Ask a Pro: How to install Christmas lights the right way?

Cartoon Christmas lights against blue background

Q:  Our holiday lights kept tripping a breaker last year.  As we prepare to install our lights this year, how do we prevent that?

A:  First, let me state that if you have lighting that makes the Griswolds jealous, you need a licensed electrician to recommend a power strategy.  You do not want your holiday lights to cause a holiday fire.

For a more traditional lighting setup the trick is to distribute the load.  Do not connect all your lighting into a continuous string.  Typically no more than three strands should be connected.  Also, do not funnel all your holiday lighting back to a single outlet.  While it is convenient to use a single switch or outlet to manage the entire display, you were overloading it.  Instead, run a cord from another part of your home, hoping to tap into another circuit, to distribute the load.