Dry, Damp, and Wet: Lighting Locations Explained Simply LightingWellCo

Why is UL and ETL Important?

In this post we explain the differences between dry, damp, and wet locations. 

General knowledge about your lighting location when you're installing a new light fixture is important. 

We will explain how you can verify that your fixture is rated properly for its intended location. 

Here in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are responsible for certifying a company to be a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTLs). 

NRTLs are laboratories who conduct interdependent testing which tests the performance of products manufactured according to a set of published industry recognized standards. 

NRTLs certify products with the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and the Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL). 

These two independent laboratories test for strict electrical standards, having a light fixture that has the seal of approval from either UL or ETL is a seal of safety and quality. 

The classifications of dry, damp, and wet, are standard guidelines that ensure these fixtures are built and installed safely. The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines dry, damp. and wet locations. 

You will either see UL or ETL on the light fixtures you purchase. After you see it certified from either UL or ETL, it will then be classified as either dry, damp, or wet. 

If your light fixture is not ensured with a stamp from UL or ETL, or any NRTL certified laboratory, this can be a safety hazard for you.  Light fixtures that are faulty or unsafe will not be ensured by UL or ETL, thus jeopardizing anyone or anything that encounters the light fixture installed.

It is important before you shop for a light fixture you have a clear understanding of the exact location you want to install your fixture. 

Below is the definition of dry, damp, and wet, and where it can be installed:

Dry Locations Explained

Dry locations are typically indoors, find a light fixture that is UL or ETL certified as dry because it is not exposed outside to precipitation or any other natural elements. 

A majority of all finished indoor areas are considered dry locations.  These include bedrooms, laundry rooms, hallways, entryways, bathrooms, and kitchens. 

More than likely the only location within your home that would need a light fixture rating besides dry could be inside a shower or a sauna. 

Damp Locations Explained


Damp locations for the most part include mostly outdoor areas that are covered.  Classification of a damp location is a location that is not directly exposed to water but are shielded from participation and storms. 

The semi-outdoor criteria of the space can be exposed to condensation and humidity.

One example of damp locations are porches or covered-decks. Indoor spaces such as saunas or an unfinished basement are frequently deemed as damp locations as well. 

Wet Locations Explained

 Any area where any snow or liquid such as water can pour onto electrical equipment.  Mostly outdoor areas where expose to elements can be deemed a wet location.  

Indoor locations such as a shower can be considered wet also, if the location has a chance of water splashing or flowing directly onto the light fixture, you can consider it a wet location. 


 Here at LightingWellCo, we pride ourselves with being able to educate any of our customers.  

Below is our whole catalog divided up by dry, damp, and wet locations. 

Click the link below to find the perfect light fixture for the perfect location within your home today, also for any questions please do not hesitate to call us at 720-320-5050, or email us at info@lightingwellco.com!

Dry Location Lights

Damp Location Lights

Wet Location Lights

Dry damp wetEtlLighting fixturesUl