On a rainy day…
Perth, 22nd May 2010
It is week-end and it’s raining. A typical wintery day in Perth, one moment the sun pierces through the dark grey clouds, the next moment heavy rains pour out of the sky. Overall it is wet, wet, wet…and the lights come on early as the night falls early.
My subject for today is the IP rated light fitting. Applying light fittings outdoor requires the lights to have various degrees of protection against ingress of water or dust and be of a quality to withstand big temperature variations and other natural elements. Light fittings therefore have a so called IP rating (Ingress Protection) and the higher the rating the better the fitting is classified to withstand the natural elements.
Unfortunately there are many “shady” manufacturers that take shortcuts when manufacturing these fittings, most of the time to beat the expensive cost of doing so. Let alone submitting these fittings to rigorous testing to obtain the required IP certificate. I once conducted a tender submission review and questioned the supplier on the IP rating of the light fitting he had proposed. I asked him repeatedly whether the fitting was rated IP65 as I had a hard time believing him, but he kept saying it was IP65. Admittedly we had a little language barrier but finally it came out that IP65 was actually the name of the fitting… 🙂
But one of the most common “tragedies” of outdoor light fittings lies in its installation. Assuring yourself of having a proper IP rated fitting is only half the work. Most of the time the lighting still fails because of poor contractor installation works. Poor cable connections, lack of drainage, etc, etc are some of the frequent causes. But I would venture to say that installing and closing the fitting in a humid environment is probably one of the most common problems, resulting in condensation, rusting and short circuiting. I was ever taught the trick to use a hairdryer to make sure the inside of the fitting is bone dry before closing it back to its original IP rating…. A bit of vanity for a good purpose….