How to Wire Christmas Lights to a Dimmer

What You'll Need
Christmas tree lights
Electric dimmer
Spare bulbs

Christmas lights might only get a few weeks of use every year, however they can wear out very quickly. The average set of Christmas tree lights will last three Christmases assuming they don't get tangled up. There are however some ways to extend the life of your Christmas tree lights, including using dimmers.

Learning how to wire your Christmas lights into a dimmer can make them last much longer. These can make your lights burn lighter which will mean that they don't get as hot. This in turn will mean that the bulbs won't burn out as quickly.

Step 1- Choosing an Electric Dimmer

There are many different types of electric dimmer available, these are all rated in terms of wattage. The wattage rating on the dimmer will affect the types of application which the electric dimmers can be used for. Look for the total wattage of the Christmas lights that you are installing. Sometimes you may not be able to find out about the total wattage, and instead you will only find the wattage or the amps per bulb. In this case you will need to multiply the wattage by the number of bulbs you have.

If you're not sure about the dimmer required for your Christmas light project then you should ask in your local electrical store. You should be able to find out everything you need to know by picking their brains.

Step 2 - Fitting the Dimmer

Next you will need to wire your dimmer into your Christmas lights. The method of doing this will depend on the type of dimmer you have purchased. Some dimmers are made specifically for Christmas lights in which case they will be able to be connected directly to the lights. Other types need to be unscrewed using an electrical screwdriver. The Christmas tree lights can then be cut and screwed into the terminals on the dimmer.

Read the instructions which were included with your dimmer so that you can make sure you know how to safely fit the dimmer. Safety should be the number one priority.

Step 3 - Testing

Once you've wired up the Christmas lights dimmer you then need to test it out. Ensure that the dimmer won't blow the Christmas lights. Start with the dimmer turned down low and then slowly start turning the wattage up to make the lights brighter. Check that this is having the desired response.

Step 4 - Improvements

There are many additional things that you can do with your Christmas lights dimmer. It can also be connected to an audio amplifier which will cause the lights to react to changes in the beat of music.

Dimmers use a variable resistor to control the amount of electricity allowed to flow through the light bulbs. This will have the effect of dimming the bulbs, however it can also make the dimmer get very hot. Dimmers get hot due to the resistance which is why you need  to b careful you are choosing a dimmer with the correct ratings.