Repairing String Lights on the Pergola

Welcome to the 145th Metamorphosis Monday!

A few years ago I purchased some outdoor string lighting from Hobby Lobby.  It was perfect for my deck(s) because it was white and the decks are painted white.  I spent several hours one afternoon, running it around the top of the pergola to the right of the screened-in porch and under the arm rail of the deck to the left of the porch.

Within the year, something chewed through the wiring in several places on both decks.  Eventually I removed the wiring from under the handrail on the deck on the left.   You can just see it in this pic (below) taken before it was removed.  It was so pretty lit up…made me sad to remove it.  But the critter damage was in a place that couldn’t easily be repaired.

A friend repaired the damaged area of the lighting on the pergola side.

It was chewed through toward the lower section–the part that runs a few feet away from the bird feeder on that side.

We suspected the damage had been caused by a raccoon because there had been other signs indicating one was visiting the feeder each night.

Picture from Wikipedia

Within months of the repair, It (whatever It is) did it again.  Grrrr!  Not amused.  You can see the chopped off wiring at the bottom of this pic below.

I guess it’s partly my fault because I have feeders hanging off the decks and that tends to draw “wildlife” to your home.

But if I place the feeders down in the yard, I can’t see them at all unless I walk over to the edge of the porch and stand there looking down.   Plus, the feeders would be so far away from the porch, I would barely even be able to see the birds when they came to eat.  I love sitting on the porch and watching them swoop down from the trees to feed just a few feet away.

I tried bringing the feeders in at night, but I often forgot until it was pitch black dark outside.  And no way this girl was plucking feeders off the deck in the dark.  Here in the south, GIANT cockroaches come out at night–the kind you can saddle up and ride.  I was not taking a chance on a close encounter with one of those…not even to save my outdoor wiring!

I finally solved the “forgetting” problem by setting the alarm on my cell phone to go off each night around dusk.  Once I began remembering to bring in the feeders each evening, whatever was coming to dine, stopped coming.

This past week, I went down into the backyard and retrieved the section of wiring that had been chewed off this last time.  You can see it lying there on the deck floor.  I got out my step ladder and started to take all the wiring down, but then I stopped.  I decided to give it one more try since I’m bringing the feeders in now.

(Please note: This post  is not a tutorial for lighting repair.  Please do not try this at home based on my post.   It’s best to always seek a professional electrician when you are in need of electrical work or for a repair.)

I got out my needle nose wire cutters and snipped into the wire near the end where it had been chewed through.

I barely cut into it, being careful to not cut all the way through to the copper wires inside.

I striped off the protective covering exposing about an inch of the copper wiring.  See that chewed up arm in the background.  It also munched on my brown outdoor wicker. 🙁

I did this to all four damaged wires.  They had all been completely chewed through.

Then I twisted each pair of wires together to reestablish the connection.

I covered the ends with some little yellow wire caps I had saved from a previous lighting purchase/installation.

And since this wiring is outdoors, I also wrapped the ends with white electrical tape to hopefully help protect it during rain storms.

I ran the wiring down the back side of one of the pillars supporting the pergola, all the while praying the wiring was still going to be long enough to reach the outlet on the deck.  I couldn’t remember exactly how long it had been before.

It just barely reached, but it did reach.  Would my repair work?

Yes!    Yipee!

Repaired, once again.

A nighttime view at 10:00 PM Saturday evening.

I lit the candles on the candlelier, too–just for you!. 🙂

Unfortunately, one globe is missing…you can read about that raccoon disaster in THIS post.  If you know where I can find another one just like these 5, please let me know.  The candelier was from Smith and Hawken and it sold out almost as soon as they got it in.  I just barely got one before they were all gone.  Then a year or two later, S & H went out of business.  I tried to buy more globes when they were selling the candleliers, in case I dropped one, one day–but they were out of them and never got them back in.

I’m not sure why this pic below came out so nice and bright.  The lighting isn’t this bright in person, but it isn’t as dark on the deck as the pics above, either.  The string lighting really adds a lot to this deck.  I love turning it on in the evening and enjoying it from inside on the porch.  When guests are visiting, it’s especially nice to have the deck(s) lit up.  Lighting creates such a special atmosphere, be it inside or out.

