Christmas Lighting!

This time of year everyone is decorating for Christmas and often times trying to out do the neighbor or even just adding a little more each year. Unfortunately with this can come issues… tripping GFCI’s and breakers. A few things that will help with the frustration is to first try to switch over to LED light strings. LED strings pull less wattage than older strands of bulbs and thus more can be used on the same circuit. Second, make sure all cord ends and joints (where two strands or more plug together) are covered. You can use Saran wrap, something most people keep on hand, to wrap the joints and help keep them free from moisture and problems. (This particularly helps if you have a sprinkler system that comes on regularly and also helps with roof lighting when extension cords and such are in roof valleys and along the gutters.) Third and final tip would be that most homes have a single GFCI circuit, usually controlled or protected from a garage outlet, that protects all outside outlets. This means that all outside outlets and the few in the garage are usually on one single circuit, so if all the lighting is plugged in to one circuit you are more likely to overload it and pop breakers or trip GFCI’s, as most garage/outdoor circuits are only a 15 amp circuit or 1800 watts. This is plenty of power if nothing else is plugged in to the circuit, but if you have a fridge in the garage or other appliances or power tools this drops significantly. As a fridge will draw 800 watts or more. In Conclusion if you lean towards celebrating with a Griswald type Christmas light set up, you may want to think about adding a few dedicated circuits around the home, even outlets in the soffits on a switch or smart switch to come on when wanted. We would be happy to help you figure out how to get your Christmas lighting done safe and right. Hope this helps and have a safe and happy Holidays. From all of us to all of you Merry Christmas!!!