We know how outdoor string lights a popular option these days for lighting up outdoor areas such as patios, decks, and gardens. These lights are made to withstand the elements while also adding ambiance to any outdoor setting. Outdoor string lights come in a variety of styles, such as vintage, modern, and traditional, to accommodate a wide range of tastes and decor styles.
Many outdoor string lights are energy efficient, making them a good choice for environment-friendly homeowners and designers. Outdoor string lights are commonly used for special events such as weddings and parties. These are mostly seen hung from trees, poles, or eaves. Outdoor string lights are a practical and stylish way to light up any outdoor space due to their versatility and durability.
If you're thinking of adding outdoor string lights to your garden, here are a few things to consider. Read them below.
We listed down a few things to consider before buying string lights for your outdoor space.
Power Source: Outdoor string lights will require a power source. It can be either an outlet or a battery pack. Before installing the lights, always bear in mind the location as well as the availability of a power source.
Weather resistance: When choosing string lights for your outdoors, look for those that can withstand the elements, such as rain and wind. That way, your outdoor lights will last longer and continue to work properly.
Safety: Make sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and use proper tools when installing outdoor string lights. Be careful not to overload electrical outlets.
Style: Consider your garden's overall design and select outdoor string lights that complement it. There are numerous styles available, ranging from vintage to modern, so you should be able to find something that suits your preferences.
Maintenance: Outdoor string lights will require cleaning and maintenance to keep functioning properly. This could include changing out bulbs and cleaning the strings to keep them from becoming tangled or damaged.
Here’s another good question from our first-time buyer, “how to hang outdoor string lights?”
When summer rolls around, we spend most of our time outside on the patio or deck. From barbecues to morning coffee, the backyard is where we can bring a little ambience with some outdoor string lights.
Wondering how to hang string lights in your backyard? Follow our easy step-by-step instructions to install string lights along your deck, porch, or patio.
How to Hang Outdoor String Lights?
These are the things that you will need:
String lights and bulbs
Wood-bearing drill (smaller than your screw eyes)
Mini metal carabiners
Outdoor extension cord
Outlet timer (if desired)
Select a location: Decide where you want to hang the lights and take into account the availability of a power source. The lights can be hung from trees, poles, or eaves, or they can be freestanding, such as a lamp post.
Plan the layout: Measure the area where the lights will be hung and calculate the number of strings required. Consider the overall effect you want to achieve and plan the lighting placement accordingly. Mark out the rough placement of each light on your deck's wood overhang with a ladder and a pencil.
Install Screw Eyes: Use a drill to make pilot holes in the wood structural supports. Put a screw eye into each pilot hole. The number of screw eyes you need to install outdoor string lights will depend on the way you plan to hang them. Install a screw eye for each light when hanging strands of lights. This will ensure that the light strands stretch taut around the deck. If you want your lights to sway, install eyes every other or third light to achieve a more graceful effect.
Attach String Lights Carabiners: To install the lights, use the metal carabiners to hook them onto the screw eyes. Simply thread a carabiner through each hole at the top of a light and then thread it through a screw. This makes it easy to install and take down or readjust the lights as desired.
Install the lights: Place one bulb in the socket of each light. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing the lights. This may involve attaching the strings to hooks or clips or using special mounting hardware. Make sure to use proper tools and techniques to ensure the lights are secure and safe.
Attach String Lights to Power: Plug your string lights into an extension cord, then snake the cord down to your power source. Secure cords to a wall or post with cord clips. You can also install an outlet timer so your lights come on and go off automatically.
Plug in or turn on the lights: After installing the lights, plug them in or turn them on to make sure that they work properly. Make any necessary changes to the lighting placement or layout.
Enjoy the ambience: Once your outdoor string lights are set up, there’s no more other things to do but to sit back and enjoy the charming atmosphere they create!
What type of power source do I need for outdoor string lights?
Outdoor string lights can be powered by either an electrical outlet or a battery pack.