This picture below is the most accurate of how the porch looks at night with the pergola lit up.  It’s really pretty with candles on the table underneath the candlelier.

Keeping my fingers crossed nothing comes dining on my lighting again.  Do you have exterior lighting on your deck?  Had any problems with raccoons or critters chewing on it?

To see more of the screened-in porch and deck construction, click HERE and HERE and HERE.

To read about 9 awesome features you may want to consider including when building a screened-in porch, click HERE.

You’ll find additional details about the porch construction (flooring, size, sheers etc…) under the FAQ category at the top of this blog.

Again, let me say, this post is not a tutorial for lighting repair.  I’m not an electrician.  I recommend you always call a licensed electrician when you have a lighting repair or issue in your home.  

Looking forward to your Before and After!

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Comments

  1. lauren @ West Furniture Revival says:

    your porch is beautiful. i had a critter chew up the wood on the spindles of my deck! The lights look beautiful all lit up!

  2. Confessions of a Plate Addict says:

    Hi Susan! So glad you got your pretty lights up and going! I've had to do a little wiring repair, too…when I keep cutting up the extension cord while trimming shrubbery! lol Happy week!…hugs…Debbie

  3. Your pergola looks so pretty all lit up at night. The lights add so much atmosphere to the space. You were clever to figure out how to make the repair yourself.

  4. ℳartina @ Northern Nesting says:

    Susan your porch looks beautiful lit up like that. The hubby installed rope lighting under our rails a few years ago and so far so good nothing chewed at them. Thanks for hosting, Martina

  5. debbie--http://refreshrestyle.com/ says:

    Your decks are so amazing and even more perfect with lights. Good luck with the critter and I know what you're talking about with those southern roaches! LOL Thanks for hosting!
    Debbie

  6. Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR says:

    Susan, the porch looks so pretty all lit up! I can see why you woud continue to repair the critter damage! Thanks so much for sharing and hosting this party each week! Have a great week!

  7. ♥ Sonny ♥ says:

    Your porch is always beautiful but especially so when all the twinkling lights..
    thanks for hosting this party for us , Susan.

  8. FABBY'S LIVING says:

    Susan, your porch is so beautiful and lit up like that is great! Thank you for hosting this party once more and for having me. Have a wonderful week and Happy Halloween! FABBY

  9. poindextr says:

    oh I love your twinkle lights, so romantic! I just hung some in our trees this weekend and am also concerned that squirrels or other critters will chew through the wires. Oh well, I'll just enjoy them while I can 🙂 diane

  10. SavannahGranny says:

    I love your porch and deck. You are a real trooper to get that wiring fixed. I know you did a good job.
    Once, we came home from a two week trip. A squirrel had come in through the chimney and reaked havoc. There was not one inch of the house he missed in his efforts to get out. He had chewedand destroyed a very valuable, one of a kind basket, a gift from my daughter. Unfortunately he had craweled into the basket and died. That part was sad but everything was a mess. Ugh! Ginger

  11. Hi, Susan. The porch is beautiful, as always. You might want to try attaching some PVC pipe along the section where the cord is getting chewed up. Run the cord through the pipe to protect it from the critters.

  12. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Suesan…that's not a bad idea! Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. Great job on the wiring….I bet it's chipmunks…we've had trouble with them and they like to chew on things…we had a break line damaged under a car once from some. Mice like to chew wiring too! I doubt it was a raccoon…they just want the food! If anything they would have destroyed your bird feeders if they could get them..they are strong!
    Anyway, your porch looks wonderful all lit up! I hope it stays that way for you a long time!

  14. Proud of you for doing electrical work! You go girl! Reminded me of when the squirrels use to climb my birdfeeder, and I had to put Vaseline or baby oil on the post to prevent them from coming up. Was thinking that maybe you could put some Tabasco along the electrical cord, but please don't tell PETA that I said that! Happy almost Halloween!

