Condensation in light fittings often occurs in the UK due to our varied climate. This can cause concern because of the appearance of moisture within the light fitting and a misunderstanding that this will lead to the lights failing. While in extreme cases this may be an issue, condensation does not normally affect the function of the light fitting or mean that the light fitting is faulty. By better understanding the causes and effects of condensation, we can then look at the options to help manage and reduce the condensation in light fittings.

Understanding the causes of condensation in light fittings

Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with a colder surface, causing the moisture in the air to condense into water droplets. In the case of outdoor light fittings there may be various factors that cause this to occur.

  • Temperature Fluctuation – The outdoor environment is subject to temperature variations, particularly between day and night. As the temperature drops from the warmth of daytime, the cooler night air can cause condensation to form on light fittings.
  • Humidity Levels – High humidity levels mean an increase of moisture in the air therefore increasing the likelihood of condensation occurring in the light fittings.
  • Design and Install – A poorly designed fitting may be more susceptible to condensation, while if seals are not correctly installed in a fitting, this may allow moisture-laden air to enter and increase condensation build up.

The effects of condensation in light fittings

  • Reduced Light – With condensation often occurring on the diffuser of the light fitting, an increased quantity of condensation may obstruct the light output of the fitting and reduce its brightness and effectiveness.
  • Corrosion – If the condensation is occurring for a prolonged period, the moisture may cause any metal components within the light fitting to deteriorate.
  • Electrical Issues – While it is unusual, large amounts of condensation may cause electrical faults to occur. If there is an increased amount of moisture within the light fitting it is more likely that there may be a water ingress issue. Check for damage to the fitting and if the fitting has a suitable IP rating for the application (A guide to IP Ratings).

Can I stop condensation in light fittings?

While there is not guaranteed method to totally stop condensation in light fittings, there are actions that can be made to prevent a build-up of condensation and allow the fittings to continue to function normally.

  • Check Sealing – Check that all seals in the light fitting are correctly installed and that there is no damage. These are an important component to create a barrier against further moisture entering the fitting.
  • Check Drainage – While this may not apply on all light fittings, some fittings will have drainage holes for excess moisture to drain out of the fitting. If these are blocked, it could be the cause of increased moisture.
  • Regular Maintenance – LED lamps do not create as much heat as traditional lamps meaning the condensation takes longer to evaporate. Most fittings can be opened up and by wiping away any condensation it can prevent the build-up of excess moisture (ensure the power is off before opening light fittings).

To conclude, condensation in light fittings can be a frustration and may cause concern if there is an excess build up within the fitting. However, with correct installation and regular maintenance, condensation can be managed and reduced, and the effects mitigated to ensure that your light fittings continue to function correctly and provide the suitable lighting required.