How to Waterproof LED Light Strips
LED lighting technology is constantly on the improve, and one recent innovation is waterproof LED strips. But what if you already have your own LED strips, and they are non-waterproof? Will you need to go out and buy waterproof led strips if you want to make use of your LED strips outside? Luckily, there are plenty of easy and affordable techniques and products out there for waterproofing your non-waterproof LED light strips. You don’t need to go out and buy factory-made waterproof LEDs in order to light up your outdoor living spaces. This will not only help you in saving some money, it will also greatly enhance the versatility of your LEDs, enabling you to use them the entire year around, in all weather conditions. Read on as we explore exactly how to waterproof your LED strip lights.
A light emitting diode, or LED, is a form of lighting device that converts electrical energy into light that we can make use of in our homes and businesses. It consists of a semiconductor material through which an electric current is passed; this dislodges electrons from the surface of the material to electron ‘holes’, also present in the material. During this process, the electrons emit particles of light energy called photons. Every LED is made of a different material and so its electrons emit different amounts of energy as they migrate to the electron holes – the different energy levels correspond to different colors of light. Compared to the older incandescent and fluorescent lighting technologies that for many years have dominated the lighting market, LEDs are far more energy efficient, longer lasting and environmentally friendly. Hence we are seeing the older forms of lighting being phased out in favor of LEDs. Nowadays, LED lighting is to be found in dozens of different applications, domestic and commercial alike, and more of the same is expected in the years ahead.
One recent advancement in LED lighting technology is the development of LED strips, a great means of decorating and lighting your home; because your flexible led strip can be disconnected and recombined in any number of different patterns, there are endless lighting possibilities contained here. In this post, we take a look at some DIY means of waterproofing your non-waterproof LED lights, so that you can safely use your beloved LED strip outside on the balcony and deck as well. Waterproofing your LED lights is a great way of enhancing the versatility and longevity of your LED lights even further, making them suitable for lighting your outdoor living spaces the entire year round. And doing it yourself via a DIY approach is a fine way of saving money and learning new skills.
Putting together a waterproof LED light strip
Waterproof your LED strips using waterproofing tubes, and achieve the same quality of waterproof LEDs as the factory made ones. Begin by cutting your LED strip to the desired length, then matching with your waterproofing tube. Insert some nylon thread into the tubing, and tie to the wire leads at one end of your strip. Pull on the end of your string drawing the lead along with it, and then run your strip through the tubing. Next, untie your string from the wire, and fill one tube end cap using silicone sealant. Cover the end of your tube with the end cap, wiping off ant extra sealant. As a means of covering the end of the wire leads, separate out the wires using plier cutters, and thread each one through the holes in one of the end caps. Run that end cap through the entire length of your wires, and fill the end cap with sealant again before you cap the other end of the tubing. Allow at least three hours for your work to dry before you start using your weatherproofed LED strips.
Fish Tank Air Tubes
Get creative and repurpose some of the other material you’ve got at home to weatherproof your LED strip lights. Take a length of fish tank air tubing, making sure the diameter accommodates the width of the LED light strip, and pull your strip down and into it using the same string method discussed above. Once again, apply a generous quantity of silicone sealant at both ends, and be sure to seal the whole end of the tubing, not leaving any gaps. Allow the sealant to dry until the silicone is hard.
Though a bit more messy than these other methods, you can still get the same job done using some plastic track, plastic corner guards, and – of course – plenty of silicone. Take some plastic track of the kind that is generally used for sliding windows, then match it with an equal length of plastic corner guard. Put the corner guard above the track, and seal the two together with silicone. To adjust any alignment issues between the two pieces after the silicone has died out, make use of a heat gun or blow drier to soften the silicone somewhat and make the required adjustments. Once you have inserted your LED strip into this set up, use the right amount of silicone sealant to seal the ends.
If you want a quick and easy solution for indoor LED strips, use a thin silicone spray and apply a generous coating along the entire length of the strip. Let it dry, then mount on the indoors application. One method for coating the strip: first mount it above a table using wire and clamps, making posts. Between the posts place some newspapers to catch any silicone drips. Then dip the entire strip into your silicone, and mount on the posts and clamp down. Hang it out to dry – until the silicone dries.
Buying materials for LED strip waterproofing
A lot of the materials you can use to do your own DIY LED strip waterproofing are available for sale on eBay. To find relevant listings for square LED tubing, say, enter into the search engine on that site such keywords as “LED waterproof tube”. Go into the advanced search feature and apply the filters that are relevant to you to bring up the listings that best suit your own preferences.