  15. Love your porch all lit up. So pretty that way! Do you get lots of bugs and cobweb mess from your lights being on at night? We get a lot of that kind of mess.

    ~Linnea

  16. Summerland Cottage Studio says:

    Your home is sooo beautiful !
    Thank you for sharing all the beauty, tips and inspiration.

  17. Heaven's Walk says:

    What an absolutely beautiful place to spend an evening, Susan! The lights truly add alot of atmosphere. 🙂 Good job on the rookie-repair! lol!

    xoox laurie

  18. Rosemary@villabarnes says:

    Love the way the porch looks. Thanks for hosting.

  19. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Linnea, it usually isn't on for that long, unless I'm actually entertaining out there. Lights do sometimes draw the candle flies. I'm usually inside on the screened-in porch though, in the no-bug zone. My nemesis is spiders. They build everywhere…including inside my house. I'm tempted to start having an exterminator come out, just to get rid of them. Wonder if that would help? I don't know how they get inside, but they do.

  20. Cottage and Broome says:

    Thanks for hosting this week. I feel your pain with the critters, deer, rabbits, raccoons and even the birds seem to eat away my plants and outdoor decorating! Your porch looks lovely. Laura Cottage and Broome

  21. http://findingsecrettreasures.blogspot.com says:

    Wow! so Beautiful!

  22. Kelli @ The Turquoise Piano says:

    Oh, I want your house. Thanks for hosting this party!

  23. donatella says:

    ah! love your note "please don't try this" sounds like these commercials!!! and I know they are not pets, but what can I say? raccoons are adorable (in pictures!!) excellent job! thanks for hosting!!

  24. Jenny @ Simcoe Street says:

    Your home is sooo lovely
    Thanks for hosting the party 🙂

  25. Andrea @Oasis Accents says:

    That is the most beautiful porch I've ever seen. Wish I could glue that on the back of my Cape Cod. Thanks for hosting. =)

  26. So glad you got the wiring fixed, hope Mr. Wildlife finds a new place to chill 🙂 Thanks for hostessing the party!

  27. Ivy and Elephants says:

    That'll learn ya. No feeding lights to the critters. lol. The porch came out absolutely fabulous! Thanks for hosting!

    Paula

  28. What a beautiful home you have! I love your outdoor lights, too. Nasty old raccoons!!! Glad you were able to repair them.

    Happy Monday!

  29. shellyandrade says:

    I think it's safe to say EVERYONE dreams of having a porch like yours. I know I do:)

    Money has stood in the way of that dream for 13 years but we do have a steel gazebo to fill the void in the meantime.

    I can relate to your frustration with the lights not working since we too have lights lining our deck. There's just something comforting about seeing that glow at night.

    I especially enjoy them in the winter when the strings of lights are covered in snow. So glad you were able to repair it and hope the PVC will solve your critter issue in the future.

    Thanx again for hosting such an awesome party!

  30. Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig says:

    I have the most serious case of porch envy EVER!
    Seriously! It's absolutely gorgeous.

    XO,
    Anne

  31. Betsy (BB) says:

    I love your porch and your house is always amazing! Thanks for hosting this party! It's always fun to see other'r projects and ideas!

  32. Your lighting is very pretty and I am so impressed with your electrical repair! You are the man! =)

    It looks like you have a squirrel chewing your wires. They are rodents and cause 20 percent of undetermined fires.

    You might want to try mixing Safflower seeds and thistle seed with your bird seed to keep squirrels away.

    I swear by Espoma's 'Dried blood' This product is a safe source of organic nitrogen. Spread it in any potted plants or near the bird feeders. Squirrels won't come around.
    http://www.espoma.com/p_consumer/org_trad_overview.html

    Mary
    From Virginia

  33. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Thanks so much for all the kind words about the porch. Shelly, your Gazebo sounds wonderful…I love those!

  34. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Mary, I just may try that! Maybe I could put it in the planter beside the lights and that would discourage them.

  35. the cape on the corner says:

    it's a shame those little trouble makers are so cute. unlike squirrels, who i haaate!

    love the warm glow from your newly fixed twinkle lights! thanks for hosting and happy halloween!

