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Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman Unsafe Exterior Lighting Fixtures
How to inspect outdoor floodlight or security light fixtures

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How to inspect exterior lighting for unsafe conditions:

In a series of photographs and comments this article describes unsafe or otherwise defective outdoor floodlight and security light or other outdoor light installations whose defects can be spotted (mostly) by mere visual inspection.

This article series discusses outdoor lighting installation, troubleshooting and repair procedures. This series also explains how to install recessed lights in an exterior soffit or roof overhang. We provide lighting installation suggestions about the type of light fixture to use, light fixture support, clearances, fire safety, moisture resistance, switch location, and electrical code citations for exterior lighting on buildings.



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Outdoor Light Fixture Installations We Hate

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

[Click to enlarge any image]

Here are a examples of outdoor "lighting" practices to avoid. Above: a jury-rigged hanging exposed wiring (above) and (below) the use of indoor "zip cord" electrical wiring to add a (non-weather-tight) outdoor light at the house fascia.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

Below left, well at least there is some conduit.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

That flood bulb is actually touching the wood fascia board interior surface.

At the outdoor but under-roof light fixture below we lack weather protection and the bulb base is broken.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

We inspected a home that caught fire after the owner installed an over-watted incandescent bulb in a plastic coach light fixture like the one at left.

Click the news story to read about a similar fire that began in the outside light.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

Here is the coach light fixture that is plastic and that can actually melt and perhaps catch fire from an over-sized incandescent light bulb.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

Below left we see an indoor light fixture screwed to a vinyl sided wall, and added to that unsafe installation is the use of an extension cord adapter on the fixture. Outside electrical receptacles for extension cords require grounded and GFCI receptacles.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

Below we illustrate a closer look at a wall-mounted floodlight that includes cracked unsafe electrical wires, an opening into the box missing a weather cover, and exposed electrical wires almost touching the metal light fixture. At least he taped them.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

Similar to the plastic light fixture fire we cited above, even in a well built metal light fixture such as the coachlight at left, if the bulb and wiring become loose and damaged it is possible to short-circuit the wobbly bulb simply by touching it.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

Notice in the photo below that the bulb is askew. We could push it to center - it was hanging by a wire. This exterior light fixture needs repair or replacement.

Unsafe outdoor lighting (C) D Friedman

Below: an indoor-work electrical box was used to install an outdoor floodlight.Notice too that the box is "fastened" to the wall by loose electrical staples.

Interior work electrical box exposed to the weather (C) Daniel Friedman Damaged floodlight gasket allows leaks into the electrical wiring (C) Daniel Friedman

Above: you'll also notice that the gasket for this surface-mounted floodlight is damaged and that water has been leaking into the fixture. More about this horrible outdoor light installation is at REPAIR AUTOMATIC OUTDOOR LIGHT FIXTURE.

Article Series Contents

Also see our discussion of lighting requirements over stairs, at LIGHTING OVER STAIRS & AT EXITS and see LIGHTING, INTERIOR GUIDE for details about lighting fixtures, bulbs, and indoor requirements.

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Continue reading at LIGHTING, EXTERIOR GUIDE - home, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see BULB COLOR TEMPERATURE COMPRARISONS

Or see LIGHTING, EXTERIOR FAQs

Or see LIGHTING, INTERIOR GUIDE - home

Or see REPAIR AUTOMATIC OUTDOOR LIGHT FIXTURE

Or see SECURITY / MOTION SENSOR LIGHT INSTALL

Suggested citation for this web page

UNSAFE OUTDOOR LIGHT FIXTURES at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to ARTICLE INDEX to BUILDING LIGHTING

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