We’re all looking to add a little brightness to the end of a challenging, stressful year. 2020 might have been a year of a pandemic, shutdowns, and job cuts, but that didn’t stop people from l putting up their Christmas trees. However, with Christmas trees come Christmas lights – and where there are Christmas light bulbs – there’s tangling and burnouts.
You don’t have to look too deep into fixing Christmas lights before finding complicated electrical diagrams teaching you how to rewire your connections. There are some common problems and fixes for Christmas lights for those not proficient in the electrical profession.
How to Fix Christmas Lights When One Bulb Is Out
Assuming your bulbs are removable, you’re in luck. This fix is relatively simple, requiring you to change the bulb for a brand-new one. If your bulbs are indeed removable, there should be spare bulbs in the box – if you still have it. If there are no bulbs or the original box is nowhere to be found, consider visiting your local depot store for matching bulbs.
If you’re in the habit of recycling Christmas ornaments, don’t ignore the burned-out outliers. If you have one or two burned-out bulbs on an otherwise working strand, the remaining bulbs could be experiencing excess voltage that may shorten their lifespan.
How to Fix Christmas Lights When Half the String Is Out
If only half a strand is not working and the other half is fine, there’s probably a loosened or broken bulb. Make your way down, starting with the first unlit bulb, twisting them to check for looseness if it flickers and turns back on, great! If not, swap it for a new one and keep going down the strand of unlit bulbs, one at a time, and changing them for new bulbs. If your bulbs are non-removable and half of your strand is out, you may have a deeper issue with the wiring – or your light set may be at the end of its life, and it’s time for you two to part ways.
If the Whole Strand Is Out
If you have a dead series of lights, a few things could be wrong. First – to be sure – try plugging it into another outlet somewhere else in the house. If it still doesn’t work, it’s probably a loose or broken bulb. It can also be a faulty fuse. Most string lights feature two tiny fuses inside the plug. Typically, the original box comes with a replacement fuse or two. To swap a fuse, take a flathead screwdriver (or small pliers), and slide the cover open. Then gently take out the fuse and change it with the new one.
Try plugging it in. If you need more than one replacement fuse, they are typically available at most hardware stores everywhere.
Repair Tools That Might Help
Unless you’re swapping a single burned-out bulb from an otherwise perfectly working strand, hunting down the culprit bulb that exterminated your whole strand is tedious work. Enters a light tester – like the one from Light Keeper Pro, is simple to operate and will save you a lot of precious time. Replacement bulbs and fuses are also recommended when the work gets too dull— just make sure they match your particular type of strand.
Preventing Undesirable Tangles
Detangling a string of Christmas lights is a special kind of torture. Unless you’re a detangler extraordinaire who never passes on a challenge, you could be at those tangles for hours. To make matters worse, the constant pulling on the string will only damage the bulbs further.
Christmas Hack: Save yourself some time next year and prevent another extreme entanglement by winding them around a piece of cardboard. Just cut a small hole to stick the plug through, wrap the string of lights around the cardboard, and then stick the other end through the same hole. Voila, you’ve just repurposed some old cardboard and gifted yourself early relief.
It happens more often than you think – half of your Christmas lights suddenly quit working. Or, worst of all, you plug in an entire set of light strings, and they all turn on and then go dark.
Remember that inexpensive strings of lights aren’t made to be durable. So, at the end of the festivities, it’s essential to take them down with caution.
Christmas tip: Avoid pulling too hard on the wires. A broken socket, a loose bulb, or compromised wire is all it takes for the strand to stop working. After taking down the lights, plug them in the socket to make sure they haven’t been damaged in the process. Proper storage is key to their continued success.
Pressing them up into a ball and cramming them into a box will almost guarantee they won’t shine next holiday season. Furthermore, keep in mind that most holiday light bulbs have short lifespans – about 1,000 to 1,500 hours. This indicates the lights are designed to last one to three years, depending on usage.
If you’re looking for longer-lasting lights, Newer style LED (light-emitting diode) lights are your best bet – they last ten times longer than traditional Christmas lights.