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What's the difference between weatherproof and waterproof?

Posted on January 03 2014

1. What is a Weatherproofing Level, and why is it important?

You wouldn't store your books in a bathtub would you? The same principle applies to your LEDs too, a place for everything and everything in its place. If your LED product is specifically labeled as "weatherproof" then it's rated to withstand basic moisture and splashing like rain or a sprinkler system. Weatherproof products are also abrasion resist meaning they can stand up to a stray rake or an accidental footstep. Now if you're looking for something a little stronger, you'll want products that are specifically listed as "waterproof." These are capable of being totallysubmerged underwater, meaning you can illuminate a swimming pool from the inside, or give your fish tank some extra pizazz!

2. Which Weatherproofing Level do I need for my project?

The weatherproofing level all depends on where your project is going to be happening. If you're doing some accent lighting inside or another indoor project, then indoor strips will do just fine. Indoor strips, while not water resistant, can still hold their own against dust and abrasion, so there's no need to be overly worried about them. However, if you're going to be installing a project in the bathroom or near a sink or other water source, then weather or waterproof LED light strips are going to be a better choice for safety's sake. The weatherproofs are also the best choice for general outdoor projects, unless of course you plan on submerging the strips in water. If you plan on using the waterproof strips, remember that they can be submerged in up to a meter of water and still be expected to perform for the entirety of their rated lifespan.

3.  What is an IP Rating?

Easy question, it's the strength of an internet signal, let's move on! I'm kidding, an IP rating is a rating of a product's durability against water and abrasion. I know what you're thinking, I covered this in the first question, here's the thing, the IP rating is the OFFICIAL weatherproof ratings. Our indoor LED light strips are rated as IP-30's, which means they are safe from typical household things like tools, heavy wires, your hands, and other similar things. That being said, take care of your strips, just because it's protected from these things doesn't mean they can't be damaged. The weatherproof strips are rated as IP-65 and can stand up to light amounts of water and abrogation, and the waterproofs are IP-67, which protects them from up to a meter of water.

4. What temperatures are safe to operate LED strips?

LED light strips are safe to operate at similar temperatures to the human body, actually. A more exact answer is that our LED light strips can be safely operated between -25 and +60 degrees Celsius (-13 to +140 degrees Fahrenheit). So odds are, your project will be within those temperatures, unless you're planning to light up the Antarctic or accent some lava flows. To put it another way, our LED could light up the Las Vegas strip, or provide light for a meat freezer where people who cheat on the Vegas strip are asked politely to leave.

5. Does the included adhesive hold up to outdoor applications?

It'll do the job, for a time. However, if you're setting up a long term project then it's important to make sure you upgrade your mounting system from the standard adhesive. Depending on your project, different mounting options will suit or needs better. If you're planning on mounting to wood, then Gorilla Glue is a great option, but sometimes an upgraded tape is all you need. If you don't even want to think about sticky options, then mounting clips can be exactly what you're looking for. Though, if the mounting site allows, then zip ties will be your absolute, no exceptions, best possible option. Should zip ties be your choice, remember, they need to be able to wrap around both the strip and the mounting site, so with larger mounting sites, like shelving or walls zip ties just aren't an option.

6. Will moisture damage the strips over time?

For our indoor strips, moisture is definitely a concern, and you should take steps to make sure your strips are well protected from water as it can shorten the lifespan of your strips drastically. On the other hand, our weather and waterproof strips are made specifically to stand up to water (in varying amounts) for the entirety of the strip's estimated lifespan. As we're are dedicated to you, our customer, all our strips come with a two year warranty so in the off chance they do get damaged, we'll replace your strips and make sure your project won't suffer.

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at customerservice@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!


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