Light Up Your Holidays

(Family Features) Whether you are the first one on your block to hang lights or the last-minute decorator hurrying to decorate your tree, nothing is more frustrating than having a section of lights fail to illuminate.

“Spirits can be dampened when you’ve gathered the family to decorate the tree or house and come to find that some of your light sets don’t work,” said John DeCosmo, CEO of Ulta-Lit Technologies, the maker of the LightKeeper Pro, a tool that not only finds the bad bulb on a string of lights but also illuminates the working bulbs by sending a harmless charge through the string of lights.

The LightKeeper “Pros” have several other tips to keep your holidays bright and stress levels low when it comes to holiday lighting:

  • Measure: To estimate the number of lights needed for your tree, plan an average of 100 lights for every foot of tree height. Serious decorators often double that.
  • LED vs. Incandescent: LEDs are more expensive than incandescent lights, but last longer. Likewise, more sets of LED lights can be strung together end-to-end than traditional incandescent light sets. When it comes to energy use, a tree with 1,000 incandescent lights can cost $10 over an average holiday season while the same tree using LED lights costs around $1.50.
  • Inspect: Before stringing lights, check for broken bulbs and sockets, frayed cords, burned out lights and loose connections. For sets with bulb outages, use the LightKeeper Pro for incandescent lights or the LED Keeper for LED lights to find and fix the problem. Squeeze the trigger a few times and most light sets will illuminate in seconds.
  • Connect: When using incandescent lights, connect no more than three strands of mini string sets together. LED light sets can handle connecting more than 30 strands together.
  • Indoor vs. Outdoor: Commercial-grade light sets are more reliable for outdoor use because of their durability and thicker insulation.
  • Live and artificial trees: When stringing lights on a tree, begin at the top of the tree and wind the strands through its center, widening with the tree's shape. Real trees should be watered daily. When the tree is purchased, request half an inch be sawed off so the tree can take in more water.
  • Replace and repair lights: To get the most out of your light sets, do occasional visual checks for any bulbs that are no longer working. Replace those bulbs as soon as possible. Two burned out bulbs can decrease the lifespan of the light set by 39 percent; four burned out bulbs by 67 percent.

Should your holiday lights go dark, the lighting pros at Ulta-Lit are at your service year round, and seven days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas to answer questions: 888-858-2548 or online at

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