If you have ever seen the holiday classic, Christmas Vacation, you surely remember the iconic image of what happened to Clark Griswold when he overloaded his home’s circuit. While you may not be able to screw things up as badly as Clark did, it is important that you stay mindful of your electrical system when putting up Christmas lights, as exceeding your circuit’s current rating could cause your breaker to trip. Keep reading for our guide to safely putting up holiday lighting, and make sure to call our Clackamas electricians at A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical this Christmas and beyond!
How to Prevent Circuit Overload in Your Home:
- Purchase Energy-Efficient LED Lights: While you may be partial to those old family Christmas lights, it’s much safer to upgrade to modern, energy-efficient LED lights. Not only do these reduce the chance of electrical fires, they also use a mere 20% of the energy regular Christmas lights use, ensuring your bills stay low and your circuit doesn’t get overloaded.
- Don’t Overload Your Outlets: While it’s generally safe to use many strands at once with modern Christmas lights, there is a limit you don’t want to overload your outlets. As a general rule, you should divide your circuit amperage by the amperage of your total amount of light strands. This will give you the number of light strands it is okay to run at one time. Most holiday lights operate at 120 volts, though you should also factor in the other devices that are running off of your circuit.
- Remember Your Connections: Most homeowners connect multiple strands of Christmas lights at once. If you want to decorate your home to the max, you can end up running six, seven, even eight strands into one outlet. However, it’s important to remember that if you do string together eight strands, you will have 160 total wattage plugged into one outlet. This can put your system at risk for a tripped circuit.
- Distribute Light Strands as Much as Possible: Per the last point, you may be tempted to string as many light strands together as possible, and then connect them to one outlet. Yet as we discussed above, this greatly increases the chance you will overload you’re your circuit breaker. If possible, you should distribute your light stands between multiple outlets to prevent this.
- Use Surge-Protected Power Strips: Power strips with surge protection are a much safer option for Christmas lights than traditional outlets. While your circuit breaker is designed to prevent electrical fires as a result of too much power, surge protectors are specifically made to ensure your devices never cause voltage spikes.
For more electrical safety tips, dial (503) 694-3396 now, or send us a message online. And from the A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical family to you, Merry Christmas!