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Vapor tight fixtures

About Vapor tight fixtures 

Vapor tight fixtures are used in environments where normal fixtures would be damaged by dust, humidity, vapors, and even corrosive fumes. These harsh conditions are often found in industrial sites and outdoor locations, and they can quickly damage any light fixtures without suitable enclosures. Vapor tight  fixtures are available in LED, fluorescent and incandescent versions.

Compared with fluorescent and incandescent fixtures, vapor tight LED lights are superior in terms of energy efficiency and durability:

  • LED lighting can achieve energy savings of over 30% compared with fluorescent lighting, and savings of over 80% compared with incandescent lighting.

  • Vapor tight LED fixtures are normally rated for 50,000 hours of use. For comparison, the most durable incandescent bulbs last around 2,000 h, while the most durable fluorescent tubes last around 30,000 h.

Vapor tight  LED light fixtures use seals and gaskets to protect their internal components from dust, humidity and vapors. Their diffusers are fully sealed around the edges, and they are firmly attached to fixtures with specially designed latches. Thanks to their long service life and protective enclosure, LED vapor tight fixtures also have minimal maintenance needs.

Types of Vapor Tight Fixtures

Vapor tight fixtures can be classified into linear and “jelly jar” fixtures, based on the shape of their enclosure.

Linear vapor tight fixtures can be further classified into low-bay and high-bay, and they can be used in multiple applications. Vapor tight high bay LED fixtures are used when the mounting height exceeds 15 feet, while low bay fixtures are used at lower heights. In most cases, linear vapor tight fixtures have a length of 2’, 4’ or 8’:

Jelly jar vapor tight fixtures get their name from their characteristic shape, and there are both wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted options available. This design has been traditionally used with incandescent bulbs, but there are now LED versions.

Based on the lamp type used, vapor tight fixtures can also be classified into incandescent, fluorescent or LED. Incandescent lamps use the jelly jar design, fluorescent lamps use the linear design, and vapor tight LED fixtures are available with both shapes.

Where Are Vapor Tight LED Fixtures Used?

As mentioned above, vapor tight LED fixtures are protected from fine particles, moisture and vapors. This makes them suitable for outdoor and industrial lighting systems that are exposed to harsh conditions, where unprotected fixtures would fail quickly. The following are some common applications of vapor tight fixtures:

  • Commercial carports and other covered parking areas

  • Car washes

  • Woodworking and metalworking facilities

  • Humid and corrosive industrial environments

  • Food processing areas

  • Cold storage (vapor tight fixtures used must be rated for low temperature in this case)

  • Staircases

  • Outdoor areas of commercial buildings

Installing vapor tight LED fixtures is an excellent decision from a financial standpoint. In addition to the electricity savings of LED lighting, you are saving all the lamp replacements and repairs that would be needed with unprotected fixtures. In the case of high-bay installations, you are also protecting your personnel - each lamp replacement involves working at height.

Since vapor tight fixtures have a tough enclosure, they also have a higher price than other fixtures used in similar applications. However, their long-term cost is actually lower when you consider the avoided replacements and maintenance costs.

  • Before installing these fixtures, you must make sure they are actually needed, or your lighting system will be more expensive than necessary.

In places where the protection of a vapor tight enclosure is not necessary, conventional strip lights and high-bay lights can be used instead.

What Are the Advantages of Vapor Tight LED Fixtures?

Vapor tight LED fixtures are designed to last while being exposed to dust, humidity, and even corrosive vapors. The following are some of their main benefits:

  • Energy efficiency: Vapor tight LED fixtures have a lower energy consumption than incandescent and fluorescent fixtures of the same output.

  • Durability and minimal maintenance needs: Since the internal components of vapor tight fixtures are protected with hermetic seals, maintenance costs are reduced. Regular cleaning may be necessary in dusty environments, since dust can accumulate on the diffuser. However, the fixture’s service life is not affected.

Safety: Thanks to their durable design, vapor tight LED fixtures are protected from external agents that could cause a sudden failure. This means they will not leave outdoor and industrial areas in the dark without warning. Also, since there are no fragile bulbs or tubes exposed to impact, there is no risk of contaminating the products below with glass shards.

How Are Vapor Tight LED Fixtures Installed?

The installation procedure of vapor tight LED fixtures depends on their physical design.

  • Jelly jars are mounted directly on ceilings and walls with special bases. Their jar-shaped diffuser has an upper screw-in base, and it attaches to the fixture just like a jelly jar attaches to its lid.

  • Linear vapor tight fixtures can be mounted directly on surfaces, or suspended with chains and hooks.

Regardless of how the fixture is installed, you must make sure that all sealed components are tightly closed, since this will ensure a long service life. A vapor tight fixture that has not been sealed correctly is no longer vapor tight!

There are also LED retrofit kits for existing vapor tight fixtures, which can be used to upgrade incandescent jelly jars and linear fluorescent fixtures. Retrofit kits improve the efficiency of older fixtures, while conserving their expensive enclosures. Replacing the fixtures completely is also an option, but the associated cost is much higher.