Ways & How

how to fix Christmas tree lights

how to fix Christmas tree lights

The magical twinkle of Christmas lights will always be part of the holiday season. After all, it marks the coming of the Light of the World, the light that shines in the darkness. Christmas lights set the landscape ablaze with festive joy and good cheer. We set up Christmas lights year after year to mark our oneness with the world in celebrating Christmas. However, Christmas lights do not always work as they should. As quick as you are to put them on, you should also be quick to deal with how to fix Christmas tree lights. It is common knowledge that there is nothing more frustrating than going through all the trouble of putting lights on and plugging them in, only to discover they don’t work. But knowing what to do will put the world back to light. Er, right.

  1. Gather your lights, spare bulbs and fuses near an outlet where you can comfortably spread out the strands of light without being disturbed. You may also find masking tape useful.

  2. Observe safety. Keep pets and children away while you work.

    Be careful to unplug the lights before working on them.

  3. Untangle the strings of light one at a time. As you unpack, inspect the strands closely for any loose, missing or broken bulbs. Whenever you find one, remove it and mark the spot with a bit of masking tape so you won’t have a hard time finding it later. It is best to inspect and mark bulbs this way, rather than to inspect, replace bulbs, and inspect again. Press each light bulb firmly into its socket as you go. Also, inspect the wires for frays or broken connections. Sometimes rodents gnaw at wires, and sometimes wires come loose or are worn down by use. When you find broken wires, throw the strand away. You’re better off buying new lights than risking a fire by making do with worn down, old ones.

  4. After you have closely inspected the entire strand and made sure the wiring is sound, go back and replace the bulbs that you marked with masking tape.

  5. Plug it in and observe for several minutes to see if it is working correctly. If not, open the plug; find the fuse and check to see if it is clear. If it is busted, or appears burned, replace it with your spare fuse. You may have to check several as some lights have more than one fuse. Replace damaged fuse (you may have to find it by trial and error) and test again. If it works, set aside for use later, after you have tested the rest of the lights.

  6. If it still doesn't work, remove the new fuse and save it for use in another strand if needed. Set aside the non-working strand for proper disposal.

  7. Test the rest of your lights before using on your tree or elsewhere on your décor.

One way to ensure that your Christmas lights work next year is to pack them carefully away after the holiday is over. Don’t dump them in a tangled mess, and don’t squash them down to fit into the old package. Carefully wind the strands around a fat roll of newspaper to make sure the wires aren't snarled and pack loosely. No matter how well you take care of them, Christmas lights will die out eventually. Changing old lights for new ones have an advantage, though: they are easier to maintain and repair because they are made with “parallel circuits”. This means they will continue to light up in portions even if some of the bulbs don’t work. They are also safer to use due to relatively recent, more stringent safety standards. Whether or not they require you to know how to fix Christmas tree lights every year will then depend on how well you take care of your lights.


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