Tips for outdoor Christmas lighting

It’s that time of year when everybody is decking their halls in anticipation of the holidays. After a year like 2020, more people are decorating earlier or going “all-out” with the decorations in order to spread a little badly needed cheer.  We thought we’d share some tips for lighting the outside of your home for Christmas.

Have the correct tools on hand

It’s important to make sure you have the right supplies at the ready, so do an inventory of what you already have and what you will need to get the job done.  Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a job and realizing that you need something else but you don’t have it.  Mid-task runs to the hardware store are no fun.

Here are some suggested supplies:

  • A sturdy ladder
  • Outdoor UL rated light strings. Make sure the lights are marked for outdoor use and safe to use in inclement weather.
  • Enough extension cords to get the job done. Make sure that your extension cords are also marked for outdoor use. Using lights and cords intended only for indoor use are a fire hazard. You don’t want your house to be that Christmas house fire you see on the news.
  • Insulated holders are available at hardware and home stores. Metal nails, clips, or tacks can conduct electricity and should not be used with live electrical wires. Most are made to easily clip on gutters and shingles without any damage to the home.  Of course, make sure those gutters are clean before decorating as well.
  • Find an assistant! This is one job that goes a lot more easily if you have another set of hands and eyes at your disposal.

Check the lights

This should go without saying, but we’ve all had the experience of decorating our house or tree only to plug in the lights and … nothing. One little bulb can ruin the whole thing and it is much worse to fix when everything is already positioned where you want it. Larger light sets like C7 or C9 light strings have easy-to-screw-in bulbs and are also bigger giving you a brighter display than the miniature lights.

Use the right outlet

All of this stuff is common sense, but important to not forget.  The outlet you use needs to covered and grounded.   Most porches or patios have an outdoor outlet installed that is safe to use.  If you end up having to run some lights from an indoor outlet – most likely through a window – make sure to block the window opening to minimize the cold draft and heat loss.

Tame those extension cords

Make sure you are using extension cords that are not too long and try to cover or tape down any cords running across paths or walkways.  Make sure that the connections are kept dry and away from the elements. You don’t want dangling snakes ruining the look of your work or creating a tripping hazard.

Give yourself a hand

Once you’ve got everything up and positioned as you want it, it’s time to check out your work. Turn those lights on and stand back!  Make a Clark Griswold drum roll (in your head) and be prepared to be dazzled by your efforts.  Boast to the rest of the family and then sit back and enjoy the holidays!

Flannery’s Handymen

We’re happy to share these tips with you and want you all to have a great holiday season.  Remember, if you need help and we’re able to do it, give us a call.  We’ll see what we can do for you.

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