There's nothing more festive than decorating your home with twinkling, colorful Christmas lights. But festivity quickly turns to annoyance when holiday lights won’t stay on. Keep reading to learn what to do if your Christmas lights fuse bulb keeps blowing.
Why Do Christmas Lights Blow Fuses?
Wires in holiday lights heat up as the electrical current increases. If the wires get too hot, they may melt or catch something on fire. Fuses prevent this from happening by opening the circuit (aka blowing) whenever the current surpasses a safe level.
When a fuse blows, the rest of the lights on the strand also go out. That’s because the full strand is powered by just one (or sometimes two) fuse bulb. The National Fire Protection Association reports that 44% of Christmas tree fires ignite due to faulty lighting. Without fuse bulbs, the risk of fire would increase.
Steps to Replace a Blown Fuse Bulb
In most modern Christmas lights, it's fairly easy to replace a blown fuse bulb. Here's how an electrician would remove and replace the fuse:
- Unplug the lights.
- Open the fuse cartridge. This is usually behind a small door on the plug, which you can slide open with your thumb or a flathead screwdriver.
- Remove the fuse bulb(s). There will be one or two. Use a screwdriver to gently pop out each bulb.
- Insert new fuse bulbs. Most Christmas lights come with replacement fuses, and you can also buy spare ones at a local electronics store. Gently place the new bulbs inside the fuse sockets. Close the door.
- Test the lights by plugging the strand back into the outlet. Your Christmas lights should light up, but if they don't, look at the cords. If you notice any damage on the wires, replace the lights right away.
How to Stop My Christmas Lights from Blowing Fuses
No one wants their Christmas lights to blow a fuse. But if you connect too many lights to one power source, you'll probably overload the circuit, popping a breaker in your electrical panel in the process. Here's how an electrician would recommend installing your Christmas lights:
- If you want to install several strands together, use several power outlets. Overheated outlets and wires are the main reasons for blown fuse bulbs. Adding dedicated circuits and GFCI outlets, especially for exterior holiday lighting, can help prevent this problem.
- For the same reason, limit the use of extension cords. Connecting too many extension cords will likely overload the outlet.
- Don't use indoor-designated cords outdoors. These cords do not have the insulation and durability required to be used safely outside.
- Disconnect chains of light strands that exceed the manufacturer's recommendation. While you can connect several strings of lights together, there is a limit. Sometimes the limit is five strands, but other brands may recommend connecting fewer.
- Install a timer to reduce how much power you use each day. Operating your Christmas lights for shorter durations will prevent overheating and give the circuit a chance to cool down.
- Replace worn-out strings of lights. Toss stands if you notice frayed or damaged wires.
- Consider switching to low-voltage LED bulbs. These bulbs require less energy to operate, reducing the risk of blowing a fuse. And they'll save you money on your energy bill. Bonus!
Leave Holiday Lights Installation to the Pros
As the holidays near, you may not have the time or energy to hang Christmas lights and deal with blown fuse bulbs. There's no reason to tackle this job on your own. You can count on your local Mr. Electric® for professional holiday lighting installation. We'll transform your home into a winter wonderland. Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment or call (844) 866-1367 to get your home ready for the holidays.