Here are a few tips for managing your Christmas Lights collection:
· Purchase a couple of packets of new bulbs along with the lights.
Manufacturers seem to redesign the connectors each couple of years, making the string redundant if you don’t have the matching spares.
They aren’t cheap (nearly as expensive as a new string of lights!) but they help to cut down on environmental waste by not needing to throw out whole sets.
· Untangle last year’s light sets, and stretch them out (if you haven’t already done this last year before you packed them away!) Check for frayed cords, exposed copper wire, blackened or melted bases, broken or loose bulbs. Don’t plug them in yet. Throw away the lights if there’s anything wrong with them other than broken or loose bulbs.
· Start by establishing which run of lights is out. Begin working with a new bulb and replace the first light along the section. If this does not solve the problem, take the new bulb and move it along to the next spot. At some point, the dead section will come alive.
· Remove loose bulbs from their sockets. Tighten them by bending the two copper wires on the sides of the lamp base so they are straight, pulling the bulb further into the lamp base, then folding the wires flat along the sides of the lamp base again. Don’t replace bulbs with higher voltage bulbs or your light string could overheat and cause a fire. That’s why it’s useful to purchase spares.
· Remove broken bulbs from their bases. Carefully insert the replacement bulb into the lamp base.
· Plug the string into the wall outlet. Check for any additional blown bulbs. Unplug light string and replace these as well. If your entire light string does not light up, you will have to replace the fuse, or purchase a new set.
At the end of the season, take the string and wind them around a piece of sturdy cardboard with slots cut out to hold the strands. This will stop them tangling so that you won’t have to struggle next year!
It doesn’t have to look cool, just function well!