If you are using an electrical outlet as the power source, be sure to use outdoor-rated extension cords and outlets. Outdoor outlets should be rated for the wattage of the lights that you are using. It is also important to use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet to help protect against electrical shocks.
If you do not have an available electrical outlet, you can use a battery-powered outdoor string light set. These sets come with a battery pack that can be recharged or replaced as needed. They are convenient because they do not require an electrical outlet, but they may not be as bright as electrically powered string lights.
It is also important to follow all manufacturer's instructions and local building codes when installing and using outdoor string lights. This will help ensure your safety and the proper functioning of the lights.
Can outdoor string lights cause a fire?
The short answer is Yes. Like with any other electrical device, careless use can cause a fire so whenever using electricity outdoors, it’s extremely important to be safe.
Tips on how to keep string light connections safe:
Tip #1: Connect your cords to a GFCI outlet. A GFCI outlet protects you against electrical shocks by detecting when the current flowing to an electrical device is unbalanced and shutting down the power. When plugging in outdoor string lights, use a GFCI outlet to help keep you safe.
Tip #2: Do not use old or worn strings. If it’s been a while since you bought new light strings, it might be time to get some new ones. When you first get your lights out, use testers to check for damaged sockets, bad bulbs, or blown fuses and make any necessary repairs. Strings with worn or brittle wires should be immediately thrown away as these lights can potentially cause a fire hazard.
Tip #3: Use outdoor-rated bulbs. Most C7 and C9 bulbs are safe for outdoor use but there are other bulbs used in patio light strings that should not be used outdoors. If you use incandescent bulbs outdoors, take the lights down after an event as soon as possible.
LED bulbs with this rating are not intended for use in permanently installed light strings. Wet location-rated bulbs can come in direct contact with water and are designed to be used in open areas.
Tip #4: Avoid leaving open sockets. Outdoor light strings are designed with a bulb-shaped hole that makes it more difficult for moisture and dust to enter the sockets that is why it is recommended that you avoid leaving sockets empty on outdoor lighting strings.
If in case a bulb burns out, leave it in place until you have a replacement. The string of lights will still work even though a few bulbs no longer light.
Tip #5: Limit the length of your light strand. It is generally recommended to limit the length of outdoor string lights to no more than what is necessary to cover the area you want to illuminate.
There are a few reasons you might want to know them below:
Overloading outlets: If the light strands are too long, they may draw more power than an outlet can handle, leading to an overload. This can cause a circuit to trip or even result in a fire.
Tangled cords: Long light strands can become tangled and difficult to manage, increasing the risk of accidents or damage to the lights. With shorter length, it will also make the lights easier to use.
Electricity usage: The longer the light strands, the more electricity they will use. It helps reduce energy consumption and save on electricity cost.
Aesthetics: Too many light strands can be visually overwhelming and take away from the overall look and ambience of the lights. You will have a more cohesive and aesthetically pleasing display if you limit the length of the light strands.
String lights, as you can see, have many bulbs connected together in one circuit and are mostly powered from a single point. It is common to discover that half or more of your outdoor string lights are not working.
So, what's the problem with your string lights? Continue reading to find out why, and we have quick fix that you can follow.
WARNING: Working with electricity can be hazardous. We recommend that you hire a qualified electrician to hang string lights across your backyard and fix your electric lights problem.
Why your outdoor string lights not working?
For a whole outdoor string light not working completely, there are several reasons including the following:
Power Outage: A blackout or power outage happens after heavy rain, strong storm, and high winds. There will be no power supply in affected areas or specific lines during this time. You can contact your electricity providers for updates or wait until the issue is fixed.
On a different note, electrical power outages have no effect on solar string lights. If your solar string lights aren't working, the problem is most likely with the batteries, the solar panel or the cable connecting them.
Tripped GFCI: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), as we learned above, it’s a safety feature that protects against electrical shock. When your outlet comes in contact with water, the GFCI will automatically trip to protect you and your home from electric shock.
