A house can go from warm and inviting to festive in minutes with well-placed holiday decorations. Most people in Minnesota start putting up Christmas lights the first week of December, and some start earlier than that. The process can be frustrating and can cause problems if it’s not done right, especially if you’re using extension cords or proper outlets. We talked to a handful of electricians with Dean’s Home Services and got some great advice for creating a hassle-free holiday display.
When Hanging Christmas Lights, Avoid Blowing a Fuse
When you string too many lights together and plug them into the wall, you’re more likely to blow a fuse, and your lights won’t stay lit. A good way to avoid this is by using LED light bulbs which means more lights and a much smaller chance of tripping a breaker.
GFCI Outlets Are Your Friend
GFCI senses the slightest difference in the amount of electricity between what enters a circuit and what leaves the circuit. A small variation, as little as 5 milliamps, will cause the circuit to trip or shut down within 1/10th of a second. This prevents people from getting electrocuted.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Christmas lights and decorations and GFCIs, generally all it takes to trip a circuit is for a little moisture to get into the outlet, cord, or lights. If this happens and the power is on, the circuit will trip, causing the lights and décor to go out. Make sure you’re keeping the area as dry as possible and when possible, avoid using splitters or having to connect multiple ext
Going All Out? You May Need Extra Circuits
If you’re installing a lot of lights on your home, you may need to install new circuits to handle the usage. If you don’t pay attention to the number of amps your lights are drawing, you could create a fire hazard. If you plan on going big with your holiday display, you’ll need more power, which is when it’s important you have an electrician from Dean’s help set you up with a safe, reliable setup
Using a smart outlet/timer is another good way to control your lights, even better, have a Dean’s electrician place outlets outside your home.
Christmas Lights Still Tripping?
Older houses and Christmas lights don’t get along well. The average older home’s outdoor outlet is connected to a GFI which is a part of the circuit. If you’re using a lot of electricity in your bathroom, it can directly affect your outdoor lights.
Top Christmas Light Tipss From Dean’s Electricians
- Use common sense.
- Avoid placing extension cords over sidewalks or high traffic areas
- Test lights before hanging
- Keep an eye on pets because they love to investigate and sometimes even chew on wires.
- Use approved hangers not tacks, nails or staples which can damage the insulation around the wires, creating a fire hazard.