Lights in trees

Saw this today, during a draw inspection.

The previous owner (this was a tear down McMansion) installed flood lights high (about 17 feet up) in a tree next to a deck.

They ran conduit up the tree (waterproof connections) and had the two waterproof boxes on opposite sides to the tree. The drilled a hole directly through the tree and inserted the EMT through the hole.

So, everything was properly sealed and in the (locally) required EMT conduit.

Problem? Comments? They seemed to go through much work to do this.

NEC complient?

(I can’t wait!!! :mrgreen: )

Lights in tree.jpg

Lights in tree.jpg

I would find it hard to believe that this spotlight was installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.

Another one that’s dumb, but legal:

***ARTICLE 410
Luminaires (Lighting Fixtures),
Lampholders, and Lamps
410.16 Means of Support.
(H) Trees. *Outdoor luminaires (lighting fixtures) and associated
equipment shall be permitted to be supported by

The violation, from a code standpoint, is 110.3(B), which requires that manufacturers instructions be followed. The lampholder pointing up is the violation. PAR holders must point at least 15 degrees below horizontal according to most manufacturers. Straight up like that one is a genuine problem on many fronts.

See 225.26 also and EMT is Electrical Metallic Tubing “Thinwall”

Were the EMT fittings raintight?

Would it make a difference if they were?

What they gonna do when the tree gets bigger around? And it will, you know.

Yes. I checked (had nothing better to do, this morning, and thought it would be a good discussion topic.

Agree with the upward orientation, Marc.

What about the drilling through the tree and inserting the EMT?

All connections were rain tight. Exterior boxes. All EMT with the proper fittings and unions.

Oddly, the code only requires us to use expansion fittings to allow for thermal expansion and contraction, ground heaving, and across construction joints of buildings. Nothing about other things that move due to things like wind and tree growth, for instance. Functionally, you know this is going to be a problem, so I’m sure you’re going to write about that.

I think it would be a good idea for someone to propose that the word “thermal” be stricken any place in the NEC that it precedes “expansion” and put the word “any” in its place.

I agree drilling the tree was the main flaw. They could have looped “wet” MC cable or one of the liquidtight flexible raceways between the boxes with a little slack for growing room.

Joe, if this has been in the tree for more than a couple years I guarantee the connectors are not “raintight”. That is fairly a new invention.

"Raintight" compression type EMT fittings for use in wet locations

UL offers Listing service for “raintight” compression type EMT fittings under the product category Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) Fittings (FKAV) located on page 33 of the 2005 General Information Directory for Electrical Equipment (White Book).

UL recently conducted a study to determine the reliability of “raintight” compression fittings to consistently comply with the wet location test criteria. Based on the results, UL initiated a more stringent follow-up test program to assure these products consistently exclude water to maintain their “raintight” marking.

As of March 2002, manufacturers of UL Listed “raintight” (wet location) compression type EMT fittings were required to comply with the more stringent follow-up test requirements. If they did not comply, they were no longer authorized to mark their UL Listed fittings with the “Raintight” marking.
Several manufacturers presently have Listing up to 2 inch and some up to 3 inch trade size.

As of June 2005, several manufacturers are authorized to mark their Listed compression type EMT fittings with the “Raintight” marking up to 2 inch trade size. At least one manufacturer has up to 3 inch trade size fittings Listed for “Rain Tight” or “Wet Locations”.

These fittings are typically provided with additional gaskets, sealing or “O” rings or additional assembly instructions that must be followed to exclude water. The installation instructions on the carton must be followed for proper installation. Look for the “Raintight” or “Wet Locations” marking on the container and the UL Mark on the fitting.

The availability of “raintight” fittings may change as manufacturers redesign their fittings to comply with UL’s new follow-up “raintight” testing. It is imperative to always look for the proper marking on the product and container. If the product is not marked with the UL Listing Mark and the container is not marked “Raintight” or “Wet Locations”, then the fittings have not been Listed for raintight or wet location applications. As new “Raintight” Listings are promulgated, this page will be updated.
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Would have been no problem if they used Liquid tight around the outside.

That’s for sure. I’m not sure I could bring myself to drill a hole straight through the middle of a live tree. I don’t know anything about trees, but that seems like an open invitation to a tree diseasy or other associated decay. I’m sure they did it for improved looks, but sheesh. Dumb.

In higher-end neighborhoods, with the $2m+ homes, this is quite common. Floodlights are usually pointed upward, even when mounted up in the tree. It creates an interesting lighting effect. I’ve even seen low wattage lights tilted downward from WAY up, to try and emulate moonlight. A little weird, but can look cool.

The boring won’t hurt the tree, but don’t ever try that with a Popular Tree, they are Nature’s own Lighting Rod. P.S. Not a good choice for a Deer Stand either.