is recommended to plug the string lights in place when setting up the patio lights. Use electrical tape to wrap the plugs together so they are separated. For protection against water, add cord protectors to the connected electrical plug-ins. 

Image credit: Bobvilla

Condensation in the Outdoor Patio Lights

This may happen to any outdoor light fixture where you may notice moisture inside the bulbs. It is a result of the heat generated by the bulb inside the lamp and the fluctuating temperatures outside the bulb. The temperature outside is usually cooler and that is why it is common in European countries.

Should you worry about this happening in your patio lights? You have to note that the condensation does not happen in all outdoor light fixtures. It is usually a bigger deal if it happens in smaller light bulbs. If your patio lights function properly with the condensation, you should not panic at all.

How to Stop Condensation in Outdoor Patio Lights

You can prevent such from happening using the ways below;

  • Placing small silica gel packets in the light fixtures to absorb any moisture in the bulb.
  • Companies can do further waterproofing of the inner side of light bulbs.
  • Lithium grease can be used as a great sealant where it is smeared on the connectors or into the bulb holder. 


Outdoor patio lights are a great way to lighten up the mood of your patio and have a great night. It is however important that you protect them from water. Water will make them less efficient and reduce their lifespan to almost half. Try going for patio lights that are safe for outdoor use. You will save a lot of cash.