Seattle Commercial & Industrial Electrical Contractor
4826 B Street NW Suite 101 Auburn, WA 98001
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18 Sep 2018

Indoor vs Outdoor Lighting: Are They Interchangeable?

When lighting needs replacement in the office, it is important to pay attention on whether the light bulbs are for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor light bulbs are more variable. Typically, they are interchangeable for indoor and outdoor use. In contrast, indoor lights are not designed to withstand outdoor temperature changes. Discover which light bulbs are for indoor or outdoor use, or both.

UL Rating

First, the best way to figure out whether a light bulb can be utilized outdoors is by discovering the UL rating. Generally, most lighting fixtures are rated and tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Also, UL has a specific rating for particular locations as well. Below are the different locations and with the corresponding UL rating:

  • UL Listed- Dry Locations: labeled: “UL Listed”
    • includes living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, hallways, kitchens, most bathroom areas
  • UL Listed- Damp Locations: labeled “Suitable for Damp Locations” or “Suitable for Wet Locations”
    • includes bathtubs, showers, indoor pool areas, utility rooms
  • UL Listed- Wet Locations: labeled “Suitable for Wet Locations”
    • used both wet indoor and outdoor locations
    • includes gazebos, walkways, open patio and decks, outdoor dining areas

Note on damp rated products or fixtures. Utilize in outdoor areas only when they are fully covered and not exposed to water. For example, a covered patio.

Safe Light Bulb use for Specific Locations

Discover which types of light bulbs can be used indoors, outdoors, or both:

  • LED Lights: used both indoors and outdoors
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors
    • check the max temperature the bulb can endure from its packaging for outdoor use
  • Incandescent Flood Light Bulbs: used both indoors and outdoors if not in contact with water
    • used outdoors: incandescent flood light bulbs created to withstand elements
  • Halogen Spotlights and Flood Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors
  • Xenon Bulbs: used both indoors and outdoors (double check packaging for particular use)
  • Metal Halide Light Bulbs: used indoors and outdoors

Contact Kirby Electric to Inspect Your Office Today

As Seattle’s premier electric company, Kirby Electric specializes in commercial and industrial electrical solutions. We provide top electrical services such as, lighting retrofitsemergency service repairspreventative maintenance, and electrical inspections that best fit your building’s needs. Contact us today and request a quote at (253) 859-2000 or online here to learn more about our services.



27 Oct 2015

All About Light Bulbs

With technology changing daily, it can sometimes be hard to know what to use and what not to use in your home or business. Light bulbs are an out of sight, out of mind kind of item. You have them, but don’t replace them for quite some time and it may not seem important to have the latest and greatest light bulb. Installing the latest types of light bulbs will not only save you more money, but it will also benefit the environment. Don’t know the differences between different kinds of light bulbs, don’t worry! We have covered some of the most popular bulbs and what to expect with each type and whether or not to keep them or replace them.


This type of bulb produces light using electricity that heats a metal filament until it becomes “white” or hot. This is where they get their incandescent name as they were said to “incandesce”. 90% of the energy that is emitted from these bulbs is heat which can cause lamps to get hot. Incandescent light bulbs were the most commonly used bulb as well as the least expensive. It wasn’t until 2012 that these bulbs were in the beginning stages of being phased out in the United States. The reason behind the phase out is that they no longer meet federal energy-efficiency standards. It is recommend that if you currently use this type of bulb in any of your lighting, that it be replaced with a more energy-efficient option such as an LED.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

 CFLs work by sending an electric flow between electrodes which are positioned at each end of a tube containing gases. This action then produces UV light and heat, at which point, the UV light strikes a phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb. This is then turned into visible light. CFLs use about a quarter of the energy as incandescent bulbs but that doesn’t come without a risk. Unfortunately, these types of bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury which has been known to be harmful.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

LED light bulbs work by sending an electric current that passes through semiconductor material. This in turn illuminates small light sources called LEDs according to Energy Star. LED bulbs are small and can be used in many different areas because of their versatility. These bulbs are also knows as “directional” light sources, which means they can emit light in a specific direction. LED bulbs use about 1/3 to 1/30th the amount of electricity as Incandescent or CFL bulbs. This means you are saving energy and reducing your electric bill.

It is recommended that eventually all light bulbs are switched out to something more energy and cost-effective such as an LED bulb. Kirby Electric can help your business solve its electrical and lighting problems with lighting retrofits! You can schedule an energy audit with Kirby Electric and find out how your business can go green and save money at the same time!

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric, Inc. is a premier electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical construction. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of electricians, low voltage technicians and office staff are led by senior leadership whose core philosophy is consistently delivering exceptional service. Kirby Electric offers a wide array of services to meet the needs of our customers and ensure a smooth operation of their facilities. Learn more about our services by calling 253-859-2000.