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Troubleshooting Problems with Christmas Lights


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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Alsip Nursery christmas lights on home
Alsip Nursery christmas lights on home

Even with the most state-of-the-art Christmas lights, it’s common to encounter some problems after a few years of use. After all, they’re delicate bulbs, and those wires can get pretty tangled in storage. But don’t worry—there are plenty of easy fixes for repairing faulty or flickering Christmas lights to make them last for many more holiday seasons!

If Your Christmas Lights Won’t Turn On​

There are a few things to check before you run out and buy more lights. Go through these steps to figure out the problem with your incandescent Christmas lights:

christmas light fuses Alsip nursery

Check the Fuses​

On the plug of your Christmas lights, there should be a little trap door. If you slide that door open, you’ll find a small compartment filled with one or possibly multiple fuses. Check if any fuses have blown, and switch out the old ones with replacement bulbs in the same size and rating. If you can’t tell if the fuse is blown, then switch out the fuses one at a time with new ones, each time checking to see if the lights start working again.

Test the Wall Circuit​

It might not be your Christmas lights that are to blame! First, check the main breaker panel in your home to make sure none of the breakers have tripped. If all is well there, the circuit in your wall might be to blame. Use a circuit tester to see if it’s functional, or plug in a different appliance to see if it works.

Alsip Nursery Christmas light replacement bulbs

Inspect Each Bulb​

By hand, gently check that each bulb is securely in its socket—screw in any loose bulbs. Burnt-out bulbs will have a darkened cast on the glass near the filament and will require replacing. Remember to use bulbs of the same size and voltage rating.

Inspect the Strand​

Check along the wire to see if there is any visible damage. That being said, there are often some “wires” within the strand that aren’t actually electrical—they may be included for structural or aesthetic reasons. If your strand does clearly have a tear with electrical wires poking through, it is unfortunately beyond repair. However, you can remove all the bulbs and keep those as spares for another set!

testing Christmas light currents Alsip Nursery

Test the Bulbs​

A lightbulb checker, like our Light Keeper Pro, is an incredibly handy tool for identifying and fixing problem bulbs in incandescent Christmas lights. Each bulb has its own shunt, and most Christmas light problems are caused by problems in the shunts, which direct the flow of electricity. The Light Keeper Pro sends a pulse through your light set, immediately identifying the problem bulb and fixing the defective shunt.

How Do You Fix Christmas Lights When Half the String is Out?​

Each time a bulb burns out on your Christmas lights, those shunts help redirect the power so the other half of the strand won’t stop working. The thing is, this means slightly more power surges through each bulb every time another one breaks. This is why it’s crucial to fix problem bulbs in Christmas lights as quickly as possible. If you let too many of them burn out, then the power may overload one section of the strand, resulting in a major burnout.


You’ll need to replace every bulb in the strand if you’ve got a major burnout. The Light Keeper Pro will help identify which bulbs are functional and which need fixing!

Eventually, you will have to replace your Christmas lights, so if you’ve had the same set for several years and keep encountering problems, then it’s about time for something new! Alsip has the best Christmas lights in Frankfort and St. John for indoor and outdoor use. Whether you’d like traditional incandescent bulbs, LED string lights, or something totally wild and out of the ordinary, our holiday decor collection has plenty of colorful options!

The post Troubleshooting Problems with Christmas Lights appeared first on Alsip Home & Nursery.
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