By Clarissa Allison | December 23rd, 2016
Q. WHAT IS A UL LISTING AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT WHICH FIXTURES I CHOOSE FOR MY BATHROOM LIGHTS?
A. Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) is a nationally recognized, nonprofit safety-testing agency for the US. UL is also affiliated with the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (CUL).
The National Electrical Code, as well as laws in the majority of states, requires that lamps and fixtures be tested by a recognized, independent safety-testing agency before they can be legally sold or installed. Some electricians will even refuse to install non-UL fixtures.
When shopping for lamps and fixtures, look for the term “UL Listed.” Also remember that fixtures made from UL approved components are NOT the same as UL Listed fixtures!
A UL damp-location light is designed to operate safely in outdoor locations that are protected from direct contact with water/elements, like a porch. Damp-location lights aren’t meant to withstand ongoing moisture.
Conversely, fixtures with a UL wet-location listing can be used almost anywhere, such as on unprotected exterior walls, garden paths, on top of columns, or posts. Wet-location lights are designed to be watertight; they require a seal canopy, base, or bracket to protect the electrical components from moisture.
Q: WHAT ELSE SHOULD I BE AWARE OF BEFORE SHOPPING FOR A NEW BATHROOM LIGHT?
A: The best way to prepare for a new bathroom light installation is to have the mundane details prepared. Measure the space available with so that you know what size light fixtures will fit into the area. Note that if your electrical box is not centered over your sink or vanity, you might need a fixture with a large back plate to accommodate placement.
Remember that vanity and bathroom lighting work best when the fixtures have opaque or frosted glass, which diffuses and distributes light beautifully. Clear globes can actually cause harsh amounts of glare that can make it difficult to utilize your mirror for personal grooming. You may also look into purchasing a dimmer for help controlling your bathroom lighting. We have a large selection of Lutron dimmers HERE.
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