How to Troubleshoot Icicle Lights

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Sometimes moisture will get into the connections between strands or in the extension cord and short out the strand. The strand will still not work in this case, even if all the light bulbs are in contact with the components in the base.


Be careful when working around electric currents. Never stick your finger in a light bulb outlet that is plugged into a power source or you'll risk electric shock.

Decorating the house for the holidays is a grand tradition that many people enjoy. There are many different kinds of lights, but one of the most popular are icicle lights. Icicle lights consist of long strands of lights dangling down from a main cord. The effect looks like glowing icicles and they are used to decorate rooftops, eaves, porches and even doorways. Most people connect several strings of icicle lights together and power them up using an extension cord plugged into an outside outlet. When your icicle lights aren't working for some reason, take some time to troubleshoot to restore your house to full holiday glory.


Step 1

Before you examine an entire line of icicle lights, verify that the outlet you are using is supplying power. You can do this by removing the extension cord and plugging in something else that will verify that it is receiving electricity. If the outlet appears to be working fine, move to the next step in troubleshooting.

Step 2

Locate the icicle light strand that is farthest out from the outlet. Unplug it to see if the rest of the strands then light up. Often, a bad strand will cause the rest in the line to go out. Removing the bad strand should cause the rest of the strands to the outlet to light.


Step 3

Check the strand in your hands for bad bulbs if the rest do light up. Gently press each bulb into the socket; even if it looks connected, the filaments from a bulb may not be connecting with the components in the socket. Plug in the strand and see if it, too, lights up. If so, the problem is solved. If not, continue to the next step.

Step 4

Move to the next closest strand if the whole line remains dark, then disconnect it. Observe if the rest of the strands light up back to the outlet. If so, check the bulbs on the second closest strand. Reconnect and observe if the rest of the strands light up. If so, you found the problem. If not, move to the next step.


Step 5

Repeat the process with every strand back to the outlet--disconnecting, testing bulbs and reconnecting. This way, you will be able to identify the problem strand and either fix it by adjusting the bulbs or replacing the strand with a working one.

Step 6

If you get to the extension cord connection and the line is still dark, try replacing the extension cord.


Richard Brown

Brown is a writer with expertise in many topics, including law, health, fitness, travel and outdoor recreation. Brown earned a Bachelor of Science degree in history from Utah State University. He began working as a freelance writer in 2007, and his articles appear on several Demand Studio websites, including eHow.