How To Decide Whether Christmas Lights Are Worth Fixing

How To Decide Whether Christmas Lights Are Worth Fixing

Ashley Poskin
Nov 18, 2014
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Without fail, every year I end up with half lit (no, this has nothing to do with egg nog) strands of christmas lights. It doesn't seem to matter if I safely store them away, or throw them haphazardly in a bag, they refuse to ever be on the same work schedule.

Repairing Christmas lights is not particularly difficult, but I wouldn't say that it's easy either. We all want to be responsible with our things—no one wants to just rush out and buy something new when we can fix the old—but if you aren't already armed with basic electrician tools, is it really the more responsible decision?

Before you decide, try these steps to help you figure out exactly what you want to do:

Diagnose the issue. Do you have a bad bulb, or is this something more serious? Smaller strands of lights are wired in series (the electrical current must be able to pass through each bulb to illuminate the set), so if one bulb is out, it's a fairly easy fix.

Most often you'll get lucky and find the faulty bulb by working your way through the strand, wiggling each bulb to see if any are loose. If you find the loose bulb, gently push it back into place. If this doesn't work, things could get tricky.

At this point you have two options: Purchase a new strand of lights OR Purchase a thingumajig like this light repair tool. The light repair tool will allow you to fix a shunt, test the voltage, and check the fuse. Read the manual very carefully and as always, proceed with caution.

When it comes to Christmas lights, do you fix or replace?

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