Holiday lights strung out on floor

How Many Holiday Lights Can I Plug Into a Circuit?

Hanging holiday lights can get a bit complicated and often leaves homeowners feeling frustrated. After planning, designing, untangling, and replacing bulbs, many people are still left with one question: “How many holiday lights can I plug into a circuit?”

How To Calculate the Maximum Wattage

The first step in determining the number of lights you can put into a circuit is calculating how many watts your circuit can handle.

The equation looks like this: watts = amps x volts.

  • Household outlets are 120 volts.
  • Homes usually have 15-amp or 20-amp circuits.

To prevent the possibility of wires overheating, you should only load your circuits to 80% of maximum capacity. A 15-amp circuit can technically handle 1800 watts (15 amps x 120 volts) but, to be safe, it should only carry 1440 watts (80% of 1800 = 1440).

If you have any other lights or appliances on the same circuit as your holiday lights (i.e., porch or garage lights), subtract the wattage of those devices from the total.

Separate Electrical Circuits

If you plan on putting up a lot of holiday lights and don’t feel like calculating the math, another option is to run separate electrical circuits for your lights — power strips are your friend! Knowing there’s nothing else plugged into the circuit will help give you peace of mind — besides, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

If you still need help with your home’s electrical needs this holiday season, contact the experts at Summer Rain Lighting Systems. Not only will our team help you find the perfect design, but we can also provide lighting installations.