"Weatherproof" and IP Ratings

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Hey all, just doing some research about Ingress Protection (IP) Ratings. I was wondering if anyone knew if the "Weatherproof" NEC requirement, and subsequently the "Weather Resistant" requirement, were based on an explicit range of IP Ratings.

Initial searches from very, very unofficial sources reveal that "Waterproof" is considered IP 65, 66, and 67. I realize "Waterproof" and "Weatherproof" are technically different terms. Just wanted to get some of your thoughts.

Share what you know! (+sources if you have them)
 

Jraef

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Short answer, no, because nothing in the NEC is based on any IEC ratings or standards.

Years ago we used NEMA ratings, but they were not based on independent testing. So UL adopted the NEMA test standards and the same ratings are now referred to as UL Enclosure Types, for example 1, 3R, 4, 12 etc. Only 3R and 4 are considered weather resistant, although 3R is not actually required to be watertight, only that water cannot get to live components.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Short answer, no, because nothing in the NEC is based on any IEC ratings or standards.

Years ago we used NEMA ratings, but they were not based on independent testing. So UL adopted the NEMA test standards and the same ratings are now referred to as UL Enclosure Types, for example 1, 3R, 4, 12 etc. Only 3R and 4 are considered weather resistant, although 3R is not actually required to be watertight, only that water cannot get to live components.
Interesting... because I was just reading an article, or I should say blog post, from 2017 claiming the opposite.
Granted it's a blog, haha, but the entry...

(1) Listed all NEMA Ratings,
(2) Listed which NEMA Ratings were "Weather Resistant" and "Weatherproof," and
(3) Equated those NEMA Ratings to certain IP Ratings.

Example: NEMA 4 and NEMA 4X = Weather Tight / Weatherproof.... and NEMA 4 = IP56; NEMA 4X = IP66


So ultimately IP Ratings are meaningless as far as being 100% code compliant? That's a bummer.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
UL adopted the NEMA test standards...
Just pulled this up from UL's website...

Electrical Enclosure and Related Component Certification

Our experts can help you gain the market access needed to compete globally by adhering to the stringent safety regulations for enclosures, enclosure accessories and enclosing parts of equipment. This includes complete testing of Type Ratings, such as Types 1, 3R and 4X, and IP Code Ratings, such as IP54, IP66 and IP69, provided by electrical enclosures...


So I'm confused... are IP Ratings still relevant? :unsure:
 

jim dungar

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Wisconsin
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So I'm confused... are IP Ratings still relevant? :unsure:

In the US (and Canada?), IP ratings are meaningless, you must use UL Enclosure Type
Outside of the US, UL Enclosure Types are meaningless you must use the IP rating.

Any one enclosure may have ratings for both UL Enclosure Type and IP, but that does not mean the ratings are equivalent.
For example: if enclosure A is rated 4X and IP65, it does not mean that enclosure B rated IP65 can be used in the same location as enclosure A, in the US. Likewise enclosure C with only a 4X rating cannot be used in place of enclosure A, in France.
 

Jraef

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Part of the problem, especially when it comes to "water tightness", is a difference in testing standards. UL / NEMA type 4 requires being hosed down with a stream of water at 60GPM from a 1" diameter fire hose nozzle from ANY direction, including being aimed from the back at the lip of an enclosure door. IP6x calls for the equivalent of your shower head at home, basically a light "spray" of water, from the front only. Although many IP65 /66/67 enclosures will ALSO pass UL type 4, it's not actually the same, especially if it has not been tested and listed by UL. In addition IP ratings can, for IEC based companies, be "self certified" by the manufacturers themselves. That's something we in N. America don't trust as a general rule.

"Outdoor" ratings also include a level of corrosion, icing and falling rain protection when the door is open. Most of that is part of the IP rating process. Even for UL enclosure ratings, you can get relatively good water protection from Type 12 and 13, but neither are rated for "outdoors" because the painting and corrosion treatment requirements are intended only for indoor use.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Don't be confused by x-references and back-references.

