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Electrical Wire and Cable

Timer Control for Outdoor Christmas Lights

How can outdoor holiday lights be wired on a grounded timer into a GFCI receptacle? How to Put Outdoor Christmas Lights on a Timer Switch.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

Hooking Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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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!

More about wiring Christmas Lights to a GFCI Outlet Circuit
How to Wire GFCI Outlets
GFCI Wiring

Home Automation
Home Automation

Home Safety Tips


Great home safety ideas during holiday and anytime.

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book
Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

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.

More articles about Outdoor Christmas Lights and Home Electrical Wiring:
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

7 Responses to “Timer Control for Outdoor Christmas Lights”
  1. 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

  2. charles nolan says:

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

  3. 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?

  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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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,

  7. Kevin Fekety says:

    Thank You Very Much,