What Happens If LED Lights Get Wet? Choosing Waterproof LEDs

LED lights are becoming increasingly popular in modern homes, businesses, and outdoor spaces. They offer energy-efficient, long-lasting, and cost-effective lighting solutions, making them an excellent choice for indoor and outdoor applications. However, one common concern among LED light users is what happens if they get wet. 

What are LED lights?

LED lights are solid-state lighting devices that use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to produce light. They are more efficient and durable than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, consuming up to 80% less energy and lasting up to 25 times longer. LEDs can produce bright and vibrant colors, making them ideal for decorative, outdoor, and indoor lighting applications.

How do LED lights work?

LED lights produce light through a process called electroluminescence. When an electric current passes through a semiconductor material, such as a diode, it excites the electrons within the material. The excited electrons release energy in the form of photons, producing light. The color of the light produced depends on the type of semiconductor material used.

What happens if LED lights get wet?

LED lights are generally safe to use in wet environments, as they are designed to be waterproof or water-resistant. However, if exposed to excessive moisture or submerged in water, they may become damaged, affecting their performance and lifespan.

The main problem with water and LED lights is that water can seep into the casing or electrical connections, causing short circuits and other electrical faults. This can lead to flickering lights, dimming, or complete failure. Moreover, water can cause rust and corrosion, damaging the LED chips, wiring, or circuit board.

In addition, water can affect the LED lights’ color, temperature, and brightness. If water gets inside the casing, it can scatter or diffuse the light, making it appear less bright or uneven. This can be especially problematic for outdoor lighting or decorative lighting, where the aesthetics and functionality of the lights are important.

How to protect LED lights from water damage?

To protect your LED lights from water damage, you should take the following precautions:

  1. Choose waterproof or water-resistant LED lights: Look for LED lights designed to withstand moisture exposure, rain, or splashes. Ensure that the LED lights have an IP rating of at least IP65, protecting them against water jets and dust.
  2. Install LED lights correctly: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing and mounting LED lights. Ensure the electrical connections are properly sealed and insulated to prevent water from entering.
  3. Use protective covers or enclosures: If you are installing LED lights in an outdoor or wet environment, use protective covers or enclosures to shield them from rain, snow, or direct contact with water.
  4. Regularly clean and maintain LED lights: Keep your LED lights clean and free from dirt, dust, or debris. Regularly check the electrical connections and wiring for signs of corrosion or damage. Replace any faulty or damaged components immediately.

How do I know if my LED lights are waterproof?

LED lights that are waterproof or water-resistant typically come with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. The IP rating is a two-digit code that indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of solid objects and liquids. The first digit represents the protection against solid objects, and the second digit represents the protection against liquids.

For example, an LED light with an IP65 rating is protected against dust and water jets from any direction. The first digit, 6, means that it is dust-tight, and the second digit, 5, is protected against water jets. The higher the IP rating, the greater the protection against water and other elements.

Check the product specifications or packaging for the IP rating to determine if your LED lights are waterproof. If the product does not have an IP rating, it may not be suitable for use in wet environments.

It’s essential to note that even if your LED lights have a high IP rating, they may not be completely waterproof, and it’s always better to take precautions to protect them from excessive moisture or water exposure. 

Therefore, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, use protective covers or enclosures, and regularly clean and maintain the LED lights to keep them safe from water damage.

What happens if light bulbs get wet?

Traditional incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs are not designed to be waterproof or water-resistant, and exposing them to water can be dangerous. When a light bulb gets wet, the water can seep into the bulb’s electrical connections, causing short circuits and other electrical faults.

If a wet light bulb is turned on, it can cause a spark or explosion, releasing hot glass and potentially causing a fire or electrical shock. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your light bulbs are dry and moisture-free before using them.

In addition, the water can damage the filament or electrodes in the bulb, reducing its lifespan and efficiency. The water can also cause rust and corrosion on the metal components, further damaging the bulb’s performance.

If you accidentally get a light bulb wet, turning off the power to the socket before removing the bulb is essential. Allow the bulb to dry completely before attempting to use it again. If you notice any damage to the bulb or socket, replace them immediately to avoid the risk of electrical shock or fire.

It’s also important to note that wet light bulbs can be a sign of other electrical problems, such as water leaks or faulty wiring. If you notice any recurring issues with wet light bulbs, it’s essential to have an electrician inspect your wiring to ensure that it’s safe and up to code.


LED lights are a great solution for indoor and outdoor applications, but they can be vulnerable to water damage if improperly protected. Water can cause short circuits, rust, and corrosion, leading to reduced performance and lifespan of LED lights. To keep your LED lights safe from water damage, choose waterproof or water-resistant LED lights, install them correctly, use protective covers or enclosures, and regularly clean and maintain them. By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of LED lights without worrying about water damage.