hang too many lights into the same extension cord or light strand. Too many
lights plugged into the same power source can cause your lights to fail. Check
the label on your extension cord to see how much power (measured in watts or
amps) the cord is rated to handle, and then check the labels on your lights to
see how much power each bulb or strand consumes, and be sure to not exceed the
rating of your cord. Generally, manufacturers recommend that no more than three
strands of lights be connected together or supplied by one extension cord.
2. Use a proper outdoor, weatherproof outlet. The
power for your outdoor light display should come from a ground fault circuit
interrupter (GFCI) outlet. These outlets are designed to disconnect a circuit
if it senses a current leakage or a short circuit. Current electrical codes
require you to make sure your GFCI outlet also features a watertight cover that
allows the outlet to remain covered even with a cord plugged into it. If your
house does not currently have an outdoor GFCI outlet, a qualified electrician
can install one for you.
3. Make sure your lights and extension cords
are rated for outdoor use. Indoor lights and cords are more likely to break
down when exposed to bad weather. Choose lights that have met national industry
standards – these lights will feature laboratory labels on their packaging to
prove they’ve been tested. Two reputable laboratories to look for are UL or ETL.
Also, keep your connections above ground, snow and water.
4. Use the proper outlet adaptors. If you
are plugging in a three-prong cord, make sure you are plugging it into a three-prong
outlet. If you are using an adaptor, make certain it is rated for use with your
cord and, like your cord, rated for outdoor use.