String lights are ideal for Christmas or just decorating your outdoor space on a budget. However, when installing lights, many homeowners have questions about how much they can install. Therefore, this guide details how many strings of lights you can add to your upcoming decorating project.
How many string lights you can connect together depends on the type of bulbs (LEDs or incandescent), your circuit (15 or 20 amps), and how many watts each string uses.
When it comes to any lights, the type, wattage, and electrical information are important. The fairy lights you choose should have the maximum connectivity or at least the wattage information of the products. If the product does not have this information on the packaging, it is probably safe to return it and choose another product.
Are your lights LEDs or incandescent bulbs? The type of light bulbs plays a big role in how much you can use. Since LEDs use less energy and are cheaper to run than traditional incandescent bulbs, you can string more lights together and save a lot on your electric bill.
Don’t Overload The Socket
Many people overdo it with lights, especially during the holidays. So it’s best to keep track of the total number of bulbs connected and make sure they do not exceed 80-85% of your circuit breaker wattage.
Remember to determine the wattage of each string of lights by looking at the UL Underwriters Laboratory seal for maximum connectivity for each product. Most homes have multiple outlets with a single circuit breaker, so it’s vital to keep track. Shoot for the lowest wattage to avoid maximizing your circuit breaker.
Small lighting projects do not require an electrician, but larger outdoor lighting projects often do. If you are dealing with an extensive lighting project, it is in your best interest to invest some money to have an electrician visit to make sure their lighting is safe and correct.
While overloading your outlet is not the end of the world with Christmas lights, it’s a scary situation when the power goes out. So, move some lights to another breaker and reset the breaker that was previously overloaded.
How To Calculate The Number of String lights Per House?
Some manufacturers will calculate on the packaging how many string lights you can connect. However, if you are unsure, do the math yourself. Check to see if you have a 15- or 20-amp circuit in your home, then multiply the wattage per strand by the number of strings you need to use.
Watts is a measure of a unit of energy. Amps are measured in units of electricity.
For example, if you have a 15-amp circuit at home, that’s 1440 total wattages. For an average 10 watt incandescent string of lights, the formula is 1440/100= 14.4, which means you can string 14 strings of lights together. Compared to LEDs at 10 watts, it’s 1440/10=144, so you can string 144 strings of lights together.
However, one of the easiest ways to calculate the number of string lights is to use the online calculator- Action Calculators.
How Much Power Do String Lights Use?
Although they look nice, incandescent bulbs burn out quickly, and the standard S11 style bulbs come with most incandescent bulbs. They have a short lifespan of about 2,000 hours, so each bulb needs to be replaced at least once a year for normal business use.
While incandescent bulbs use 90% more electricity, LEDs are cheaper to run. The average Christmas light uses 1.2W to 2W of electricity per 100 LED bulbs. The cost of your Christmas lights may not sound like much until you consider the hundreds of thousands of kilowatt-hours it takes to run average Christmas lights and Halloween lights.
To find out how much power your string lights are using, plug them into a smart plug that displays power usage. I have a string light comprising 100 small bulbs above my bed. After calculating, I found they use 0.039 kWh per hour or 0.95 kWh per day.
So if you have one or two string lights in your house, it has little impact on your electricity bill. But during the holidays having 20-50 (100 bulbs) string lights both indoors and outdoors installed can have a huge impact.
How To Connect Multiple String Lights?
Connecting multiple string lights is very simple. Start by plugging in two and adding more from there. Basically, use the male socket plug of one string and the female end of the other. Then, wrap the plugs with electrical tape to secure the connection and to prevent moisture from entering.
How To Save Energy With String Lights?
One of the quickest ways to save energy when stringing lights during the holidays is to turn them off after six hours. After 11, most people are asleep, and they can not appreciate the beauty of the lights, so turn them off. Use smart plugs to set timers for a hands-free experience.
At Christmas time, use inflatable Santas and reindeers to decorate your lawn as well as leave some lights out. Yes, incandescent bulbs are cheaper and have more bulbs per strand but LEDs use less heat and are the perfect energy-efficient alternative. They also last 25 times longer and save you money each year on the total cost.
However, if you want to find out how much money save with LEDs check out this Christmas lights calculator by Duke Energy.
Stay within 80 watts of amp capacity to ensure that the Christmas lights stay on all season. Since all outlets connected to a circuit share its amp capacity, consider other items that operate on the circuit, such as lamps and electronic equipment. To calculate how many lights you can connect, do the math or use the online calculators.
Similarly, there are many ways to save on electricity with string lights. These include using timers to turn them off when everyone is asleep and opting for LEDs. Swapping lights with LEDs save electricity, offers more string light for decor, and poses less of a fire hazard than traditional bulbs.