Christmas Lights

How to maintenance your Christmas lights Part I

  • October 16, 2010


To date there aren’t any Christmas lights that are manufactured here in the US, but we use millions of lights. Manufacturing so many lights for consumption with only months to prepare has led to holiday decorations notoriously being poorly manufactured and unreliable. Our Christmas lights are commercial grade, with greater durability and quality than our competitors. The following guide offesr advice and solutions to the most common Christmas light problems whether you’re using our lights or your own.


  1. Check that all circuits are on and that all plugs are plugged into a sufficient power source.
  2. Check the plug fuses of the light set. If the filament within the fuse is broken, replace the fuse. It is also sometimes necessary to spread plug prongs of plugs to insure circuit contact. This is a common problem.
  3. While the light set is plugged into a sufficient current, run a finger slowly over the bulb tops. If the light set comes on while touching a particular bulb, this bulb is most likely causing a short in the circuit. Remove and replace this bulb. In this case, the wire was not making contact with the light socket.
  4. Check that the appropriate amount of light sets are plugged into each other, end to end. There should be no more than two (2) sets of lights plugged into each other.
  5. If the lights are plugged into an extension cord, there may be an overload. Make sure there are not too many lights plugged into the cord. Also check the plug fuse of the extension cord. *NOTE* It is always best to check any light set while it is plugged into a wall plug outlet.
  6. Should a light set be burning brighter than normal, there are most likely more than eight (8) to fifteen (15) bulbs that have burned out. Find and replace those bulbs that are not working. Do not replace burned out bulbs while the light set is plugged in. This will cause a current surge and will burn out the new bulb.
  7. When replacing a burned-out bulb in a mini light set, it is helpful to use a tester. This will dramatically simplify the repair of light sets on both trees and displays. To use the tester, plug one light set into the plug outlet on the light tester. Push the test button on the tester; a buzzing sound will come from any defective bulbs. Remove and replace the bulb(s). On light sets of over fifty lights (light spheres, 100 light sets, etc.), remove one bulb from the end of the set or sphere, and plug the light into the tester. Push the test button. Remove and replace the bulb. Continue testing each light until the defective light is found.

Power Setup–Click here for Part II of this article

You don’t need to read your electric bill to know that outdoor Christmas lights can draw a huge amount of power. 100 feet of incandescent C9 bulbs, for instance, draw 3 and half times more power than most televisons! Needless to say, if you plug too many light strings into one plug, you will quickly overload that circuit.

Most homes have a 16 amp plug in the front and back yard; however, that circuit is usually shared with a room in the home, so not all 16 amps are usable. If you are planning a large Christmas light display, it is wise to calculate the number of amps your Christmas lights and decorations draw to make sure it is far less than 16 amps.

Amperage is usually posted on the UL tag at one end of your light string. If it is not, use this formula to determine the amperage of your light strings:

Number of Feet x Number of Watts Per Bulb / 125 Volts = Number of Amps

Using the example above:

100 Feet of C9 Bulbs x 7 Watts per Bulb / 125 Volts = 5.6 Amps.

Assuming other electrical devices are not using this circuit, you could plug additional lights or decorations into your outdoor plug. However, you should check the UL tag for maximum connections (usually 3) before plugging additional lights in end-to-end.

Note: Most Mini Light strings are not rated in watts, but amps, so the math is done for you.


Please note: This information is just a general guideline to assist you in your project. With any electrical product or situation there is a risk of electrical shock. DFW Christmas Lights and it’s parent company, Dallas Curb Appeal accepts no liability for the content of this article, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. Any views or opinions presented in this e-mail are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company-

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