“It’s the most won-der-ful time of the year”, you sing to yourself while untangling a bin full of lights. Instead of gritting your teeth through this joyful time, follow Electrical Experts’ 5 easy tips for hanging your outdoor Christmas lights like a pro!
- Preparation Is Key
Chances are, it’s been a full year since you’ve used these lights, so begin by testing your lights safely on the ground, checking for burnt out ones, and making sure cords aren’t frayed. If you need to purchase new lights, make sure they are UL-approved, and think about LED bulbs, which have a higher upfront cost, but lower monthly costs. Grab your sturdiest ladder and make sure your yard is free of any debris that could cause issues later on. If everything looks good, it’s design time.
- Design the Set-Up
A little set-up can make even a simple design look professional. Sketch a loose idea of what you would like to see and map out where your GFCI outlets are located, so your extension cords don’t become too taught. Use your ladder to obtain accurate measurements around your home, keeping in mind how different types of surfaces will need different hanging strategies. For example, wrapping lights around columns might require more lights than a single strand across an eave. Once you have your measurements written down, you’ll be able to gather your equipment and get started.
- Gather Your Equipment
Unfortunately, it takes more than a string of lights to make your design come to life. You’ll need exterior-rated extension cords, plastic light clips, and a light-hanging pole if necessary, for harder to reach areas, like tree branches. Avoid using anything that can damage your roof in the hanging process, and consider recruiting a partner to make the hanging process faster (and more enjoyable.)
- Hang in There!
It’s easiest to hang lights from the top down. Start with high-impact areas like eaves and gutters, then move to window frames, columns, trees, and door frames. Briefly turn the lights on to ensure you’re happy with the design and adjust as needed. Lastly, set a timer, so your lights aren’t on all night—saving you money on your electric bill.
- Set Yourself Up for Success Next Year
There might not be anything worse than spending a day detangling cords and picking up shattered lights. Your future self will thank you if you store your lights securely. A great way to avoid these tangles is by wrapping your lights around large cans or a rectangular piece of cardboard and storing them in a labeled and well-sealed container.
With a little preparation and an eye for detail, you can make your home truly shine this holiday season. Your family, neighbors, and even electric bill will thank you for your efforts.