How to Power Outdoor Christmas Lights?

It is time to decorate the exterior of your home, but you discover that you only have one outdoor outlet. What’s the best way to power your holiday lights outside?

Outdoor Christmas lights can be powered in a variety of ways.

Use existing external outlets
Use solar
Use battery power

To power your holiday lights, simply plug them into an outdoor outlet. However, this isn’t the only alternative. Let’s look at the possibilities.

Use Existing External Outlets

Outside electrical outlets should be noted as you prepare to install your lights. Lights should be plugged in at the following locations.

Instead of an outdoor outlet, an adaptor that screws into your porch light fixture can be used as an alternative solution.

Run an Extension Cord from Inside the Home

What if there isn’t an outside outlet? If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy-duty one. A window or garage extension cord can be used if there are no available electrical outlets or porch lights outside your home.

It’s easier to travel long distances with heavy-duty extension cords than with regular extension cords.

Extension cords designed for outdoor lighting often have multiple sockets and waterproof plugs built in.

A waterproof power stake and a heavy-duty outdoor extension cord could be used together. If you want your decorations to be turned on and off at a pre-determined time, some of these have photocells and timers built in. Various other power stakes are equipped with built-in speakers and can be used to play music.

Use Solar Lights or Panels

Solar is an excellent option if you want to decorate but don’t want the associated electricity bill. Solar-powered Christmas light strands come in a variety of styles and colors.

  • Traditional gumdrop style 
  • Rope Lights
  • Snowflake
  • Stars
  • Candy Canes
  • Water Drop

With these pre-assembled LED light and solar panel kits, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Color and pattern flash modes are common features of these lights. There are Bluetooth-enabled models that can dance along to music you stream from an app. What a great idea.

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If you need more power and the ability to use existing led light strands, a portable power system is an option. Solar panels, solar generators, and a slew of other options are available. In addition, they’re a good value. These battery packs can be used in an emergency or while out in the wilderness.

Using Batteries to Power Outdoor Lights

Yes, that’s exactly right. Your outdoor lights can be powered by batteries. The batteries for some light displays are already installed. Fairy lights, like Christmas lights, come in a wide variety of colors and designs. Battery-powered lights can be used to decorate moving objects, which is a fun idea.

  • People
  • Cars
  • Bicycles (with care)
  • Sleds

12 Volt Batteries Can be Used

Batteries and an inverter are required. Using rechargeable lithium batteries or an inverter-connected car battery, Christmas lights can be powered. There are a variety of 12-volt batteries available on the market. It’s stated on Battery Stuff that there are five different types of batteries.

  • Flooded batteries
  • Sealed Batteries
  • Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries
  • Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries
  • Gel Batteries

Vehicles often have flooded batteries. To keep the battery from drying out, they have access areas where the user can add distilled water.

However, the user can’t see the inside of the sealed battery, which is the same as a flooded battery.

Virtually all lead batteries are sealed, including VRLA or valve-regulated lead batteries. Hydrogen and oxygen gases can safely escape through valves on these devices.

AGM batteries, which are a more advanced version of VRLA batteries, provide better performance.

Gel batteries are extremely delicate and must be charged using a charger designed specifically for them in order to avoid overcharging. Trolling motors, deep-cycle recreational vehicles, and wheelchairs are all common places to find them.

If you want to use the battery and inverter combination for your lights, connect the inverter to the battery with the cables you selected, and then connect your lights to the inverter’s outlets.

Safety Precautions when Using Electricity and String Lights

At all times, we must exercise caution when dealing with electrical currents. Outdoors, where rain and snow are a possibility, this is even more important. Using electricity comes with a number of risks.

  • Fire
  • Electrical shock
  • Death
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Every year, we hear about house fires caused by Christmas lights. A person or animal could be electrocuted by a poorly grounded cord with just a spark from faulty wiring. This could be lethal, depending on the amount of voltage emitted.

Prevention is your best precaution 

  • Use waterproof, heavy-duty extension cords
  • Low voltage decorative lights
  • Do not overload your electrical outlets 
  • Do not place cords where they can be damaged
  • Turn off Christmas lights 

Extension cords should be waterproof and heavy-duty if you plan on using them. Although they are large and heavy, they are extremely well insulated and can withstand higher voltages without overheating.

The Don’ts of Extension Cords

Place your cords in an area where they won’t get damaged or cause harm to anyone. Close the doors and windows but not on them. This could cause the wires in the cord to be damaged. ‘ Do not place them on driveways or sidewalks, as this could cause accidents. You can protect an extension cord from damage by using cable ramps.

Even though Christmas lights and cords are waterproof, they should never be left out in the elements. A small amount of water could cause a short and set off a blaze. An extension cord and the cord to your decorations can both be protected with a safety cover that clips on.

Pay Attention to Wattage

Farm and Fleet remind us not to overcrowd our outlets with products. Locate the circuit breaker for the outlet(s) you want to use for your Christmas lights in your home’s electrical breaker box. Look at that circuit and see what’s going on. When you turn off the breaker, you’re cutting off that circuit.

  • Overhead lights
  • Appliances
  • Televisions

You can then check the wattage of the bulbs or appliances that are on the circuit. Add up the wattage. Check out the decorations that you intend to use with this outlet. Incorporate it into the existing circuit. The amps consumed can be calculated by multiplying the total by 120.

Remember to Turn Your Lights Off

Display lights should be turned out during the day and at night if you are not home. When you’re not home, make sure they’re off to reduce the risk of a fire. It also lowers your utility costs.

Check for Heat

Be on the lookout for hot spots like light strings, outlets, and cords. Using newer LED lights will keep you cooler and use 98–99% less electricity than using older lights.

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Before hanging an older light fixture, make sure the cord is free of damage and the bulbs are not loose or missing. Do not use them if they have been tampered with. Before hanging the lights, make sure all of the bulbs are present and working properly.

Safety first

  • The best way to get your lights up high is to use a ladder.
  • If you’re going to hang lights from the top of the ladder, make sure it’s on a solid, level surface and that you can get to the highest point without standing on the top step.
  • While you are on the ladder, ask another adult to hold the ladder for you.

How to Decorate Trees & Plants

Festive Christmas trees and other plants and trees in the garden can be given a festive sparkle by string and rope lights. No additional supplies are required to decorate a tree in the same manner as an indoor Christmas tree.

Step 1

Take your length of lights, and find the end. This will be the first light you place on the tree.

Step 2

Start from the top and work your way down the tree – you can either work around the tree or zig-zag across the front if this is the only part that will be seen. Ideally, you’ll want to space the lights out evenly from top to bottom.

Step 3

Once you reach the end of the bulbs, wrap the cable loosely around a lower branch to secure and run the rest of the cable to the socket.

Step 4

Take a step back and look at your lights. Check that the bulbs are evenly spaced and that there are no hanging cables in the wrong places.

Step 5

When you’re happy with the spacing of your lights, you’re ready to switch them on! Take a step back and admire your work.

You Can Power Outdoor Christmas Lights

Those Christmas lights can be powered from the outside. Using solar power and batteries, this can be done without relying on the grid for electricity. With LED lights and timers, energy consumption and costs are reduced.

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