How To Waterproof LED Lights

There is no doubt that LED lights are the best available lights in the market considering their durability, energy-efficiency as well as brightness. When you want to light up your outdoors, LED strip lights are the best. You can place them along your outdoor walls, hang them from the top of the building, as well as attach them along the swimming poolside.

However, when you are placing them outdoors, you have to ensure that the LED strip lights are waterproof so that they do not get damaged. In this article, we will illustrate how to waterproof LED strip lights easily.

Understand Each Value Of IP Rating –

The IP rating determines the level of waterproofing of the LED light strip. It can be waterproof against drops, completely waterproof, or non-waterproof. The Ingress Protection marking also tells us if the strip can withstand solids like dirt and dust. In an IP marking, there are two numbers where the first number is for protection against solid and the second number is for protection against liquids.

  • IP20 indicates that the LED light strip is not waterproof.
  • If it is IP65 and IP66, then it will offer semi-waterproof protection. Meaning you will be able to put it underwater but it is unsuitable for soaking.
  • The IP67 rating indicates that you can immerse it in water for short periods.
  • If it has an IP68 rating, the waterproofing level is much higher and can be immersed in water for longer periods.

1. IP62

In an IP62 rating, the number 6 stands for touch protection and dust proofing and the number 2 is for moisture protection. IP62 silicone coating can be perfect for both wet and dry areas like bathrooms and kitchens. However, it is unsuitable for spaces where water splashing takes place. How the IP62 rating offers protection from moisture and dust is that the top of the strip has an added layer of silicone coating.

2. IP65

IP65 heat shrink tube offers the same waterproofing protection as the IP62. However, it has a slim heat sink tube than the silicone sleeve. It is perfect for wet areas as 6 stands for touch protection and dust proofing and 5 stands for water protection from all sides. This type of tubing is unitable for outdoor use due to the hollow casing. You can make an IP65 heat shrink tube by wrapping the strip with a heat shrink tube and sealing the ends with silicone caps.

3. IP65

In IP65, 6 stands for dust-proof protection, and 5 represents preventing spring water from all sides. You can make it by wrapping your strip with any silicone casing that is hollow. Make sure that both ends are sealed with silicone caps. The application of IP65 silicone sleeve is for wet areas but the hollow casing makes it unsuitable for outdoor purposes.

4. IP67

To make an IP67 coating, you will have to wrap the bottom strip with any type of U-shaped sleeve made of silicone. Follow it by adding a coating on the strip’s top. The IP67 rating offers good protection from dust and can withstand water pressure indefinitely. This makes it suitable for areas invaded by water like cruise ships and beaches.

5. IP68

IP68 coating can be great for fish tanks and swimming pools as you can immerse it in water completely. The numbers 6 and 8 represent good dust proofing and underwater protection. To make it, you will have to wrap the strip with a silicone casing. Create a sealing effect by filling the casing with silicone.

Best Material To Build LED Strips Waterproof

1. Epoxy Resin

What makes epoxy resin one of the best materials to make waterproof LED strips is that it has low toxicity and good maneuverability. It also comes at a relatively low cost so that you can make affordable LED strips.

However, the molecular structure does make it have some disadvantages. It will reduce the lifespan of the strip lights with poor heat conductivity. Epoxy resin tends to change color and become yellow quickly. This will affect the strip light’s color temperature. Another important factor to consider is that epoxy resin will crack and harden easily as it cannot resist both low and high temperatures

2. Polyurethane Glue

Polyurethane glue has improved yellowing resistance and better thermal conductivity. It also comes with low-temperature resistance. However, its cost is a little higher when compared to epoxy resin. The disadvantage of polyurethane glue is that it produces small molecular compounds which can give a bad odor and is not suitable for health. Another negative point is that it does not have high-temperature resistance. You should never use the strip with polyurethane glue where the ambient temperature is above 80-degree centigrade.

3. Silicone Glue

Of all the materials, silicone glue costs the highest. However, it has the advantages of both epoxy resin and polyurethane glue. Additionally, it is also an environmentally friendly material and has resistance to both high and low temperatures. Even when the ambient temperature is high or low, it will not affect the performance and structure of silicone glue. Silicone LED strips are perfect for refrigerators and saunas and will not turn yellow even after a long time.

This makes silicone glue ideal for long-term stability. Apart from this, it also has improved thermal conductivity and helps in heat dissipation. However, for heat control, it is advisable to add aluminum channels.

Comparison: Epoxy Resin, Polyurethane Glue and Silicone Glue

FACTOR EPOXY RESIN PU GLUE SILICONE GLUE
Temperature Resistance 0 – 60 degree C – 40 – 80 degree C – 40 – 220 degree C
Heat Conductivity Low High High
Light Transmission Rate 92% 95% 96%
Toxicity Low High with Bad Odor No
Yellowing After six months No Yellowing No Yellowing
Cost Low Moderate High

Tips For Waterproof LED Strip Lights

1. Connecting LED Strip with Connector

When you have a plier, connector, and LED strip, you can easily join the LED strip. It serves perfectly when you don’t require waterproofing and is a simple task.

2. Soldering Waterproof LED Strips

Soldering and sealing waterproof LED strips requires some skill. It is a complicated task and you will have to get professional help.

3. Installing Waterproof LED Strips

When it comes to installation, it does not come with any complications. The process remains the same for LED strips and you will only have to follow the steps for better results.

When You Need Which Waterproof LED Strips?

It is important where you actually want to have the waterproof LED strips. For this, you will have to confirm the location. For your living room or bedroom, it will be ideal to go for a non-waterproof strip. You can even go for IP62 strips or IP65 strips that help to protect from dust.

For the bathroom or kitchen, it will be best to go for IP62 or IP65 strips. However, if you happen to spray the location with water, then you can even opt for IP67 or IP68 strips.

IP67 or IP68 strip can be perfect for outdoor purposes. In doing so, it can be wet due to heavy rain but will not be saturated completely in water. For the installation of LED strips in fish tanks or swimming pools, it’s best to go for IP68.

Conclusion

The next time you use your LED strip lights outdoors, you should waterproof them so that they do not get damaged. In fact, if you buy ready-made waterproof LED strip lights, the entire article is going to be extremely useful for you. You can check the IP rating and understand how good is the protection against water and weather conditions.

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