How To Repair Faulty Christmas Lights

I think it is safe to assume that most people have experienced the frustration of spending an hour untangling their Christmas lights only to plug them in and find that they are not working. Non-functioning Christmas lights can be extremely frustrating to repair if you don’t have the right tools. Save yourself the frustration and buy a globe tester, they are really inexpensive and are sold online along with the Christmas lights and decor.

What You Will Need To Repair Your Christmas Lights

  • Light Bulb Tester
  • Possibly A Replacement Fuse
  • Possibly A Couple Of Replacement Bulbs

How To Repair The Christmas Lights

First Check The Fuse

Your first check should always be the fuse, this is usually hidden away in a small box near the plug or in the plug itself behind a plastic cover. Some larger strings of lights may have two or three fuses. Check the fuses for and darkening or blackened glass. In a working fuse, you should be able to see through the glass and see a thin silver or gold wire connecting the two silver end caps. If you can see the wire then the fuse has likely blown and needs to be replaced.

Test The Bulbs

After checking and replacing any blown fuses, check to see if the string now works. If the lights are still not working then one or more of the bulbs is likely blown. The easiest way to check the bulbs is with an inexpensive bulb tester although you can go through the string and replace each globe with a new one and try turning the string on to see if it works again. You run into trouble with this method if more than one bulb has blown as the string still won’t turn on.

Plug the string of lights into the power and turn them on. Now, depending on the type of tester, you need to either insert each bulb into a hole or hold the tester up against each bulb. The tester will then indicate with a sound or light whether the bulb works or not.

Swap out any bulbs which are faulty, turn off the power while swapping the bulb. Once your have worked through all of the bulbs on the string, power it on and all of the bulbs should light up.

Pack Your Lights Away Carefully

This year, pack your lights away carefully. The strings of lights used on trees are made inexpensively and are not very durable. Don’t pull hard or twist any of the wires and keep the bulbs reasonably well protected in storage. If possible, try to save the original packaging and pack them into this container when you are done with them rather than bundling them up and stuffing them into another container.

Next time you buy new lights, try to get the LED variety, these bulbs last much longer and are generally non replaceable and therefore a bit more reliable.

Do you have any tips and tricks for repairing or storing your Christmas lights? Let us know in the comments section below.

Cover Image: Christmas by Anthony Quintano used under CC BY 2.0
Michael Klements
Michael Klements
Hi, my name is Michael and I started this blog in 2016 to share my DIY journey with you. I love tinkering with electronics, making, fixing, and building - I'm always looking for new projects and exciting DIY ideas. If you do too, grab a cup of coffee and settle in, I'm happy to have you here.


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