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july1962

Fake trees outdoors?

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Wasn't sure which category to put this in. I was looking at a 15' fake Christmas tree at Costco...they're really starting to look faker and faker. BUT, my thought was that since the branches seem to be totally made of some kind of plastic now, it would hold up better outside than some of the older fake trees that were made of a more fragile material. 

The tree is listed as indoors only, though. 

Has anyone successfully used a fake Christmas tree outside year after year? 

This is the tree I was looking at. https://www.costco.com/15'-Artificial-Pre-Lit-LED-Christmas-Tree.product.100404025.html

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I've used several from Wall Mart for years and had no problem.  I always bought the cheapest they had and avoided prelit kind because I assumed the light would go out anyway, they cost more, and I wanted to use my own lights.  These were the branch by branch assembly, which were a pain.  Lately, I've been buying the fold up kind I can find at most garage sales for 5 or 10 dollars.  Since they're used at night, you can't really tell that they're cheap.  Also, I have very little invested so I don't mind throwing them out and replacing them when necessary.  I think last year I had 15 or so artificial trees outside.  I think you can see them on Slankard light display on youtube.

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That's a good point about the prelit trees. It seems like most of them these days are prelit. 

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Geez $900 for that tree.  That's a little outside of my budget.

A lot of them get donated to our local thrift stores when people move in the summer.  Most thrift store buyers have little interest in them and it is way too hot for garage sales.   They end up in the bulk sales stores that places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army have (often called outlet stores or as-is store for SVA.  I haven't seen any marked more than $15.  Many are the older incandescent lighted trees but LED lit trees also are there.  They come in all sizes from tabletop to full size trees like the one at Costco.  You get to try them out before before buying.

  The one I put outside last year was an all metal three that didn't make any attempt to mimic a real three.  I added waterfall lights to a dozen of the branches to complement the LED lights that were fixed to the branches.  Right after Christmas I bought two tabletop trees, one with LEDs and the other with light pipes.   I will probably put them out next December.

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It is pricey, but it's 15' tall and has multi-function lites that can switch from all white to colored, or both. I frequent thrift stores for decorations and I've only seen a tree once and it was small and in pretty bad condition. 

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Check garage sales.  I did find a 12 foot tree last winter at a garage sale and I paid 20 dollars.  About anything a fancy, expensive prelit tree does, you can duplicate by buying the right lights from a store and adding them to a garage sale or thrift store find.

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Keep in mind if your tree isn't outdoor rated and your insurance company catches wind that you are using it outdoors then you would most likely not be covered if there was a fire or someone got hurt by it. You would be better off not using the pre lit function and installing your own lights that are rated for outdoor use.

 

The other thing you would need to do if you decided to use the lights outdoors is protect the controller from the weather. I'm guessing the circuit board enclosure isn't weatherproof at all.

 

I find even the outdoor rated LED strands from the big box stores have LEDs that rust out on them if the LEDs are the replaceable type. I will only buy the sealed type strands now because of that ( I've learned my lesson the hard way). Since its indoor rated I'm guessing you will probably encounter that same issue unless the LED strings that are installed use a sealed type LED bulb. I wouldn't want to try and find a failed LED in a 15 foot pre lit tree and you can expect to do that every year if you expose it to moist outside conditions if there are replaceable LED's. The pre lit trees don't have strings that easily pull off so it can be extra tricky to find the failed bulb when compared to finding one in a straightened out strand laying on the floor.

 

That's just my three cents (two cents plus tax) your results may vary but I would error on the side of caution. And I would defiantly find out about the insurance thing. It would come out quite easily in a post fire police report after they inspect the scene if the tree was outdoor rated. Also I've received a shock from touching a strand of LED lights before and they were actually rated for outdoor use.

 

What about making your own mega tree? For $900 you could probably make a nice one and then you can also program it to display any design you want. Just a thought that might be with looking into if that were to interest you and fit the looks of your display.

 

The other issue I've found with replaceable bulbs is that you can't get spares easily. They aren't available off the self for most of the brands that I have and the manufactures won't send them to me. I've had to buy sacrificial strands and used them for replacement bulbs. It looks like the LEDs on that tree are dual color. Not sure what two colors but not a standard bulb by the looks of it. So you get 46 replacement bulbs before your tree starts looking dim and patchy. I see it has a string that will stay lit even when a bulb is removed. It didn't say how many can be removed before the string goes dark by in my experience you might not notice they have failed bulb until 5 or 6 are dark. Some stay lit type strings will go dark once that many bulbs fail and that defeats the purpose of it then. I may be wrong about these strings in particular but it would be worth inquiring about before spending the money on it if you go that route.

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

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Thanks all....all good points. I have been to thrift stores and garage sales...I'm not seeing anyone with Christmas trees, especially really big ones. I live on a corner and wanted to put it right on the corner. I already do a big computerized light show and have an LED tree. I just wanted a big department store looking tree for the corner. 

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I have been doing this for years.  I always try and buy unlit or if I do buy prelit I remove those lights.  I wait after Christmas and buy them when they are 75% off....usually get the 6-7 foot trees for 5 to 10 bucks.....

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I've use white trees in the yard, and they will only last a season or two before they start turning brown. My green trees don't have enough time on them yet to make a call.  on both trees, I added my own lights, and have worked good so far.

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I used to put a fake tree outside and decorate it with my own lights.  Keep in mind these are not made for outdoors.  While mine is still green there was plenty of rust on the trunk and feet and several rust stains on the concrete below the tree.

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I have used our old 12ft tree for 3 years now and it looks good yet. Yes there is rust,on the interior branches..use LED lights, plastic bulbs, looks amazing. Never had a fire hazard as it is hooked to a gfci outlet. I wouldnt mind getting more of these

I have used our old 12ft tree for 3 years now and it looks good yet. Yes there is rust,on the interior branches..use LED lights, plastic bulbs, looks amazing. Never had a fire hazard as it is hooked to a gfci outlet. I wouldnt mind getting more of these. Hey July, have you looked on govdeals.com?

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