There are few things more annoying than spending time on creating the perfect holiday scene, only to turn on the lights and have them not work. Light problems are inevitable. Here are a few tips for troubleshooting lighting issues.

Identifying the Problem

Identify the problem. The first thing you should do when you experience problems with your lighting is to identify the problem. Do you have one or multiple burnt out lights? Is a whole section or light string not working? 

Here are a few steps you can take to identify the problem. 

  1. First, try unplugging the lights for a few seconds and plug them in again. 
  2. Plugin one set of Christmas lights you know work into the other through the plug or adapter. If it doesn’t work, then the problem is likely the fuse. 
  3. If you find that the fuse is the problem, then purchase a Christmas light bulb tester or voltage detector online or from your local hardware store to scan over the area of broken lights. The bad bulb will be in the area that does not receive electricity. In older mini-lights, one lousy bulb can cause a whole section to go out. However, the beauty of more modern LED lights is that, even if one bulb burns out, it won’t affect the entire light section. 

To replace a bulb, you must first unplug the lights, so you don’t get electrocuted. Then, you want to pull the plug from the base. Replace the broken light with a new one. If needed, straighten the wires and slide it into the base, and insert it back into the light set. 

If it does appear that the problem lies in the fuse, then you will need to replace it. Light sets have two sets of fuses in the male plug, and luckily they are easy to replace. 

First, make sure your new fuse has the same size and amp rating as the fuse you are replacing. 

Here’s a quick reference:

  • Commercial Grade Light Sets: 5 amp
  • C-Sets: 7 amp 
  • Mini-Lights: 3 amp

It’s important too that you check the maximum connection/voltage with the light product to make sure you didn’t blow the lights with too much power initially. This information should be indicated on the product packaging, but if you aren’t sure, you can use a multimeter or another device to measure voltage. 

Once you’re sure of all this, slide open the plug hatch, pop out the fuse, and slide in the new fuse with a flat head screwdriver, small pliers, or a similar tool. Plug it in, and your lights should be shining!

For Christmas lights and electric décor in outdoor environments, bad weather can sometimes trip the GFI circuits, which is the device that protects us from being electrocuted. Wait until the bad weather is over before resetting the circuits and the make sure no light bulbs, light strands, or connecting ends are lying in the water. If they are, let everything dry first.

Want to Learn More About Troubleshooting Lighting Issues?

As you’ve learned, most lighting issues are easily fixable. Hopefully, by using these tips, you can minimize whatever light issues may be darkening your holiday spirits. If you any other questions about lights, please feel free to contact us. Our lighting experts would be happy to help.