When exploring the lighting options available to you in a home or business, you are sometimes restricted by certain factors. A good example is safety.
Using lights in potentially wet conditions is generally considered a bad thing. After all, electricity and water do not mix. However, there are lighting options available to help you overcome this.
LED Strips are available with, or without, a protective waterproof coating. A waterproof coating is usually necessary when installing strip lights in your kitchen, bathroom, close to windows or outside, where there is a high chance they will come into contact with moisture around taps and faucets, or condensation resulting from food preparation and your morning shower routine.
The level of protection offered by waterproof coatings varies and can be usually determined by their IP rating. The standard for waterproofing LED Strip is an IP65 coating, which is suitable for most interior applications. A clear silicone gel is applied to the upper side of the strip light and offers protection against splashes, condensation and water droplets. This type of strip is not suitable for use outside or complete immersion.
One of the chief advantages of using IP65 is that the strip can be cut without compromising protection.
When using LED Strips in harsher conditions, you will need a greater degree of protection. An IP67 coating will enable you to use your strip lights outside, but you may need an IP68 (hermetically sealed) enclosure to completely submerge them. Most IP67 strips use a hollow plastic sleave, which, when cut, instantly causes the strip to become exposed. In this case a special capping process is needed to reseal the strip and it is best to have your retailer perform the necessary work.
Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Overproofing your strip lights is not a terrible thing and will usually only cost you an extra couple of quid. Definitely worth it considering even a small amount of water can short circuit the strip lights.
Don't forget about your peripheral units either. All LED strip lights require a driver and in the case of RGB Strips, controllers and amplifiers. IP rated versions of these units can be purchased, but it is always advisable to keep them clear of wet conditions if possible. If you are cutting and soldering your own strip light, also ensure that any connections you make are sealed and proofed against moisture.
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