While strands of Christmas lights may only be used for a few weeks each year by most people, you understandably want to get the most mileage out of them. Regardless of whether you have indoor, outdoor or indoor/outdoor strands, they may develop several common issues with regular use over the years. Before you toss out a broken strand of lights and spend money on replacement strands, consider trying some of these quick-fix solutions.
Replace a Blown Fuse
If the entire strand of lights is not functional, the likely cause may be a blown fuse. This is a simple problem to fix and can be addressed within a minute or two. Most light strands are sold with a replacement fuse in an accompanying plastic bag connected to the strand or in the box. Otherwise, you may purchase replacement fuses at a local store that sells Christmas lights. To replace the fuse, simply slide open the fuse portal as indicator on the plug. Pop out the damaged fuse, and insert the replacement fuse for a quick fix.
A Damaged Lightbulb
Depending on the type of strand that you are working with, a single damaged lightbulb may cause the entire strand to stop working. On the other hand, it may simply result in one unlit bulb. If you have replaced the fuse and the light strand is still not functional, start at the first lightbulb in the strand. Insert a new, functional bulb into this socket. If the strand does not light up, proceed down the strand checking each socket one by one. If only one bulb is not lit, you can easily replace that one bulb.
A Corroded Light Socket
As you walk through the previous steps, you may notice that one or more of the light sockets has developed corrosion. This can prevent the lightbulb from connecting properly for illumination. Before cleaning away the corrosion, ensure that the light strand is unplugged and that no electrical current is running through it. You can then use a small brush or file to remove the corrosion. Gently blow away any debris left behind before inserting the bulb.
A Damaged Socket
There may be instances when a specific socket is damaged and cannot be repaired. You may be inclined to toss out the strand at this point, but this may not be necessary. With the stand unplugged and with no electrical current in the wire, you may use a wire cutter to snip away the damaged socket. You can then pair the exposed wires together with a silicone sealant designed specifically for this purpose. Keep in mind that you should only remove one or two damaged sockets per strand. Removing any more sockets may result in a voltage overload. If additional sockets are damaged, it may be time to replace the strand.
You can see that fixing broken Christmas lights is relatively easy to do and may cause little or no money. However, when working with any electrical features like light strands, you should always proceed cautiously 12.