A Homeowner’s Guide to Installing Christmas Lights
Christmas light installation day is an exciting one for many homeowners, and yet at the same time it fills them with dread. While everyone loves a good Christmas light show, it can take a lot of effort — and even some potentially harrowing moments — to get your holiday lights up.
Before you grab your ladder and consider putting up your Christmas lights, take the time to make a plan for your display. Will it be just around your gutters and roofline, or will your display extend to windows, porches, and walkways? Once you have a plan, execution, and safety are key. No matter how complex or simple your holiday display will be, the following issues should be considered.
Understanding the Difference Among Types of Holiday Lights
Back in the day, a Christmas light was a Christmas light — there weren’t that many types from which to choose. Nowadays, however, you have a plethora of bulb shapes and sizes and two basic types of bulbs: incandescent and LED.
All About LED Christmas Lights
LED bulbs are a relative newcomer to the Christmas light industry. They emit a cooler and brighter light than their incandescent counterparts, which is appealing to some and irritating to others. Personal tastes aside, these bulbs use up to 90% less energy and they reduce your fire risk, which makes them a superb choice for outdoor wreaths and live Christmas trees as well as whole-house decorating.
Other bonuses are that their colors and intensity don’t fade over time, and they are virtually indestructible, allowing them to last for longer. LEDs come in a wider range of styles than incandescent lights and they allow for easier connection of multiple sets.
All About Incandescent Christmas Lights
However, some people just love their incandescent Christmas lights. They are softer and emit a warmer glow, but their real benefit is cost, which is much lower than LEDs. Plus, they don’t flicker like some LED sets.
Hanging Your Christmas Lights Step-by-Step
The most important thing you must do before hanging your lights is to measure your home properly. To give you a broad idea, you’ll need four strands of 32-foot mini lights in addition to two more stands of 14-foot mini lights for the average home. For a smaller home, you may need only four of the 32-foot minis. If you are using C9 bulbs, this may change. Once you’ve measured and bought your lights, it’s time to get hanging.
1. Safety First
Make sure all your light strings and sockets are in good condition. Throw away lights with exposed wires or broken sockets. Use only extension cords that are ESFI certified to meet the amperage needs of your lights — and don’t connect more than three light sets to each extension cord. If you must use a ladder to reach the roofline, inspect the ladder first for damage and don’t stand on the top step. If possible, have a “spotter” below to help hold the ladder in place. Metal ladders conduct electricity, so use a wood or fiberglass model instead.
2. Lay Out Your Lights
Now lay out and untangle all of your lights in a dry area such as a garage or driveway. Make sure it is a mild day if you plan on being up on your roof.
3. Starting Hanging
Now, beginning at the highest point of your home, place your lights. Secure them tightly, but without damaging the wires. Don’t use nails or staples. Instead use plastic clips that can clamp onto bricks, slide under the shingles on your roof, or even to gutters to stabilize and hold light strings.
Christmas Light Tips and Troubleshooting
Of course, there’s always one light that just won’t cooperate. If one bulb is out but the string works, you can rest easy. But if two or more bulbs go dark, make sure to replace them quickly, even if the bulbs light, as there will be extra voltage which can affect the safety and lifespan of your string. If one light goes out and the string goes dark, you must replace the light. If half a strand is out, you may simply have a loose or broken light, so begin testing each unlit bulb.
Also, turn off lights when you go to bed and any time you leave the house. There are around 160 home fires every holiday season and 45% of those are attributed to lighting and electrical issues. Don’t take a chance!
Take the Work — and Worry — Of Christmas Light Installation Off Your Hands
The sparkle and color of a Christmas light show brings holiday happiness to most hearts. But for many, Christmas light installation is a real challenge. Inclement weather, high rooflines, tangled and poorly working light string all factor into the frustration often accompanying the holiday light hanging season.
At Townshend Arborcare, we have a team of Christmas light installation professionals that can hang your holiday lights quickly, easily, and safely so you can stay in your cozy, warm house and enjoy some holiday cheer.
Don’t let Christmas light installation ruin your holiday mood. Contact a Townsend Arborcare consultant today and get expert help putting on your holiday light show this year.
In Indiana call 317-420-8548
In Ohio call 440-578-7249
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