Christmas Lights Tips


By storing your lights properly you can avoid many of the problems associated with Christmas lights e.g. broken lamps, set not working or just a large spaghetti ball that was last years Christmas lights!

Starting with lamp furthest from the plug. Hold the first lamp holder in your hand. Allow the second lamp to hang down. While keeping hold of the first lamp, collect the third lamp into your hand and allow number four to hang down. You should now have lamp holders one and three in your hand and two and four will be hanging below. Now continue this process of gathering every other lamp until you run out of lamps. The lead can then be wrapped around the middle of the bundled light set. You should finish up with half the lamps at one end and the other half at the other end with a neat bundle of cable in the middle.

Preparing for Use

When you come to use your Christmas lights, I strongly recommend spending a few minutes checking over the set before use (even if they are new!). This can save spending an hour or so finding a fault once the lights are up. Before you do anything with your lights, you should re-read the instructions on the box and make sure you are familiar with the Do's and Don'ts that apply to your light set.

I would suggest that you unravel the light set near to where you intend to use it and lay it out on a large flat surface (ideally in one long line). If you use the floor for this don't forget to use common sense... keep children and pets out of the room and don't stand on the lights or wire! Starting at one end, work your way along the set checking that all the lamps are securely in their lamp holders and that the cable and lamp holders have not been damaged. If in doubt, consult a electrically competent person. If all is well, plug the set in and check that all the lamps work (if not see the "Fault Finding" section). Now switch off and allow the lamps to cool.

Once cool bundle-up the lights as in the "Storage" section above as this makes the set easier to handle. Now you are read to put up your lights.

Start putting the lights up from the plug end of the set, keeping the remaining lights bundled in your other hand or get someone to hold the remaining lights while you work along the set putting-up each lamp in turn. Important note: when installing or moving Christmas lights the set must be unplugged. This removes the risk of electric shock and helps prevent damage to the filaments in the lamps. Also see the section on "When Moving Lights".

When Moving Lights

Here are a few tips for when you need to move your Christmas lights (e.g. putting them up).

  • Here are a few tips for when you need to move your Christmas lights (e.g. putting them up).
  • Don't be tempted to reposition your lights while they are switched on. This will only ruin the delicate filaments in the lamps, which is difficult to rectify without replacing all the lamps!
  • Christmas lights are fragile. It might sound obvious but it is easy to forget when putting them up. Try not to knock the lamps against anything. Even if the glass doesn't break, the inside of the lamp could be damaged.
  • Don't tug the cable if the lights get caught on something as this could damage the cable or pull a wire out from the back of lamp holder.

Fault Finding

The set does not light.

In technical speak the set is "open circuit". In other words, there is a break in the circuit that must be found in order to make the set work.

For mains voltage light sets:

  1. Unplug the light set from the mains supply.
  2. Check that all the lamps are present and securely fitted into their lamp holders. Replace any missing lamps. Also, ensure that none of the wires have come out of the lamp holders. If this is the case, the set must not be used. Plug the set back into the mains and switch on. If the set still does not work, unplug and proceed to step 3.
  3. Find the fuse lamp which the lamp with the tip painted white and is normally located at the plug end of the set or is the second to last lamp. Replace this lamp with a new fuse lamp (do not replace with an ordinary lamp), ensuring that the replacement is suitable for your light set. Plug the set back into the mains and switch on. If nothing happens try step 4.
  4. Unplug the set from the mains. Starting at one end, swap the first lamp for a new one that is known to be working. Plug the set in and see if it lights. If not, unplug the set, swap the old lamp back into the set and move onto the next lamp holder. Repeat the process until the set works or you get to the other end. If you have a Christmas lamp tester, you can check each lamp works as you put them back in. Note: The fuse lamp must not be replaced with an ordinary lamp.

The Set Lights Butů

The Fuse Lamp Keeps Blowing.

The fuse lamp is a safety device and is intended to burn-out to prevent the light set from overheating. There are several reasons why the fuse lamp may burn out prematurely.

  1. There are other burned out lamps in the set - Replace all failed lamps
  2. The set is suffering from squirming - Replace ALL lamps or the entire set.
  3. Some of the lamps in the set are the wrong type - Replace with correct type of lamps.

A section of the set does not work

Most low voltage sets, sets with a control box and mains sets with more than 40 lamps are constructed in several sections. Follow the instructions for "The set does not light" but you only need apply it to the section that does not work. Note that low voltage sets do not have fuse lamps.