Can Outdoor Lighting be used Indoors?
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Sometimes you fall in love with the design or uniqueness of an outdoor light you have seen that you want to use it indoors. But can they be used interchangeably?
The good news is, outdoor garden lights and lighting fixtures can be used indoors without any issues. This is because outdoor lighting has been weather-proofed to withstand varying weather conditions and are therefore generally more sturdy. So using them indoors should not pose any problems.
In contrast, indoor light fixtures are not designed or safe to be used outside and should not be used as such. To be 100% sure though, you should check the lights UL Rating.
What are UL Ratings?
UL (Underwriter Laboratories) is a testing and certification agency that certifies lamps and fixtures among other industrial and commercial products and provides different grades of safety ratings in 125 countries. This UL rating is the most common and will allow you to use your product to its most effective operating and safety level.
UL Ratings for Lighting Fixtures and Bulbs
The packaging of any lighting fixture or bulb should tell you the UL rating or listing. Here is a rundown of what each means.
Dry Locations - for indoor use only, in areas not subject to damp or any type of moisture. This would include use in Living Rooms, Bedrooms and Kitchens.
Damp Locations - for areas that are subject to a lot of moisture but do not receive direct contact with water. For example, Bathrooms, Utility Rooms and outdoor areas that are protected such as a patio.
Wet Locations - for any indoor or outdoor location that is subject to direct water, rain or snow. For example, Wet Rooms, Freezers, Garden Lights, Outdoor Wall Lights.
Other Listings and Ratings
You may have noticed ETL and CSA ratings as well as or instead of UL ratings.
ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) doesn’t publish their own safety standards. Instead, they test products to the standards published by other NRTLs like UL. This means products are held to the same standards and Ratings as UL.
CSA (Canadian Standards Agency) is a Canadian laboratory that primarily serves the U.S. and Canada. This listing tests products based on standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), UL, and NSF and is widely regarded as a suitable substitute to UL and ETL listings.
All three companies are Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL) and any dry/damp/wet rating provided by any of these is a good guideline when selecting a lighting fixture and will go a long way towards a smart choice.