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What is the difference between a UL rating for dry, damp, and wet locations?
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Unless the Underwriters Laboratories “UL” label on an electrical fixture has a statement on it that the fixture is “suitable for” or “rated for” a damp or wet location, then it is only approved to be installed in a dry location. Here’s the difference in the definitions of the three categories:
Dry Location - May used in any location that is normally not exposed to dampness, but may be temporarily damp. This typically means an indoor location. Ventilation is important for dissipating any temporary dampness in a dry location, and a typical example would be a luminaire (light fixture) above a mirror at a bathroom sink.
Damp Location - May be used in sheltered outdoor locations, such as a porch or carport, that are subjected to high humidity and condensation, but not direct contact with water, rain, or snow. An exterior light fixture under a roof overhang sufficient to protect it from driving rain coming down diagonally would be a damp location.
Wet Location - Suitable for locations that receive direct contact with rain, snow, or excessive moisture, such as heavy fog or coastal ocean spray.
Although the damp and wet ratings are primarily for outdoor installations, the National Electrical Code (NEC 410.10D) specifies that any light fixture (luminaire) located over the footprint of a bathtub or shower, up to 8 feet above it, must be rated for a damp location, except that one that is subject to shower spray must be rated for a wet location.
Also, see our blog post Why is the National Electrical Code (NEC) so hard to understand and complicated?
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