Electrical Wiring for Outdoor Christmas Lights
How can I control my Christmas lights from a switch? How to Wire a Switched Outlet to Control Your Christmas Lights, The basics for installing a switch controlled outlet for Christmas holiday lights.
Christmas Lights Controlled by a Switch
Electrical Question: How can I control my Christmas Lights from a Switch?
I Want to Control My Christmas Lights Using the Following Method:
- I want to install electrical wiring for a switched, end run GFI outlet so I can plug in some Christmas lights.
- There is an existing outlet 30′ away from where I want to install the switched outlet.
- The existing outlet controlled by a new single pole switch.
- The switched outlet to be protected for Ground Fault GFI.
How should this be wired?
This electrical question came from: Steve, a Homeowner from Anaheim, California.
Thanks for your electric wiring question Steve.
Electrical Wiring for Christmas Lights
Application: Switch Control for Christmas Lights.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Depending on the home circuit wiring for this application.
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 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 to Wire a Switched Outlet to for your Christmas Lights
Control Christmas lights from a switch or use a wireless control, an easy to do project with parts that are available at most hardware stores.
Example: The Basics of Installing a Switch Controlled Outlet for Christmas Holiday Lights
- Select the outlet that will be used for the Christmas lights.
- Intercept the electrical circuit power at the existing outlet.
- Install a type-NM cable from the outlet to the desired switch location to create a switched loop.
- From the intercepted power location, the switched power is installed to the desired Christmas light outlet using approved wiring methods and ground fault protection.
- If the intercepted power location is outdoor, then a weather resistant GFCI Receptacle outlet should be installed. The following are some options to consider:
- Weather Resistant GFCI Receptacle.
- NOTE: Weather Resistant cover is required.
- Extension Cord sets with GFCI Protection.
- Weather Resistant GFCI Receptacle.
- For automated control for the lights, you may also consider installing a Wireless Remote Switch which could save you a lot of time and money.
- Another option for automatic light control would be to install a programmable time switch for automatic on and off control capability.
- Keep in mind that all of the outdoor wiring should be installed using approved weatherproof and rain tight materials for each specific device.
- The electrical materials to be installed must be designed according to electrical codes as they apply to your specific application.
- Electrical wiring for projects must be installed with a permit and be inspected according to your local building department.
- NOTE: Electrical wiring projects such as this are best installed by a licensed electrical contractor.
More about Home Electric Wiring for Christmas Lights
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
- Wiring Diagram GFI
- The features and benefits of GFCI outlets and receptacles will give you a clear understanding of the importance why these safety devices are required by code to help protect you and your family against accidental electrical shock hazards.
- Electrical Wire for the Home
- Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
For more information about GFCI Wiring
GFCI Wiring Outlets
- GFCI Wiring
- This list of articles will help you learn about the features and benefits provided by GFI and GFCI Receptacles and how they are wired.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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Dave, For Christmas light connections I’m thinking about a box of some sort to put extension cord junctions to keep it dry during rain and snowfall. Is there something on the market like this? Thanks
Jack, that’s a great idea. The only products that I have seen would be a stationary extension cord reel similar to a garden hose reel and a cord bucket. Both of these were open buy I suppose the bucket could have the cover put in place. It would be great to make something similar to a small dog house where the roof would have a hinge on one side and so you could access the cords on the inside.
I have a hanging Christmas “angel ” with 10 small lights which has two, 1 amp fuses in the plug. I can’t find any fuses to fit this old fixture. Can I cut the fixture plug off and splice the fixture wires to a Christmas tree plug that has 2, 3 amp fuses in it and the fixture work safely?
If the Christmas tree plug is for existing lights or decorations then by adding the angel lights may cause the 3amp fuses to blow out. The fuses are rated for the specific product to protect the wiring from overheating and creating a potential fire hazard. The concern here is to maintain the original fuse protection for each component and not alter the original design. So in theory, your idea would work, however it may create a safety issue as described.
Have a Merry Christmas and Be Safe,
We are wanting to install white Christmas lights on a tree in the middle of the yard year-round. We really don’t want an extension cord lying across our lawn all the time. We have low-voltage landscape lights and wiring to the planting bed where the tree to be lighted is. Is there such a thing as being able to tie into the low voltage landscape wiring with a low voltage Christmas light strand?
If the Christmas Lights are the standard type with a 120 volt plug, then you will need 120 volt power from a GFCI outlet. Low voltage landscape lights are very different, so connecting to low voltage is not an option, however connecting to the 120volt power source which feeds the low voltage lights would be OK.