Rope Lighting in closet

Is there any specific issue with rope lighting (Christmas lights inside a clear tube) inside of a closet? It is controlled by a jamb switch (like a refrigerator light, light is off if the door is closed). The lights are secured to the inside of the closet around the door frame.

James I am sure most of us would concider that not to be a fixture.
It would fall under decoration catagory.

That’s a great question. Here are some more to consider.

How is it wired to the switch?

Is it high or low voltage?

What does the mfgs. instruction say?

Yep, also is it the only source of light for the space. I would probably write it up as a non-standard source of light for the space at a minimum, then depending on the other issues I identified I could see writing it up for safety/fire issues as well as other things. Too many variables to give a definite here.

The light is plugged into a receptacle that is controlled by the jamb switch. It is 120V. The rope light is the only source of light in a coat closet that is located under the main stairs.

Once again I would concider it no different than a plug in lamp.

What is a “standard” source of light? I personally think this is a great idea to light a tricky space.
Also, what would the safety/fire/other issues be? I really can’t think of any myself.

Where is the rope in respect to the storage space, That is the issue.
The seller can remove the defect by removing the light and switch but the new owner may put it back. There is no requirement for a light in a closet.

And it may be a great idea, but it certainly isn’t typical. Typical would be to use something that we have seen before, something like a permanently fixed lighting fixture installed in the closet in a safe manner.

As for safety/fire I’m sure you know that anytime we install a heat generating device in a closed space packed full of flammables, there are safety/fire issues. Depending on how they are installed, where they are installed, how much heat they generate, etc. All of those kinds of facts, which we are not privy to would be needed before anyone could make a determination of what if any safety/fire issues were involved with this installation.

:wink: Again I state it is a temporary fixture.

Does that mean you don’t make comments about it in your inspection report? I see lots of things that could be ‘temporary’ in the homes I inspect and I would be remiss if I didn’t address them in my reports. Most will be in the home when my client moves in.

If there is another source of light for this closet, and these lights were affixed in a temporary way, say draped over some nails or something, then I would tend to see the point that they might be decorative and not transfer, but since they are apparently permanently affixed, and the sole source of light, I’m going to comment on them based on if they are serviceable, durable and safe to operate.

Brian, first off, those things give off absolutely zero heat. So IMO that is a non-issue.
I’m not sure how you could call something out as a defect just because it is something that it not “typical”.

Second, I agree with Robert. It is no different than anything else plugged in to a receptacle in a closet. Such as a Dustbuster, etc.

I never called it a defect. Things don’t have to be a defect to get mentioned in my report.

Secondly, I’ve never examined rope lights, so I wouldn’t have a clue about the amount of heat they give off. I have personally examined the heat given off by xmas lights and I have seen several reports of studies done for various fire agencies and they give off significant heat and if used improperly can be a fire hazard. Since the original post described these as “(Christmas lights inside a clear tube)”, I will assume these give off enough heat to be of a concern until I see otherwise. BTW, I don’t believe any form of light can give off ‘absolutely zero heat’.

As I said twice now, I would investigate the safety/fire issue, if I found that no heat or insignificant heat was generated, and/or I found that the installation was such that they wouldn’t come into direct contact with the contents of the closet, etc. Then, I wouldn’t have anything additional to write up, but I’m not going to make that call without investigating the issue.

Finally, I don’t see why you are comparing it to a dust buster, just because it’s plugged into the wall outlet? Two weeks ago I inspected a house with another light fixture plugged into a wall outlet. It was hanging from the ceiling and had over 40’ of light cord in chain and they had made a home made rigging to hang it from the ceiling. Would you not inspect it either? Oh, did I mention it had five blades and went round-n-round? Yep, some yahoo got a ‘used’ ceiling fan without a mount or wiring and rigged it himself. :shock::mrgreen::shock:. Welcome to my world! I see this kind of stuff all the time and I write up anything that is not typical/standard/normal whatever term you wish to use because I want my clients to know what is unusual in their new home. They can choose what they want to make a fuss about.

I have a lot of rope around my house. It is about 8 watts a foot as I recall. It does run fairly cool and is listed indoor and outdoor. The field assembled product had it’s listing withdrawn so the only legal product is the ones with permanently connected devices and approved inter-string connectors.
That still does not change the requirement to maintain 12" separation from storage space. (they are still incandecent lights)

One time I found a Christmas light string that worked from a switch. It was cut to appx. 4’ in length and had no wire nuts, tape, etc. on the end, just live wires in mid air. It had been strung in the ceiling of the utility room - for ambiance I guess !

I’m sure the buyer would not use.

**Would like to see an IR themometer scan to see how hot those rope lights got.


I will give a greenie to anyone who posts a pic showing the temp of those rope lights!

No green required but had some rope lying around and got curious so I plugged them in for an hour contained within a box to simulate confined space. Room temp was 72°F

I personally don’t think having them coiled up like that and confined in a small box accurately simulates an actual installation. Not even close.

Lay them it on the floor in a single rown, in a closet, and see what the temp is. If it is the same 125 deg I’ll certainly concede being wrong.

Even at that, 125 deg is NOT much. CFLs get WAY hotter.

I was trying to simulate the worst case scenario. I’m thinking the lights described on the door jamb switch would most likely not be on for this length of time, coiled or this confined for their entire length. Thus any heat generated would be much less and of little concern.

I don’t have a closet that’s not full of precious possessions in someone’s opinion :frowning: :shock: so I’ve laid them out on a 5x10 bathroom floor and will post results later.