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Can My Home's Electrical System Handle Holiday Lights?

Picture this: you spend hours and hours decorating your home for the holidays – from the lights to the inflatables and everything in between – and you go to turn them on for the first time only to blow a fuse. Sound familiar? This was the case in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In order to avoid the situation Chevy Chase experienced playing the role of Clark Griswold, it’s important to know if you have enough electrical infrastructure to support your festiveness.

In order to find out the maximum number of lights or decorations, or a combination of the two, you can plug into a single circuit you need to a little bit of math, sigh. But, don’t worry it’s nothing too complicated. The equation looks something like this:

  • Watts = amps x volts and in most cases you’ll know two of the variables.
  • Most household outlets are 120 volts and most homes have either 15-amp or 20-amp circuits.
  • This means that a 15-amp circuit can handle roughly 1800 watts. Just know that you should never load your circuits with more than 80% of their total capacity.

Now that you know the formula, take it into account while shopping for holiday decorations. Lights come in a variety of sizes and types with different wattages, which will determine the number you can plug into a single circuit.

Still feeling like you might end up pulling a Clark Griswold this holiday season? Feel free to give the expert electricians at Lon Lockwood Electric a call! After all, electrical safety is a top priority so we’ll make sure you won’t run into any trouble.