How to Prevent Christmas Lights From Tripping When it Rains

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Decorating the exterior of your home with colorful Christmas lights is one way to celebrate the holiday season. But outdoor Christmas lights might trip the circuit breaker when it rains. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should use lights labeled for exterior use; however, if lights trip anyway, there are additional steps that can be done to help prevent this from occurring.

Things You'll Need

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
  • Electrical tape
  • Plastic wrap or plastic bag
  • Outdoor waterproof receptacle cover

Step 1

Plug the Christmas lights into your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), or outdoor outlet. Wrap Teflon tape (electrical tape) securely and carefully around the plugs, completely coating the plug to prevent water from getting in and effectively creating a water-tight seal. (You may have to wrap the tape around several times to accomplish this.) This must be done for each receptacle that is exposed to the elements.

Step 2

Alternatively (instead of using electrical tape), use plastic wrap or a plastic bag instead to cover the receptacles. (The Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, Fire Department recommends using electrical tape to securely and safely seal off the ends of the plastic bag.) This must be accomplished using good quality plastic wrap to ensure that the wrap sticks and creates a watertight seal.

Step 3

Outdoor waterproof receptacle covers can be purchased from your local hardware store and are available in many sizes. They work best if you are plugging in your lights all into the same area. Plug all lights in securely to the GFCI outdoor outlet. Secure the cover over the receptacle according to package directions. This will create a waterproof seal and will prevent rainwater from entering the plug or outlet.

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Tips & Warnings

  • The Wellsboro Fire Department recommends wrapping a plastic bag around areas where strands of Christmas lights are plugged together, securing the bag with electrical tape.

References

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