7 Common Installation Mistakes to Avoid with LED Rope Lights
Posted by Birddog Lighting on Sep 21st 2020
LEDs are 75 percent more efficient and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
It's no wonder they are increasingly popular. But you'd be surprised how many people have trouble installing them.
We take you through some of the common installation mistakes for LED rope lights. You can be up and running in no time.
Common Installation Mistakes
We'll tell you how to avoid making mistakes whether you're about to buy your lights or you're about to install them. We have 7 common problems and how to avoid them.
1. Where Light Is Needed
Believe it or not, there is an art to lighting and places which are better than others aesthetically.
Lighting isn't just for seeing in the dark, it creates mood and atmosphere. It can make your space warm and cozy or fresh and focusing.
Having the right positions for your lights and combining them with other lights is important. Make sure you think about different lighting tricks and the results you want before you start buying or installing your LED rope lights.
2. Not Knowing What You Want
There are so many options for your LED rope lights. Once you've thought about all the great design tips above, you will also want to decide on the color of light you want.
If you're creating a homely space to relax in, you will want to consider warm lighting. It will make the space feel inviting after a long day.
If the lighting is for an office space or an area where you need to focus and see things clearly, a colder light might be the right option.
If you entertain a lot and want to create a fun, party atmosphere, colored LED lights might be for you.
Of course, with LED lights, you can combine all of the above into the same bulb and switch between them when you need to. LED lights can also be dimmed. But you need to make these decisions before you buy, as they aren't available for all the different LED lights out there.
3. Not Knowing Your Light Installation Budget
Of course, all of these options and the associated drivers and switches, etc have varying prices. Make sure you know your budget and cost for everything you need.
4. Buying the Wrong Lights
LED rope lights look really cool, but are they right for what you want? The benefits of rope lights are numerous, such as great length and viewing from all angles. But they're quite bulky and heavy. They need a bend radius and won't go right into corners. They also need large clips to keep them in place.
They aren't really for putting under kitchen cabinets to light your worktop, or where you need light to work by.
They are best used for decoration, so it may sound obvious but make sure rope lights are what you wanted and not LED strips.
5. Cutting The Lights
Like most LED lights, rope lights need to be cut at certain intervals. You can buy kits that have pre-cut lengths. Or it can be more cost-effective to buy a long rope and cut it down into the sections you need.
Cutting intervals will be evenly distributed throughout the rope, and can range from every 18 inches to every 72 inches. Check the cutting requirements for your rope as they do all vary.
Figure out the length you need for your project and compare it to the intervals of your rope. You will need to round your length up or down to the nearest interval and ensure that's the only place you cut it.
The cutting interval will usually be marked in some way to make it distinguishable from the places you shouldn't cut. Look out for scissor marks or anything else that certain sections have that others don't.
Try out our handy rope light calculator if you need help. If you have cut in the wrong place, you can buy connectors to fix it.
6. Connecting Your Power
The power connector is the part that brings electricity into your rope light, so you need to get it right! The easiest thing to do is to attach your power connector and power cord first.
Next up, secure the connector to your light rope. Be careful but be firm, all the connections need to be tight and secure.
Remember that LEDs are polarized, which means the electrical current can only flow in one direction. If you plug your lights in and they don't work, you may have just connected the power cord to the wrong end.
Make sure you check the lights are working before you start putting them into place. You might have to start over if you need to put the power in the opposite end!
Don't forget to secure the end cap too, especially if your lights are outside. You don't want any water getting in or any wires hanging out.
7. Having The Wrong Driver
Drivers regulate the supply of power to your LED rope lights. They switch the power from your main plug socket into a lower voltage, which is suitable for LEDs.
If you want to dim your lights, you will need a driver that supports dimming. If your lights are outside it will need to be water-resistant.
With a little research and even some advice from us, you'll find the right driver for your lights in no time.
Install With Confidence
You now know how to avoid common installation mistakes. If you've considered everything from the lights you want and where to put them to the correct place to cut and connect your lights you should be good to go.
Of course, if you're still stuck, we are happy to help. Contact us with your questions or concerns and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.