You may have noticed a few distinct letters on your commercial LED lights and its packaging. Most don’t pay it much attention, but little do they know these initials signify safety. Having at least one of these certifications tell you your LED light has been tested for safety. So what does it mean for a product to be UL or ETL listed?
UL labeled products are tested and certified for safety by Underwriters Laboratories. This non-profit agency has created more than 40 types of certifications, including 1614 safety standards. They've been an Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recognized testing since the latter’s formation in 1971 and has been around since 1894. Their long history and track record gave them a world-renowned reputation becoming a trusted authority.
They test products, facilities, processes, and systems to ensure they are safe to work with or in. The UL logo signifies you can use the product with no harm to your health and safety.
When a product meets UL’s safety requirements for electrical and fire risks, it is dry, damp, or wet location listed. This'll decide what LED light fixtures you can buy for your purpose.
Dry locations are indoor spaces where the product will not come in contact with water. This may include bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. You can expose dry location listed LED lights to dampness for a short period if moisture doesn’t accumulate.
Damp locations are indoor or outdoor spaces where products are subject to light condensation but do not touch water. They can function in areas like greenhouses, pools, and supermarkets. Damp location LED lights can withstand humidity longer than their dry location listed counterpart.
Wet locations are indoor or outdoor spaces where products do come into direct contact with water. Such products like the LED UFO high bay are sealed to keep water out; however, they are not submersible. These areas include patios and gardens.
Other marks by UL include "UL Classified" and "UL Recognized". Classified products are tested to perform under special conditions, whereas a recognized distinction is seen in parts or components like circuit boards and power supplies.
The Electrical Testing Laboratories also test products to set safety standards, but their certifications come from Intertek, another nationally recognized testing lab. This means ETL tested products are subject to the same standards and are also recognized by OSHA. They are best known for testing light bulbs but are quickly growing to be one of the biggest safety testing labs in North America. An ETL certification is usually quicker to get than a UL certification so you’re likely to see more of the former.
Whether you are buying commercial LED lights or just power cables, having an EL or ETL certification will put you at ease knowing you won't run into safety issues. Look for these marks when you shop for mechanical, chemical, or electrical products. Speaking of electrical products, how much do you need to light up your space? Check back next week to learn how you can find out. Find these tips and more on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.