Outdoor lights are a lovely way to add charm and elegance to your backyard or garden. You can illuminate your pool deck, add safety lights along pathways, or highlight your favorite tree.

But in Florida, rainy weather can quickly dampen the fun. Electricity and water don’t mix. So, how you can enjoy your new outdoor lighting design without an electrical hazard?

Step 1: Cover As Much as Possible

Put your lights under awnings, eaves, or porch ceilings. This will help protect them from the rain. When done well, you’ll still be able to enjoy the lights from uncovered spaces.

Even partial cover is helpful. Try stringing lights beneath the edges of your deck or raised porch. For path lighting or garden lanterns, choose fixtures with a broad hood that protects the electrical element.

If your patio or fire pit area isn’t covered at all, you can purchase rain shields. These also double as sun shades on hot days!

Step 2: Raise and Angle Your Fixtures

Lighting fixtures that are near the ground or set on a level surface are more likely to collect water. The trapped moisture can cause damage or an electrical hazard. To avoid this, position lights on a raised surface or mount them at an angle.

For bistro bulbs and other string lights, make sure the plugs and connectors are higher than the rest of the string.

Step 3: Seal All Connections

Always use waterproof electrical connectors. Most lighting fixtures rated for outdoor use will include these. You can then use silicone sealant or a spray-on waterproof coating for an extra layer of protection.

If possible, install gaskets between the electrical element and the casing. Again, many outdoor light fixtures will have this already. Inspect your fixtures regularly to make sure the gaskets are in good shape.

Step 4: Plug All Fixtures into a GFCI Outlet

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. If the circuit is overloaded or any devices on it are exposed to water, it automatically shuts off. Many homes’ breaker panels have a GCFI circuit for outdoor outlets. If yours doesn’t, you can use a GFCI extension cord. Or, call Pat Myers to install a GFCI outlet where you need them.

Step 5: Choose Solar-Powered Fixtures

The best way to avoid electrical hazards is to go wireless. Solar-powered LED lights store the sun’s energy, then use it to power the lamp. They don’t need to be plugged into an outlet, which makes them ideal for pathway and garden lighting.

Note: You should still make sure connections are sealed tightly, and a waterproof sealant can help prevent corrosion so your fixture lasts longer.

Wrapping Up

With some careful planning, you can protect your outdoor lights from the elements. If you notice a fixture’s electrical elements have been exposed to water, immediately shut off the breaker. You can then disconnect the fixture and let it dry completely before attempting to fix it. Always put safety first!

Want to enjoy your outdoor lights with peace of mind? Contact Pat Myers Electric for expert help with your backyard lighting design.