  36. Susan, you are just too talented. Electrical is definitely not my thing. 😉 For a minute there I thought you had actually captured that Wikipedia critter with your own camera. Too funny.
    Love your lighted porch.

  37. Our Country Bungalow says:

    Years ago our pet goat got out and found her way to our front porch and chewed off all of our strands of Christmas lights. Lucky for her they weren't on.
    Grr..
    Glad you could fix yours. They look great!
    ~cathy

  38. Μαζί... KaPa says:

    Ιbelieve it is the most beautiful porch I have ever seen!!!! I love it….I also like your bird feeders….Lucky you!! You have such a freat taste and decr ideas!!!

  39. Curtains In My Tree says:

    Is that pretty or what?
    I just love lights outside like that

    thanks for the party on Halloween

  40. Michele/Ohio says:

    GREAT job! Well cone!

    And I tell ya my blood pressure goes way way down just looking at those lovely beautifully-lit porches in your world.

    It just says to me "Wine, cheese Tuscan dinner party" under the stars. Soft jazz or Italian countryside music in the background….. the soft clinking of glasses, good friends gathered together.

    Ah. See? Can you feel it too?

  41. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Michele, that sounds perfect! My kind of party. 🙂

  42. I love the ambiance that your lights bring to your fabulous porch and deck! Thanks for the tips on how to fix the wiring, too. And, as always, thanks for hosting.

  43. ourlifeinaclick.blogspot.com says:

    I always sigh over photos of your deck and porch! Lovely!! Great job with the lights. We've used rope and icicle lighting and haven't had a problem with critters eating them …which is surprising.

  44. Sue@Uniquely Chic says:

    Love your porch! So pretty w/ the lights…no wonder your little friend is coming by to visit!

  45. Love your porch — it's beautiful in daylight and at night. I live in Decatur, GA and we've had critters (we think chipmunks) chew the wiring in our car engines THREE times already this Fall. Major repairs were needed each time. Totally caught us off guard — we moved here from Wisconsin — and this is the first time we've lived anywhere without a garage. We've gotten to know the people at the rental car company on a first name basis… Oh well, this too shall pass! Anyway, I love reading your blog and your creativity is inspirational. 🙂

  46. Nancy's Notes says:

    Susan, your porch is a vision of beauty! I love it lit up and I love it in the daytime, it's the porch of my dreams! Your electrical work is impressive! I know how to plug things in and that is it! Again, your blog is truly exceptional!

  47. Wow! Beautiful! Love your porch!

  48. A Vintage Green says:

    Thanks for hosting. Those critters love to climb and explore – and chomp on things. Good wire-chewing repair. Beautiful deck, great lighting.
    – Joy

  49. Robin @ Happily Home, After says:

    Susan,

    We had to repair LED christmas lights year as well … as if the squirrels didn't have enough to chew on! Yours look so lovely on your screened porch.

    Thanks for hosting this party … I posted about making temporary Cake Stands using Museum Putty … with this folks **could** use Grandma's cherished china as a cake stand one day, undo it, and return it to its original service the next. Options unlimited!

    Robin
    happilyhomeafter.blogspot.com

  50. I was able to find replacement chimneys for chandeliers in apartments my bosses own at http://www.antiquelampsupply.com. You could give that site a try to see if you can find replacements for your pergola chandelier.

  51. Thanks for hosting! I love your porch it is so beautiful!

  52. Thanks for hosting! Now that's a porch I'd like to take a nap on! 🙂

  53. Love your porch, I am overcome with extreme envy. I also have the racoon problem, each year they eat all our grapes right before they are ripe, grrr. They also have taken to coming into our garage to eat our cat's food so can only give him a little at a time. Also Grrrr…

  54. Don’t the raccoons wind and ruin your beautiful porch. Thanks for the tip and encouragement on how to reconnect the lights, I had a similar problem in our yard.

    • Glad that helped, Danielle! No, haven’t had any damage as of yet from the raccoons. They just raid my feeders at night. So far they haven’t ever chewed through the screen and attempted to come onto the porch.

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