Christmas Light Troubleshooting

Christmas time, night

Christmas Light

Don’t let tangled up wires or burnt out bulbs bring out the Grinch in you. We’ve got foolproof solutions to your Christmas light conundrums.

There’s something about the glow of holiday lights that makes me feel all warm and toasty on the inside, even in the heart of winter. Hanging lights is a project that, for most DIYers, is fairly easy to do, even outdoors in the cold. But let’s face it: the preparation can really burn you out — literally.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent each holiday season cursing at an enormous mass of tangled strings of lights, trying to figure out where to start. And it’s not like you have anyone to blame but yourself. Tangles happen when you don’t put away Christmas lights properly the year before. Sure, string lights never look as neat and tidy as they did when they were in the package, just like your fitted sheet never does fold quite as neatly after first use. But there are ways that you can minimize the headache of de-tangling lights for Christmases yet to come.

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Untangling Christmas Lights

First, locate the plug (it’s chunky so it should be easy to spot) and use it as your guide. Gently work the plug in and out of the wires, unwinding the strands little by little as you go. Don’t let go of the plug, and don’t pull too hard, as you can damage the lights. As you untangle, keep the lines straight and lay them out on the floor or wrap them around your arm from hand to elbow (like a hose).

Locating a Burnt Out Bulb in Christmas Lights

Even though your lights are now untangled, you’re not completely out of the woods yet. You’re bound to find at least one — or a series — of burnt out lights on your string. Since Christmas lights are wired together, one bad bulb can cause electricity to stop flowing properly, and it can look like you have a series of bad bulbs when, in fact, it’s just one bad apple causing the problem.

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You best bet is to check for burnt out bulbs before you decorate by plugging them in indoors and giving the string a once-over. Sometimes, you can spot the bad bulbs without even plugging them in; burnt out bulbs are usually dark in the center, almost black. Other times, a bad bulb is not so easy to spot. There are a few options to help you locate the bad seed. The Light Keeper PRO is a product that gives the bulb a jolt of electricity, which can re-complete the circuit making the dead bulb easier to locate.

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