Ways To Run Power To Your Outdoor String Lights

Congratulations on your nice new outdoor space! Whether it is a backyard, patio, or deck, having an area where you can kick back and relax is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. 

But don’t get too comfortable just yet. If you plan on spending quality time out there at night, you will need adequate lighting. And as any home designer knows, ensuring proper illumination outside presents a number of unique challenges. And foremost of these is powering your lighting fixtures. 

One of the main challenges of powering outdoor string lights is the lack of available outlets. Most decks and patios have just one. If you’re lucky, you might have one on either end. Even so, those probably wouldn’t be enough to power all the lights you plan on stringing up. 

The good news is that there are other solutions available. No matter how dire your power situation might be, you can light up your outdoor space without having to tear up your grounds or spend a bundle of cash. Here are some suggestions for running power to your outdoor string lights: 

1. External power outlets

The ideal solution would be to have as many external power outlets as you need to power however many light strands you plan to put up. If so, you would have your work cut out for you. 

The problem is that few homes have that many external outlets to go around. And what few there are will probably be located a distance from where you want to put up your lights. 

You could use gang adaptors to connect more light strands into a single outlet, of course. Or you could get an adaptor that converts your light socket into a power outlet. But in the absence of enough external outlets, the next best thing would be…

2. Extension cords 

This is perhaps the most obvious solution to your power woes. Extension cords are cheap, readily available, and will work well in a pinch. But they aren’t without their caveats. 

The main issue with extension cords is that they are a temporary solution at best. You will probably have to run them several feet away, often snaking them through areas with a lot of foot traffic. In most cases, they will also be exposed to heat, moisture, dust, and other elements that could affect their performance and safety. 

If you opt to run extension cords, always use heavy-duty models rated for outdoor use. These are designed to withstand the elements mentioned above and are generally safe if they aren’t subjected to extreme conditions. 

It is also advisable to use extension cords designed specifically for outdoor lights. These come with multiple sockets and waterproof plugs that do a great job of keeping moisture away from the electrical components. You could even use them in conjunction with waterproof power stakes that turn the power on and off via a system of photovoltaic cells and timers.

3. Solar panels

Lights with built-in solar panels are excellent for illuminating outdoor spaces. They are available in various sizes and designs, but what if you want to use your existing string light sets? 

You can go for a portable solar power system instead, which allows you to supply electrical power to whatever lights you wish. These usually consist of one or more solar panels and a generator, which let you power a good number of LED light strands for several hours. 

Granted, solar panels may not provide sufficient power for more elaborate light arrays. And their effectiveness is greatly reduced during overcast and cloudy days. But if you only have to power a couple of LED strands, they should suffice. 

4. Batteries 

Finally, consider using batteries, of which there are many to choose from. Some outdoor string lights are designed for use with electrical or battery power. But if your lights don’t have battery receptacles, you can rig up a 12-volt battery and inverter system that can run a good number of string lights for hours. These may be lithium or even car batteries and are generally safe in most outdoor settings. 

Any one of these solutions should work well for powering outdoor string lights. So if the lack of illumination is the only thing holding you back from enjoying your outdoor space at night, know that there is a solution available! 

Contact LED Lights Unlimited

If you have any questions about your LED lights and having them outdoors, contact us today! Our experience staff are more than happy to assist you.