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eLightBulbs Blog > What Are Rope Lights?

What Are Rope Lights?

Posted by Blair Eisenbraun on Aug 30, 2010
What Are Rope Lights?

The Rope Lights section of the site here was recently renovated, and so I thought I'd look into rope lighting a bit and see what it's about.

What Are Rope Lights?
Rope lights are very similar to Christmas string light sets.  The main difference is that in rope lights, the tiny light bulbs are fully encapsulated by the plastic roping.  I haven't used rope lights myself, but I've seen them used as decoration in a lot of places; restaurants, hotels, and other types of businesses, as well as in holiday lighting.

Rope Lights Info 

The basic premise of rope lights is the combination of tiny light bulbs in a long elastic plastic tube, hence rope.  The micro light bulbs run about .5 watts each and are usually spaced about an inch apart inside the plastic tube, which is most often made of clear or colored flexible PVC resin.  Typical rope lights consume about 6 watts per foot, and it would take about 10 feet of rope lights to consume the energy that a single 60 watt incandescent light bulb consumes. 
Rope lights are most commonly rated for around 25,000 hours of usage before failing.  If you used them for four hours every day, it would take 17 years to exhaust their life.  There are a few differences between rope lights, such as the size of the plastic jacketing.  3/8 inch and ½ inch rope lights are the two most widely available.  Both sizes use the same light bulbs, so brightness and energy usage are thus the same.  Brightness between rope lights is indicated by watts per foot; a 5.5 watts per foot rope light generates more light than a 3.36 watts per foot rope light.

Where to Use Rope Lights 

You can add some really cool aesthetic touches with rope lighting.  It can be installed just about anywhere; some indoor applications include placing it along mantles and shelves, adding accents to bookcases and cabinets and even doors and windows.  Rope lights are really nice for inside dark closets since you don't need a lot of light.  You can use them along staircases or on individual steps too, just like you've probably seen in movie theaters.  They look great along decks and deck railings and are perfect for safety lighting if you're using them outside.
Try out some rope lighting for your next party or holiday event.  They'd probably make great highlights lighting for gardens outside, as well as walkway and path lighting.  The options for using rope lights don’t seem to end when you start thinking about them!
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About the Author
Blair Eisenbraun
Blair is an incredibly versatile copywriter. He enjoys researching and mastering his subject matter and provides interesting and engaging commentary through his gift of writing. In his downtime, he is an avid gamer and enjoys finding the humor in life.
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