What is the average life expectancy of an exterior light fixture?

Sunday, May 24, 2020

You can expect an exterior light fixture to last 25 to 45 years, with an average of 35 years. This applies only to fixtures that are rated by the by the manufacturer for exterior installation. A light fixture that is intended for interior use may look handsome outside, but the components are not designed to stand up to rain, or even just the damp environment of a covered location like a porch. Check label on fixture for “DRY LOCATIONS ONLY.” See our blog post What is the difference between a UL rating for dry, damp, and wet locations? for more on this.

    A light fixture is referred to in the building codes as a “luminaire,” and can go bad due to corrosion, obsolescence, a short circuit that fries the wiring, a windstorm, or accidental impact. Many get replaced before the end of their functional life, as part of updating a home to match current styles.

    Here’s a graph comparing the life expectancy of an exterior light fixture to other electrical components in a home.
    Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see our blog post How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful? 

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Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts about LIGHTING: 

• Which rooms in a house require switched lights per code?

Why does the bedroom have a light switch but there is no light in the ceiling? 

Why can't I put a chandelier over the spa tub in my master bath? It would look wonderful! 

Are wall light switches required be "up" for "on" and "down" for "off”?

Is an attic required to have a light by the building code?

Is a bare bulb light in a closet alright? 

Does a fluorescent light in a clothes closet require a cover lens?

Why do the lights dim when the air conditioner starts up? 

• What are the code requirements for light fixtures in a closet?

• What is the lighting requirement for stairs?

• A light is required over a stair after how many steps/risers? 

What is the code requirement for a light fixture (luminaire) over a shower or bathtub?

 • What causes flickering or blinking lights in a house? 

What is the difference between a UL rating for dry, damp, and wet locations? 

Can a bare bulb "lampholder" light fixture be installed outdoors? 

What is the code requirement for a light fixture (luminaire) over a shower or bathtub?

 • What is the average life expectancy of an interior light fixture?

    Visit our LIGHTING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

NOTE: These life expectancies are based on data provided by InterNACHI, NAHB, FannieMae, and our own professional experience. Because of the numerous variables that can affect a lifespan, they should be used as rough guidelines only, and not relied upon as a warranty or guarantee of future performance.

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