How to Fix the Lights on a Prelit Christmas Tree

Fixing lights on prelit Christmas trees is often solved by replacing burned-out bulbs.
Image Credit: Tom Baker / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

The twinkling lights of your artificial Christmas tree add to the warm holiday ambiance in your home. When you plug in the tree and find the prelit Christmas tree lights not working, don't give up hope. With a little troubleshooting, you may find that it's a simple fix, and you can enjoy your beautiful tree for another holiday season.

Prelit Christmas Tree Lights Not Working

You've put your tree together and excitedly plugged it in, and then nothing happens – it's still dark. Before any drama ensues from your disappointed audience, try stepping on the on/off foot pedal. Many prelit trees have a simple on/off pedal, and you must be sure you've turned on the power to the tree. Also, check the wall switch to make sure it's in the on position.

Alas, if the tree is still dark, you'll have to do a little troubleshooting before you call the customer service line for advice on your self-help prelit Christmas tree repair service. Unplug the tree from the wall outlet and double-check all the connections. Make sure the plugs or prongs of the connectors are properly aligned and firmly attached to each other. Some brands require screwing the connectors together to ensure a secure connection.

If you removed a bulb and attached an animated ornament or other device in its place, try removing the item and replacing the bulb. This may solve the problem without any need for further troubleshooting.

More Troubleshooting Tips

If only one section of the tree is dark and you've checked the connections, take time to look at every bulb to make sure none are loose or missing. Check inside the box for any extra bulbs rattling around in the bottom and push down on each bulb to make sure it's solidly in its socket. If all the bulbs are intact, in place on the tree and not loose in the socket, then unplug the tree again.

If you find a damaged bulb, it must be replaced since it breaks the circuit, and the remaining bulbs won't light. Most manufacturers use simple push-in bulbs. Put on gloves, release the hook or latch on the side of the bulb and then pull the bulb out of its socket without twisting it. Grasp the new bulb gently, push it straight into the socket and lock it down with the hook or latch.

Burnt-out bulbs can cause overheating. While the remaining bulbs on the prelit tree will light, replace burnt-out bulbs as soon as possible with the replacement bulbs that came with the tree or a compatible bulb with the same type of connector.

Last But Not Least: Checking the Fuses

If you find your Lowe's or Costco Christmas tree lights not working, check the manufacturer's instructions carefully before boxing up the tree for a return. Most prelit trees have fuses inside the electrical plugs. Double-check that the tree is unplugged from the wall and then check each plug and connector for a blown fuse.

Unplug the cord from the wall. Open the fuse cover on top of the plug by sliding the cover toward the blades or prongs. Remove the fuse and replace it with the same type of fuse, generally a 5-amp 125-volt fuse, but verify the type by checking the instructions or calling the manufacturer. Do not use a different fuse or try to bypass it.

Repeat the process with the light string connectors. Slide open each plug to remove and check the fuse. Put the new fuse, often included with the tree, into the plug. Close the fuse cover by sliding it back over the opening.

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