What Happens to Outdoor Lights when it Rains?

Do you want to use lights for your outdoor decoration, but are worried about what would happen when it rains? Electric lights are commonly out outdoors to light sidewalks, patio, porches, and even used as decorations during Christmas and Halloween. While they provide security and visibility at night, many people are worried about their safety especially when it is raining. How safe are outdoor lights and what happens to them when it rains or snows? We will discuss the answer below.

What happens to outdoor lights when it rains? When any type of outdoor light gets wet, it becomes a conductor. If it gets in contact with the electrical current that runs in the lighting fixture, it can cause a fire or electrocution. This is dangerous so make sure that your outdoor lights are sealed and have a waterproof rating. Moreover, make sure that they are elevated so that they will not get flooded in case of heavy rain.

Can outdoor lights get wet? Are outdoor lights safe even when it is rained on? Is it safe to leave outdoor lights in the rain? How do you waterproof outdoor lights? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. If you live in an area where it constantly rains and is worried about your outdoor lights and their safety, we have shared tips and information that you can refer to.

What happens to outdoor lights when it rains
Image by Jörg Möller from Pixabay

Are Outdoor Lights Safe Even When it is Rained On?

If the outdoor lights are waterproof and have a UL holographic tag, then it is safe against rain. Make sure that you use outdoor lights that have a red UL holographic tag. This means that samples of the product have been evaluated to make sure that they adhere to the safety standards.

Can Outdoor Lights Get Wet?

Outdoor lights can get wet from heavy rain and in case there is flooding. On the other hand, lights that are rated for outdoor are suited for different weather conditions. There are times wherein the outlets can get wet, but the lights are still working. The chances that the lights will get wet will have to depend on the weather. Even though the lights are waterproof, continuous exposure to rain can get them wet and damaged. Hence, you need to add an extra layer of protection to the lights especially if they are placed near the ground where they can be exposed to flooding.

Is it Safe to Leave Outdoor Lights in the Rain?

Most outdoor lights are safe to leave in the rain because they are built to withstand different outdoor weather conditions. On the other hand, there are instances wherein heavy downpour causes the individual fuse of the string light to blow up. This can occur when water gets into the prongs on the plug. They can spark and lead to a circuit overboard. To avoid this, make sure that you limit the connection according to what is specified on the circuit box. It is recommended that you have every outlet on a dedicated circuit to reduce the load.

Are Outdoor Lights Waterproof?

Outdoor lights are designed to be waterproof. On the other hand, this does not mean that they are not vulnerable to rain. There are instances wherein water can still get inside the lights and causes them to short circuit. Make sure that you place the lights in the right location so that they will not get soaked in case of heavy rainfall. Aside from that, the moisture in the air can also cause the lights to rust.

How to Waterproof Outdoor Lights

To waterproof outdoor lights, there are a few things that you can do which include choosing the right location, using the right light, using the right cords, covering the lights, and using solar lights. Let us learn more about these ways below.


One of the things that you can do to waterproof outdoor lights is to place them at the right location. Place the lights in an area where they are not completely exposed to the elements. Install the lights close to your house to prevent rain from shorting out wires. Hang porch lights close to your door and under the roof.

The Right Lights

Choosing the right outdoor lights is a must. While a regular lightbulb will work on your porch during the summer season, it can easily get damaged when exposed to rain. Purchase and install lights that are rated for outdoor use. Check the label and make sure that they are suitable for wet locations, weatherproof, and weather-resistant.

The Right Cords

You also need to make sure that you purchase the right cords for the outdoor lights. Choose cords that are rated for outdoor use and are waterproof. The extension cords should be able to stand up to moisture.


Another way to waterproof outdoor lights is to cover them. Large outdoor lights can be covered using a large tarp. You can also do some DIY light covers. There are many online tutorials on how to make a durable cover for outdoor lights to prevent them from getting soaked in case of heavy rain and snow. We have also shared this article that discusses how bright 40 lumens are. You can check out the article for more information about the topic.

Solar Lights

You can also use outdoor solar lights. These types of lights will not get damaged by rain. It is a good option if you do not want to deal with dangerous extension cords. The good thing about solar lights is that they have no wiring, so you do not have to worry about shorting out that can potentially cause a fire. Aside from that, solar lights are sealed and are waterproof. The downside to solar light is that they need the sun to recharge and if they do not get enough power from the sun, they will not work.

✅ Video – How to Install Solar Garden Lighting

Bunnings Warehouse shared the video below on how to install solar garden lighting. In the video, the step-by-step assembly and activation of solar-powered outdoor lighting are shown. Check out the video for the visual demonstration.

Can You Use Decorative Lights Outdoors?

You can use decorative lights outdoors as long as they are waterproof and rated to be used outdoors. Like the regular waterproof light bulbs that you use outdoors, you should also make sure that your decorative lights are rated for wet weather. Holiday decorations should be waterproof. If you are shopping for Christmas or Halloween outdoor lights, check the package to make sure that they are suitable to be used outdoors. 

How to Protect Outdoor Electrical Outlets?

To protect your outdoor electrical outlets, make sure that they are located in the right place. Moreover, you need to check the floor, ceilings, and walls where the outlet is located to make sure that they are not leaking. Avoid plugging the cords in an area where there is heavy traffic. In case it is located near your door and is in danger of getting wet from the water that gets tracked inside the house by the heavy traffic, you can cover the outlets. Furthermore, you can also invest in ground-fault circuit interrupters for the outlets that will supply power to your outdoor lights.

What Lights are Best for Outdoor Use?

One of the best options that you can choose for your outdoor lighting is LED lights. While these lights use electricity which makes them vulnerable to water damage, they are more resistant to leaks and moisture as compared to the traditional incandescent bulbs. Another alternative that you can choose is solar lights. These lights are cool to the touch which means that the rain will not cause the bulbs to burst and get damaged. You can also check out this article titled, can I put LED bulb in my pool lights? We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

Can You Put String Lights Outdoor?

You can put string lights outdoors as long as they are waterproof and outdoor rated. They are good for decorating and can provide additional lights to your outdoor area. Wrap the lights in your tree trunks or you can also use them on your porch. Simply drape the lights between the branches of the tree for a whimsical look.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses what happens to outdoor lights when it rains. We have found out that while outdoor lights are waterproof, they are still vulnerable to rain. Moreover, we have shared tips on how to waterproof your lights. Make sure that you choose the right lights for outdoor use. Check out your local hardware store for the best types of outdoor lights that you can choose from. Compare one product to another to get the best deals. Thank you for reading!

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