5 Things To Know About Your Outdoor Christmas Lights

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

1) DON’T throw away your extra bulbs and fuses You are going to want those later. These extra little packages of replacement bulbs and fuses are not just for a possible breakdown of your lights straight out of the box. They are also for next year when bulb #37 decides to quit. More specifically, a 50-light string from 5 years ago may draw different amperage than the 100-light string you bought yesterday. You cannot use just any spare bulb or fuse lying around. Adding a bulb or fuse with the wrong milliamp rating could cause an overload of power and pop all the fuses, blowing out the string completely.

2) DON’T use more lights than your circuit breaker can handle The standard each circuit breaker can handle is about 15 amps of current. Light strings only draw a few milliamps individually, but when you begin adding those strings together you could draw some serious power. More importantly, the more lights you connect end-to-end, the further the power has to travel. Eventually, you will experience a voltage drop resulting in dim or unlit bulbs towards the end of line. The number of strings you are able to safely and properly connect is greatly increased with the use of LED mini lights or C7and C9 strings because they require significantly less power to function. However, you should always read the instructions on the maximum number of connections possible for your lights.

3) DON’T connect Incandescent and LED mini light strings together The logic behind this advice is based on the amount of the electrical current. Incandescent light strings require a larger power current than LED strings. Connecting incandescent and LED lights one after the other will cause the power drawn by the incandescent lights to overload, and then fry, the LED strings. It is better to keep the LEDs and incandescents separate, running each out of a different outlet.

4) Opt for fuss-free lighting

Net lights are an effective, hassle-free way to create an elegant display. These work best on fir trees and are simple to install, with the use of a ladder, to achieve the required height. Most nets range from 2 x 2m size to 3 x 3m, so you will have to measure the dimensions of your tree exactly to work out what you will need in order to cover the tree evenly.

5) DON'T overwork your extension cord. Splurge on heavy-duty extension cords (Gizmodo reccomends a 16-gauge cord for 25 feet or less, or 14-gauge for more than 25 feet) that are listed for outdoor use (they usually have a "W" on the package). To avoid overloading, only link five strings of lights together before plugging into an extension cord.