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FAQs on Rope Light

Have questions about rope light? Today we’re answering frequently asked questions about one of our most popular products. Rope light is a flexible string of LED or incandescent lights encased in a tube. It’s frequently used for outdoor Christmas decorations, word art, under cabinet lighting, and cove lighting. Because rope lights come in kits or spools, this leads to many questions about custom lengths, where rope light can be installed and how they operate. Here are the answers to some of our most frequent questions:

Can rope light be used as the sole source of light for a room?
Asked by John H.

 Neon rope light used outside.

Neon rope light used outside.

Regular rope light generally doesn’t produce a very bright light to be used for general lighting; it is used for decorative purposes. Because of this, these lights are not tested for Lumens (amount of light delivered) or color temperature (Kelvin color of the light).

Neon rope light produces the same amount of light as glass neon lighting and is given a Lumens per foot measurement. While not bright enough to light a room, neon rope light makes an eye-catching addition to outdoor lighting for businesses. Flat rope light, a hybrid between rope light and tape light, has LEDs that are visible through the silicone coating to produce a brighter light. Also measured in Lumens per foot, flat rope light is bright enough to potentially light a small room.

Is rope light splash resistant?
Asked by Mine

When rope light is uncut, it is splash resistant and can be used outside. Popular outdoor applications include lighting deck railings, wrapping tree trunks, and lining sidewalks. If your application requires that the rope light be cut, you must shrink wrap any connections made in order to protect them from water. Just keep in mind that the UL listing is voided as soon as the rope light is cut.

Can rope light be used with a dimmer?
Asked by DIY SC

Incandescent rope light is dimmable, but LED rope light is not. 120 Volt incandescent rope light can be hardwired to a standard wall dimmer so long as the total wattage of the rope light is less than the maximum wattage the dimmer is rated to handle. 12 Volt incandescent rope light can be used with a magnetic low voltage wall dimmer, but must also be paired with a dimmable transformer.

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Can rope light be cut anywhere or are there certain spots?
Asked by Gklaus1

Rope lights have specific cutting marks notated with a white dashed line. Spacing between the cut marks will vary across products. Some may have cut lines every few inches while others can be a few feet apart. The only rope lights that should not be cut are the rope light kits, which are premeasured at set lengths and  cannot be cut. If cut, the rope light in a kit will no longer work and cannot be reconnected again.

Can individual bulbs be replaced?
Asked by Stock55

Because there are limited cut-marks, individual bulbs can’t be accessed without damaging other parts of the rope light. Instead, you have to remove the section that has gone out by cutting at the cut marks on either side and splicing in new rope light. Make sure to shrink wrap the new connections.

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Can rope light bend at 90-degree angles, or are corner-turn accessories needed?
Asked by DIY SC

Rope light is flexible and can bend close to 90 degrees. It is important to note that bending the rope light back and forth repeatedly can damage the wiring, causing a section of the light to fail. For an exact 90-degree angle, it is recommended that you use connector pieces. Flat rope light is also flexible, however it cannot be laid flat and bend at the same time. In order to make a bend close to 90 degrees, flat rope light must be laid sideways. If you need sharp angels, you may want to consider LED tape light as an alternative.

Is there anything else needed in order to install rope light kits?
Asked by Beve

Rope light kits are all-in-one kits that include the rope light, power cord, and mounting clips. You will not need to purchase any other pieces to install the rope light. In the case that you want to install your rope light in a very straight line, you can use a channel raceway. We carry them in different lengths and widths.

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Do purple LED rope lights give off an ultra violet light for fluorescent colors?
Asked by JEFF4420

Our purple rope lights do not emit an ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light can only be achieved with black lights. Purple rope lights are also closer to a magenta color due to hue variances on a sliding scale and color variation between batches.

Are there any significant difference between 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch rope light?
Asked by Schmurdly

1/2 inch and 3/8 rope light both produce the same about of light. The only difference between the two is that 3/8 inch rope light is thinner. This allows for a little more flexibility when making tighter curves for intricate designs or spelling out words. 

Do you have a question about rope light that you would like to see answered? Ask us in a comment below. You can also find more rope light tips on our  Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest pages.

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