Vapor Tight Lighting – Protecting Lamps from the Elements

Exterior vapor tight lightingWhen it’s particularly cold outside, warm air inside of a building can condense on cold surfaces causing mold to form and damaging insulation. Ordinary lighting fixtures leak air when they are off. To better visualize the process, think about a chimney that drives air to higher places, such as an attic. Lamps rated as ICAT or “insulated-can, air-tight” are used in order to prevent warm air entering the attic. Also, lamps must be AT or “air tight” designated in order to prevent air from going upwards.

Condensation can form in damp locations on electrical equipment, and that can cause fires, installation issues, and more, so it is important to choose the appropriate vapor tight lighting to mitigate damaging property or being a safety hazard for people.

Vapor Tight Lighting

In damp locations, recessed lights are commonly used; however, the cover of these fixtures must be rated for these conditions. This means that the cover should be on the list of approved trims. These covers usually come with a rubber protective gasket that prevents water from getting inside the luminaire and this also ensures that they are being made of non conductive materials.

Vapor tight lights are built to prevent water or any humidity from reaching the lamp’s electrical wires and conductors to prevent damage to the light and potential electrical hazards. Live electricity and conductors should never be in contact with water.

In a commercial or industrial bathroom, for example, an appropriate light is as much of a necessity as a sink or shower since using the right light is a safety concern. Vapor tight bathroom lights come in all types. Halogen lamps are common, but more customers are choosing LED because of their low maintenance costs, long lifespan, and high efficiency.


Lights that are subject to damp conditions should be rated for their environment. Vapor tight lighting fixtures are built in a way that prevents damage when exposed to damp conditions.