electricianOne excellent option when it comes to adding color and sparkle to the holiday season are Christmas lights. However, if you get too carried away, you can wind up overloading the circuit for the whole city just like Clark Griswold. Okay, perhaps not that extreme. But setting up holiday lights without giving a careful thought for the current rating of your circuit or perhaps a possible electrical overload can cause your circuit breaker to trip. Given that, expert electricians offer a few tips to help you safely install your Christmas lights and avoid circuit overloads.

Buying Christmas Lights

You will find various kinds of Christmas lights based on its colors, styles, sizes, and wattage. There are as many LED Christmas lights as incandescent lights on the market today but the former use only 20% of the amount of energy needed by the latter. LED lights will not just decrease your chances of short-circuiting your Christmas tree but they will likewise help you save money on your energy bill this December. The cost of using incandescent lights could be as much as 90 times that of LED lights.

Number Of Christmas Lights To Plug Into One Outlet

How many strands of Christmas lights you can plug into a single outlet depends on three important things:

  • The wattage of the holiday lights
  • The circuit’s amperage
  • The number of outlets that feed in a single circuit

You need to do some basic math to know how many lights you can plug into the outlets of your home safely. Although wattage can differ among various strands, most Christmas lights can operate at 120 volts. When you are calculating the strands’ amperage, you should multiply the wattage by 120. The next thing you have to do is to know how many strands you are allowed to plug into one circuit. You can work backward by using this equation: number of strands = circuit amperage/strand amperage.

Whenever you are doing calculations, never forget to consider that you might have connected different strands of holiday lights together, which will multiply the overall amperage, which will then lead to the next common question. To know the number of strands you can plug into one outlet, you should reference the electrical panel to know which outlets feed into the exact same circuit. Overloading one of these electrical outlets may lead to circuit overloads, just like a cumulative overload on all the electrical outlets on the circuit.

One final thing you need to remember according to an expert Myrtle Beach electrician is to never forget to consider if you are running anything else off that exact same circuit, like the floor lamps or a television that might be on the other side of the room. These extra electrical loads will affect the number of holiday lights that you can plug into a single circuit.

Number of Christmas Light Strands You Can Connect Without Causing An Overload

A lot of people are fond of connecting several strands of Christmas lights so they can cover their whole Christmas tree or huge sections of the exterior of their home. That is all well provided that you take into account all these connections when you are calculating your outlet’s electrical capacity. If you have linked six strands of 20 watts holiday lights together, you are actually feeding 120 watts into the outlet.

Number of Outlets You Should Use To Plug The Lights Into

It might seem efficient to string the strands of the holiday lights end to end and then plug the last strand into the outlet. But, if possible, it is better to spread the strands between many different outlets to decrease the electrical load that is placed on any single outlet and prevents circuit overload from Christmas lights.

You should also plug your Christmas lights into power strips that are surge protected instead of outlets. These devices are made to protect home appliances from getting damaged from an electrical surge. Although your circuit breaker will assist in stopping an influx of power when detected, a surge protector can provide you with another layer of defense because it will protect appliances linked to the circuit from the damage that may be caused by voltage spikes. These occurrences could be caused by a circuit overload.

The truth is unless you overload the circuit for the whole city just like Griswold, then you are most likely not at risk of circuit overload from holiday lights. Most circuits at home can carry up to 20 amps and that means you can plug at least 90 strands of LED lights into one circuit before you reach out the tripping point. But, it is also an excellent idea to know how the electrical load you are putting on your electrical outlets.

Call MB Electrician Pros for all your electrical needs.

MB Electrician Pros
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Areas Served: Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest, Conway, Surfside Beach, Socastee


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Sue White
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