Christmas Lighting Decoration Tips (Part 3 of 3)

Now that your Black Friday shopping is complete, it is time to think about your Christmas Decorating.

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at Christmas Lighting Decoration Tips. The first week we explored the importance of using the correct outdoor lights as well as the proper extension cords and last week we looked at how many strands of lights to plug together as well as some tips for preventing moisture in your connections.

If you are an early decorator (which we found out last week these individual tend to be happier individuals), you probably have had your decorations up for weeks and have been enjoying them, but what do you do when all of a sudden, they stop working.

Here are a few tips to troubleshoot the problem…

1. Were the lights working when you put them up?

It is important that you test your lights prior to putting them up. That way you do not waste time hanging lights that are not going to work.

If your lights were working when you put them up, proceed to step #2. If your lights were not working prior to putting them up, you may want to check to see if your lights are functional.

2. Are all your lights not working or just a few?

If all your lights are not working, proceed to step #3.

If only a section of lights is not working, most likely the problem is with the strand of lights and you can try replacing the fuse, or bulbs on the strand to see if you can get them to work. Or if you don’t want to waste time trying to figure it out, you can go out and buy another strand of lights.

3. If all your outdoor Christmas lights are not working, the problem may be (a) with an extension cord that you are using to plug in your lights or (b) with the receptacle.

If you are able, try running an extension cord into your home and plug into a receptacle that you know is working. If the lights still do not work, try using a different extension cord as the problem may be with the extension cord.

If you outdoor lighting display works when you plug it inside, the problem is most likely with your outdoor receptacle.

Check to see if your outdoor receptacle is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (aka GFCI or GFI) protected receptacle. GFI protected receptacles have a test and reset button. If your receptacle is a GFI receptacle, hit the reset button until you hear it click. Once you hear it click, try plugging your outdoor lighting display back in.

If the lights stay on but then stop working again, you may be overloading the receptacle, the receptacle may be bad or there may be a problem with the lights that is causing the GFI to trip. We recommend you contact your preferred electrical contractor if the GFI receptacle continues to trip.

If your outdoor receptacle is not a GFI receptacle, it may be protected through another GFI receptacle somewhere in your home. Receptacles that are located near water (bathrooms, kitchen, basements and outdoors) are required to be GFI protected. That does not always mean that there is a GFI receptacle in those areas, sometimes for instance a bathroom receptacle may contain the GFI receptacle, but it may protect the outdoor receptacles and the kitchen receptalces. Check all your receptacles to see if you have any GFI receptacles are tripped and need to be reset.

If you are unable to get your receptacle to work after all this troubleshooting, contact your preferred electrical contractor.

If you do not have a preferred electrical contractor, we can certainly help you out. Feel free to contact us at 717.392.0804 or the visit the Contact Us form of our website.