7 Tips for Hanging Exterior Holiday Lights

7 Light Hanging Tips To Get You Through The Holidays

Christmas_in_Dublin,_CAFor many people, decorating the exterior of the home with holiday lights is an annual tradition. Whether you are just hanging a few lights at the edge of your roof or going all out for this year’s Holiday Parade of Homes, here are a few tips to get the most out of your holiday lights.

  1. Got Tools?

    • First up is gathering all your tools and materials.
    • You will need a ladder, extension cord, outdoor timer, lights and light clips. Don’t even think about nailing or stapling the lights on your roof. A hole in your roof is never a good idea. But permanent hooks in the fascia board can save a lot of time over the years.
  2. Got Lights?

    • Make sure all your outdoor lights are UL (Underwriter Labs) approved and rated for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights for outdoor decorating.
      • Types of Underwriter Lights

        • Incandescent Minis: These lights have been around since your parents were kids. They remain a popular choice for holiday lighting because they’re relatively inexpensive, and they draw just 1.5-2.5 volts. You can find them in a multitude of colors, bulb styles, and lengths, from 50 to 300 lights per string.
        • C-7: These 2.5-inch tall, 5-watt bulbs are larger and more robust than conventional mini-lights, and they’re capable of operating even when one or more individual bulbs have failed. However, they also burn hotter and consume double the energy as minis.
        • C-9: They are the cone-shaped lights that can be found in any big box store. These three-inch tall, 10-watt lights pull the most power of all available bulb types and burn incredibly hot. However, their large size and brightness allow them to easily be seen from the street. LEDs really are the way to go.
        • LED: These bulbs may be more expensive to purchase than conventional incandescent, but they also emit brighter light, don’t heat up from use, and draw just 10 percent as much energy. What’s more, LED’s are very difficult to break, and will operate for thousands of hours more than other bulbs.
  3. Plug ’em in.

    • holiday-lights-roofing-tips-to-install-lightsNow that you have your lights, go ahead and plug them in before your start hanging them. Even if you just purchased them, it’s better to find a bad bulb now than trying to change one after it’s hanging from your home.
  4. Got Clips?

    • Choose a clip based on where you will be hanging your lights. There are gutter clips that attach the bulb to the gutter edge. There are also clips that seat themselves under your shingles. These clip are attached to a flat piece of plastic that fits firmly between your shingles without any nails or staples. Running the lights along your gutter or ridge line is a great way to keep your lights straight and even.You may even consider installing hooks in your fascia boards. These hooks will make the annual holiday light installation process much quicker. Whatever you do, just don’t use nails or staples!
  5. Safety

    • When using a ladder to hang the lights, don’t lean too far off either side of the ladder. Most ladder accidents happen when the ladder slips while someone is standing on it. Please always tie off the ladder.
  6. The Wires

    • Many of the lights come with kits that allow you to customize the length of your stand of lights as well as placing additional plugs anywhere in the strand. This keeps you from having to run multiple extension cords across your home. When using the kits, just make sure you match the proper polarity and keep an eye out for any exposed wiring.
  7. The Enjoyment

    • Once you are all done, stand back and flip the switch. The best part about a project like this is admiring your work once it’s finished. Enjoy!

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