The NEC does not make any reference, x-reference, or back-reference to "IP" ratings, at least not that I can see.
If a IP rating so happens to be within a UL # or a NEMA rating, so be it.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Don't be confused by x-references and back-references.

The NEC does not make any reference, x-reference, or back-reference to "IP" ratings, at least not that I can see.
If a IP rating so happens to be within a UL # or a NEMA rating, so be it.
What do you mean by "x-reference" or "back reference?" I'm working on a cost/benefit comparison of different "waterproof" LED strip lights and all of them come with an IP rating which is why I asked. Some are UL listed, some aren't. I haven't looked up the specific UL listings yet, but it sounds like I need to and that relying on the IP rating alone isn't sufficient.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Part of the problem, especially when it comes to "water tightness", is a difference in testing standards...
I've found one LED "Waterproof" Strip Light that's UL 2108 listed, but that seems to be the general standard for Low Voltage Lighting Systems. I can't find anything about UL 2108 being relative to a "Weather Proof" or "Weather Resistant" rating... and surprise, surprise... I don't have $1,000.00 to purchase a UL Standard. Freakin' crooks :mad: How is anyone supposed to be expected to do the job right if the correct information isn't accessible? What, now only million dollar companies get a shot? Pfft...

I have a bunch of other products that claim to be UL Listed, but I have no idea what they're explicitly UL Listed for...

Another question, is the requirement for UL Listings an NEC requirement? Or Local Municipality?
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
What do you mean by "x-reference" or "back reference?" I'm working on a cost/benefit comparison of different "waterproof" LED strip lights and all of them come with an IP rating which is why I asked. Some are UL listed, some aren't. I haven't looked up the specific UL listings yet, but it sounds like I need to and that relying on the IP rating alone isn't sufficient.
IP, ANSI, ISO, IEC, IBC, are all things that may or may not be specifically called out in NFPA 70, my guess is, you'll find "listed" in NEC more than those other terms.
So what you have is, some are UL listed, others are not.
The NEC favors "suitable for the installation application at hand". In other words, if it's under a waterfall then the item should be specified for such use, whether it be via a UL listing, an IP rating, etc etc.

Another question, is the requirement for UL Listings an NEC requirement? Or Local Municipality?
Does NEC even mention "UL"?

This or that, the AHJ, which may or not be local, has full jurisdiction; usually by adopting std code (NFPA 70 or the like), and having AHJ amendment docs, etc.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Take a glance at this doc. Is water ratings in there? I not sure if the published std has water rating in it (doesn't mention water here), but my hypothesis, if the unit only has this UL, it is not suitable for damp or wet locations. I could be wrong, but 1st glance that's what I am thinking. Another thing to note, if a unit is suitable for damp or wet location, the product marketng materials "usually" call that out so people can more easily identify "suitable for the application at hand", etc.
 

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Jraef

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Take a glance at this doc. Is water ratings in there? I not sure if the published std has water rating in it (doesn't mention water here), but my hypothesis, if the unit only has this UL, it is not suitable for damp or wet locations. I could be wrong, but 1st glance that's what I am thinking. Another thing to note, if a unit is suitable for damp or wet location, the product marketng materials "usually" call that out so people can more easily identify "suitable for the application at hand", etc.
From that document:

5.4.1 The low voltage luminaire shall not pose a risk of fire or casualty hazard as determined with the applicable tests referenced in UL 1598 as applicable. Such tests shall include: ...

d) Wet Location Tests – Mounted as intended and in accordance with the wet and damp location luminaires - supplementary, with no live part in excess of 15 volts rms or 30 Volts peak being wetted during the test, if applicable;
1598 is the UL standard that defines testing requirements for "Wet Location" luminaires (along with all of the other general requirements).