If you have an old GFCI, it will be more sensitive to even just moisture and you can expect that it would trip more often. Replacing it can best solve the problem.
Tripped Breaker: You know that a circuit breaker is an automatic electrical switch that interrupts current flow when a fault is detected in the system, protecting electrical circuits and appliances from being damaged caused by overload.
When a circuit breaker trips in the electrical panel, the lights go out.
You might need to reset your GFCI should bring power back on, but if it doesn't, check the breaker and flip it back into the ON position. If this does not solve your problem, you may need to call a professional electrician for assistance.
Damaged wires: When a wire is cut or damaged, it stops the flow of electricity, which means your outdoor string lights won't work. It can be damaged by squirrels, mice, and rabbits as they like to chew on wire coatings. Throw your lights away and get a new set if you see bare wires or chewed wire coatings as it’s already unsafe and oftentimes cannot be fixed.
For outdoor string light replacement, feel free to browse this page for your preferred lighting product.
But most of you are finding only half of their string lights are working. We have a few reasons for that and solutions as well.
Burned-out bulbs: If half of your strand of lights is out, you may have a damaged shunt. A shunt is a small wire beneath the filament that redirects current to keep other bulbs on when one burns out.
You will need a non-contact voltage tester to check every bulb. If any bulb does not light up when it is touched with the tool, you have found the burned out bulb. If the bulb lights up, there is no problem with that particular one.
In case you didn’t have the tool, you can check every bulb in a working socket until you identify the burned out one.
Unseated bulbs: Some bulbs on a string of lights can get unseated or loose when they are bumped. When they do, they stop working and can affect the other lights on the string. You will end up with half of your outdoor string lights not working.
Give your lights a little wiggle or push to get them back in place. This will bring back the lights and no need for you to check for bigger problems like what we have listed above.
Corroded bulbs: If rust or corrosion builds up at the bottom of a bulb, current will not be able to flow between the bulb and socket. This can cause a section of your strand to stop working. For a quick fix, clean it away with sandpaper or a small wire brush.
There can be a few more questions we receive from our customers and another common one is about waterproof outdoor lights.
Are outdoor string lights waterproof?
This is very important for you to look at the IP rating of the lights before buying them. Of course, outdoor lights can get wet. So let’s not disappoint ourselves by checking how well protected your outdoor lights agains dirt and moisture.
IP rating is indicated like this, “IP” followed by two numbers. For example, you will find IP65 that indicates that the lights are completely protected from water jets and foreign objects. This type of light can be used outdoor.
Can outdoor string lights be used indoors?
You can definitely use outdoor lights inside your home if they plug into a standard outlet and are designed to be wired into a 120V circuit. Another note for using your outdoor bulbs indoors, make sure that the bulb fits the fixture you intend to use.
In the end, it doesn't really matter if you can use outdoor lights indoors or not. The real question is should you or is it worth it?
If you haven’t checked around stores yet, outdoor lights cost more as they are designed to be waterproof than an equivalent interior light bulb that isn't. So no need to spend extra money on something you don't need.
Next thing we want you to be aware is that lights designed for outdoors may be too bright. Remember, the purpose of outdoors lights is to illuminate a wide area and more surfaces to reflect the light. And bringing them into a confined space may make you uncomfortable.It's better to buy indoor lights suited to the room.
For the colder months, string lights from the patio could make an attractive and cozy bedroom decoration. Depending on their shape, they may even complement your holiday decor.
You only have to check if the lights are safe to be connected to your power supply. And if they aren’t, the lights are supposed to be used on a lower voltage. You can't power them from a standard electrical supply as this may cause a fire.
Still, now you know a few important things you need to know about outdoor string lights through these common questions.
We know you came here because you know how outdoor string lights can provide both lighting and ambience to your backyard or patio. So whether you need a new set or someone who wants to illuminate their outdoor space for a special occasion, you can get the most reliable outdoor string lights from us. Feel free to contact us for your inquiries.