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Timer Control for Outdoor Christmas Lights


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Put Outdoor Christmas Lights on a Timer Switch: A GFCI device can protect a two wire strand of Christmas lights, so lets review how a GFCI device works while protecting outdoor Christmas lights and Holiday Display.

Controlling Outdoor Christmas Lights

Electrical Question: I have outdoor LED Christmas lights plugged into an outdoor extension cord, and everything works fine as long as I plug and unplug manually.

This electrical wiring question came from: Carol, a Homeowner from San Diego, California.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electric wiring question Carol.

How to Put Outdoor Christmas Lights on a Timer Switch

Application: Controlling Exterior Light with a Timer Control.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Depends on the circuit wiring that is required for your specific project.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester and a fiberglass or non-metal ladder.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools and work from a ladder.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit or power source, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

How a GFCI Outlet or GFCI Circuit Breaker Works

I hope this helps you. Have a Merry Christmas!

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

7 Responses to “Timer Control for Outdoor Christmas Lights”
  1. Kevin Fekety says:

    Thank You Very Much,

    Kevin

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Kevin,
    The indoor light timer should only be used for indoor applications. Outdoor environmental conditions may damage the timer and may create a hazardous condition. I would advise removing the timer and find an alternative means of control that is approved for outdoor applications.
    I hope this helps,
    Dave

  3. Kevin Fekety says:

    I have installed Christmas lights on my house and plugged them into an Indoor Lighting Timer Control that is plugged into a ceiling outlet on the front porch. The lights turn on at the set time but will not turn off. Once the lights turn on the timer dial will not advance. What am I doing wrong ?

    Thank You for your help.
    Kevin

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for the Make and model number of the timer switch, however I was unable to locate the item online, however here are my thoughts about your project: Typically timer switches are made to be installed indoors. The electrical wiring may lead to indoor or outdoor light fixtures. If you would like to have the timer switch located outdoor then it would need to be installed into a weather proof enclosure, unless the time switch specifically states that it is rated for outdoor use and the time switch is enclosed inside a weather proof housing or enclosure.
    Dave

  5. Bob Ruth says:

    I have an electric timer that I would like to use on Christmas outdoor lighting. The timer is described as being marketed by Toastmaster, Inc./Time Products Div., UL listed 159 B E 75984/1629039 Model No. 12-925, capacity 1875 watts, 15 amps/ 15 amps tungsten 1/3 h.p. motor/120 VAC 60HZ. The question is how safe is that for outdoor use during rain or snow? What precautions would you advise?

  6. charles nolan says:

    I would like to set up a electrical panel just for Christmas lites. How do I do that.

  7. charles nolan says:

    I would like to set up for Christmas lites next year. The way I do it now is out of house plugs and I keep tripping breakers.58N3