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Is it time to replace your holiday lights?

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Nov 16, 2021 8:09:02 AM

Christmas light replacementDecorative outdoor lights for Halloween have become popular. Each year, I notice more lights and elaborate displays in my neighborhood. Once Halloween is over, many people switch them out for their Christmas lights.

Decorating your home for the holidays can be enjoyable. However, frustration can settle in quickly after plugging in a string of lights only to see half of them lit up or none at all.

If your lights aren’t working properly, here are some possible reasons why:

• A loose or missing bulb.

Usually, when a bulb burns out, the remainder of the lights will stay on because electricity still flows through them. However, if a bulb is missing or not tightly in its socket, it may not light up. Examine your lights to see if any bulbs are missing.

• Damaged wiring.

If none of the bulbs are missing from your string of lights, it’s likely the wiring may be damaged. Damage can occur due to:

Age. Incandescent lights can last four to six years. If you’ve been using them longer than that, it may be time for an upgrade.

Excessive pulling during set up or take down. Let’s face it, taking the tree down isn’t as much fun. Therefore, more excessive pulling may occur resulting in damage.

Unwanted rodents in your attic, basement, or other storage space. When cold weather arrives, rodents are looking for a nice warm place to spend the winter.       

• Blown fuse.

Have you seen spare fuses attached to your lights? Have you ever wondered what they’re for or where they go? If your lights go out after plugging them in, it may be because you’ve strung too many together and blown a fuse. Each plug that goes into the outlet has a small sliding door. If you gently pry it open, you may see a black fuse or broken glass. This means it’s time to replace it. Once you do that, the lights should go on. However, I’d suggest unplugging some light sets so this doesn’t happen again.

If you’re going to replace your incandescent lights with LED lights, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Beware of bargain LED lights.

If you come across LED lights that are incredibly inexpensive, buyer beware. While they may seem like a good purchase at the time, they may not last as long as you’d think or live up to your expectations.

2. They’re more expensive.

LED lights do cost more initially, but they also use less energy.

3. It’s a cool experience.

Small incandescent bulbs don’t get hot, but the bigger ones can. LED lights emit very little heat, so they’re always cool.

4. They’re long-lasting.

LED lights last significantly longer than incandescent lights. They also hold up well against frigid temperatures, so durability is a plus.

5. There’s safety in numbers.

For incandescent lights, it’s recommended that you don’t plug more than two strings of lights together. Numerous sets can be connected without causing problems if you're using LED lights. Always refer to your instructions for more details.

6. Bulbs can be replaced.

Just like incandescent lights, LED bulbs can be replaced.

7. There are more choices than before.

When LED lights first came out, they were a cool white light. Now warm colored whites are available, making your home feel warmer and cozier.

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

Topics: Holiday Safety

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