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UL Listings: What They Are & Why They Matter
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have seen a UL mark on an appliance, table lamp, or anything else that runs on electricity. You will certainly see it on VOLT® products. But this mark is notably absent from many landscape lights on the market. Why?
The answer to that question requires some explaining. Let’s walk through some basic questions and answers so we are all on the same page with UL Listings.
First, what is the bottom line on UL Listings?
Before we get into the details, here’s what’s important.
- VOLT® Lighting is committed to developing products that conform to UL Safety Standards.
- VOLT® Lighting undertakes a significant ongoing investment in attaining and maintaining UL Listings.
- Professionals who install non-listed products do so with a significant risk to their livelihood.
What is the organization behind the letters?
UL (originally Underwriters Laboratory) describes itself as a “safety science company”. They study product safety and help to develop material standards that ensure that safety.
There are various UL standards that apply to all electrical devices. These standards are primarily concerned with preventing fires, burns, and electric shock injury.
UL not only develops the standards, they test products to make sure they comply.
How do manufacturers work with UL?
If manufacturers want to prove their products are safe, they submit them to UL. Then, UL will test the products to see if they comply with the standards. In addition, UL will periodically visit the factories to ensure that the products they tested are the same as the ones coming off the assembly lines. They also inspect the instructions that go with the products to make sure safety precautions are clearly noted.
Only after all this testing, will UL give the manufacturer the right to display the UL mark on their products and promotional materials.
Does UL charge for its services?
Yes, the cost of getting UL Listings is a significant financial investment. When a manufacturer seeks and obtains these listings, you know they are serious about product safety and compliance.
Are UL listings mandatory for landscape lighting?
The National Electric Code (NEC Section 411) requires that low voltage lighting equipment is UL listed for the purpose. This means that all electrical components (fixtures, wire, and transformers) carry UL Listings.
An electrical inspector may fail landscape lighting projects that contain non-listed products.
Even worse, if contractors use non-listed equipment, they may be held liable in case of fire or injury on their customers’ properties.
If UL listings are mandatory, how can some manufacturers sell non-listed products?
As we said, getting UL Listings is a big investment. Some manufacturers try to save money by foregoing the process. Nothing prevents them from selling the products. But homeowners and contractors who buy and install non-listed products do so at their own risk.
I noticed a few VOLT® products do not show UL listings. Why is that?
Certain products, such as stakes, lenses, and tools do not require listings.
Other products may be in the process of getting listed. It can take over a year to gain UL Listing on a product.
If you have a question as to whether a product is UL Listed, or not, please refer to that product’s detail page on the VOLT Lighting website.
I noticed there are a few products that show an ETL mark instead of UL. Why is that?
ETL is an independent laboratory (like UL) but they do not set the standards – instead, they test products for compliance with the UL standards.
The ETL Listed mark carries the same authority as the UL Listed mark – both convey proof that a product complies with a UL standard.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about UL Listings. We welcome your comments and questions!