Then, NEC article 410:
II. Luminaire Locations
410.10 Luminaires in Specific Locations.
(A) Wet and Damp Locations. Luminaires installed in wet or damp locations shall be installed such that water cannot enter or accumulate in wiring compartments, lampholders, or other electrical parts. All luminaires installed in wet locations shall be marked, "Suitable for Wet Locations." All luminaires installed in damp locations shall be marked "Suitable for Wet Locations" or "Suitable for Damp Locations."
And then regarding "listing" (for Jerramundi) ,NEC Article 411:
411.4 Listing Required. Lighting systems operating at 30 volts or less shall comply with 411.4(A) or 411.4(B). Class 2 power sources and lighting equipment connected to Class 2 power sources shall be listed.
And lastly, NEC Article 100 definitions:
Listed. Equipment, materials, or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products or services, that maintains periodic inspection of production of listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services, and whose listing states that either the equipment, material, or service meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose.
Informational Note: The means for identifying listed
equipment may vary for each organization concerned with
product evaluation, some of which do not recognize equipment
as listed unless it is also labeled. Use of the system
employed by the listing organization allows the authority
having jurisdiction to identify a listed product.
The generally accepted list of listing agencies, known collectively as "NRTLs" (Nationally Recognized Testing Labs) is maintained by OSHA. A few jurisdiction may have their own lists and some add requirements, but for the most part, this is the default list (of which UL is just one entrant).
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
#11 says "I could be wrong". ;)
TY Jraef for checking, I had only done a search in that doc for "water".

UL too also has a bad rash of back referecing. As was noted by Jraef, UL 2108 back references UL 1598 (in part). So in terms of "wet" and "damp" the item is UL 1598 compliant, but the sticker that bears only "UL 2108" is not an clear indicator that the item is wet and damp compliant to the applicable tests in UL 1598. Technically, 2108 compliance is 1598 compliance for wet and damp use.

The "shall be marked" part of 410.10(A) is what I was mentioning. But now ask, if the item bears UL 2108 and/or 1598 but the item itself or direction do not say "suitable for....", can you still install it?
 
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FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Post #9, does the item actually say "waterproof per UL 2108". Not sure I have seen anything that was "waterproof".
"suitable for...." would be the better words to use on products, at least in the U.S.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Short answer, no, because nothing in the NEC is based on any IEC ratings or standards.

Years ago we used NEMA ratings, but they were not based on independent testing. So UL adopted the NEMA test standards and the same ratings are now referred to as UL Enclosure Types, for example 1, 3R, 4, 12 etc. Only 3R and 4 are considered weather resistant, although 3R is not actually required to be watertight, only that water cannot get to live components.
So can a 3R enclosure be installed outdoors with any additional enclosure as it's only "weather resistant" and not "weatherproof?" I'm just going by the general knowledge of receptacle installations which require a "weather resistant" receptacle in a "weatherproof" box.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Why would an additional enclosure be installed?

Roger
Maybe word "in" instead of "with", is the question?? Dunno.

So can a 3R enclosure be installed outdoors with in any additional enclosure as it's only "weather resistant" and not "weatherproof?"
Our adherence to UL 508A standards will give you a quality weatherproof enclosure resistant to rain, ice, and snow. NEMA 3R enclosures are compatible for both indoor or outdoor applications
Ref: https://www.nemaenclosures.com/enclosure-ratings/nema-rated-enclosures/nema-3r-enclosures.html
Yeah, they use the word "weatherproof" but it's listed under UL 508A.

For NEC, I don't think it matters what they call it as long as the item meets the "suitable for...." requirements. What's in the box outside will likley dictate if it should be "weatherproof" or "weather resistant", of which I am not sure if UL or anyone else defines that in detail. I suspect a weatherproof box lets in no weather like water/ice/snow/dust at some level, while weather resistant might let weather breech the enclosure at some level.

Other Ref:
 
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FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
The "weather" terms seem to be just jargon, because the NEMA stuff typically has some UL # attached to it.
NEMA says:

Notice how NEMA calls their Type 4 "weatherproof", but the Larson link said "xfrmr in a nema 3 weatherproof enclosure".

And the nemaclosures link I gave says their NEMA 3 is "weatherproof".

Odd huh.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Check out this light controller I had laying around.

"conforms to UL"
"certified to"
"weatherproof"
"IP65"

Even has the ETL stamp.

Yikes, that's a lot of jargon. Low cost MIC item, probably isn't any of those things, but who's checking.
 

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