How To Keep Christmas Lights From Shorting Out

Posted on: 7 January 2015

Enjoying the holiday season and its festive atmosphere usually means having plenty of lights strung up on your tree and outside your home. Christmas lights are available in many different types, from large and small incandescents to energy-saving LEDs and icicle lights. These days, many Christmas trees come pre-strung with lights. All of these various lights consume electricity. When you are dealing with electrical current, there's always the risk that you might short out fuses or circuits. When you connect together several strings of Christmas lights, you significantly increase this possibility. However, if you follow the advice below, you should be able to avoid this problem.

What You Will Need

  • Electrical Tape
  • Surge Protectors
  • Plastic Bags

Step 1. It's a good idea to always test each strand of lights individually to ensure that they are working properly. If you test them after you have connected them together, it may be that none of the strings will come on. This means you won't be able to know which string or light isn't working.

Step 2. Inspect all of the strings for any signs of damage, such as abrasion or exposed wires. Discard any damaged Christmas light strings.

Step 3. Read the packaging that your lights came with to determine just how much electrical power they're going to need. Make sure that the outlet you're going to be drawing power through can handle the wattage that is listed on the package. Keep in mind that when you have several strings of lights connected together, you have to total up their wattage when comparing it to the capacity of the outlet. Otherwise, you might get a short. If you can't find the packaging your lights came in, you should find the wattage listed on a tag on the light itself.

Step 4. When you are connecting strings of lights together, there's usually going to be one plug at the end that isn't being used. If this is outside and exposed to the elements, moisture could get inside and cause a short. To deal with this, wrap a plastic bag around the end of any unused plug, securing it using electrical tape.

Step 5. Avoid plugging your Christmas lights into any outlet that is also being used for other appliances or devices, such as computers or televisions. Otherwise, the additional drain you are placing on the circuit could cause an overload and a short. One way to help protect the equipment in your home is to make use of surge protectors. This is particularly important for computers and similar devices.

For further help, be sure to contact a professional electrician.