Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights Dallas: DIY Lighting–Part I

  • September 11, 2010

By Maria Bargellini, president of DFW Christmas Lights

Want to do your own lights? Great–here are some thing to consider and tips to help you get started.

1. Which lights can you connect together? This is by far the biggest mistake people make. Here are some rules to live by.

  • Do not connect mini lights of different numbers together-never connect a 100 light set to a 50 light set. If you do, the 50 light set will burn out prematurely. The same goes for any other combination.
  • Do not connect different bulb types together. LED strands and mini lights burn at different voltages and will burn out prematurely as well. LED C9’s cannot be mixed with incandescent C9’s for this same reason.
  • Read the manufacturers directions for connecting their lights. Some allow up to 6 to be connected end to end while others only 3. Connecting more than you’re allow may overload your circuit, short out your lights or worst–cause a fire.

2. Will any extension cord due? NO spend your money on good extension cords and do not overload them. The cords you see at the discount store may have a price that’s too good to be true. That because they are. At first glance they may appear to be the same as your typical 15amp cords commonly sold in our big box and hardware stores but some are inferior or worst-counterfeit.  The larger the copper and better the insulation the more current it can carry. Inferior cords will have smaller copper wires and inferior insulation–both are UL tested to protect you. Counterfeits are not regulated and therefore are not tested.

  • Buy your cords from a reputable store
  • A regular 9 ft. extension cord with a 3 plug receptacle will handle 3 light sets of the same length per receptacle.hat’s a total of 9 lights.
  • You can vary sets with different number of lights on an extension cord, but as with wall receptacles, not in the same receptacle. ie-1 outlet can have 3-100 set lights, 2 outlet can have 3 50 set lights, and the 3rd can have 3 other decorations
  • Make sure that the cord you’re using has enough amperage carrying capacity to light your lights. You may need to use mutliple cords that are powered from multiple power outlets (receptacles).

3. What about my tree topper? Do not connect lighted tree toppers or novelty light sets into other end to end plugs.
Following the mixing of lights rule, you cannot connect a lighted tree topper or novelty light set (usually containing 10-30 lights) to other sets of end to end lights and not expect premature burnout. Use a dedicated plug outlet and an extension cord to accommodate tree toppers and novelty lights.

  • On larger trees I like to use a few small to mid size tree toppers in place of large ornaments.
  • I know you want to put your tree topper last but it is easier to hide the wires if you lay it in before your mini lights. You can always lights it last.

Click here for part II of this article

DFW Christmas Lights, and The Outdoor Lighting Expert are owned and operated by Dallas Curb Appeal, a full service landscape contractor in Dallas. If you have questions or comments on this post please leave a comment below.

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