Using a Drip Loop to Help Water Proof Christmas Light Installations
March 5, 2008
LED Christmas lights are much more durable than standard incandescent Christmas lights. However, holiday lights using LEDs are still powered by electricity and therefore are equally susceptible to malfunction caused by moisture or water infiltration. Moisture and water infiltration is the most common source of failure in LED holiday lights. Obviously, this type of malfunction is most common on exterior installations. Thus, it is important to take certain steps to minimize the chances for water and moisture to infiltrate your light installation.
The most vulnerable point for moisture infiltration on most Christmas light sets is at the connection point. Unless your light sets utilize a threaded connector similar to that on the HolidayLEDs.com LEDs for the Pro series, the connection is a simple standard plug. Although most quality sets provide a good connection and are approved for outdoor use, a holiday light set that is used outdoor for long periods of time (especially in harsh climates) is still susceptible to moisture infiltration. In these cases it is best to tape the connections using a water-proof electrical tape.
For installations in extremely moist environments and where malfunctions cannot be easily repaired it is worth while to take one additional step. Using a common electrical technique known as the drip loop, you can create a loop in the wire before the connection. This loop will cause any moisture that runs down the line to run down to the low point of the loop and away from the connection--not into the connection.
The illustration shows a drip loop used in a different application but the principle is the same.
For those using our pro series LEDs lights for semi-permanent installations in moist climates it is recommended to use a drip loop as an additional layer of protection.