Safely Hang Your Christmas Lights
‘Tis the season to deck the halls with jolly! One of the most magical times of the year where you can take late night drives with the family throughout neighborhoods in your area and see the beauty of glittering Christmas Lights on display against the night sky. While we love the festive glow homes have this time of year; we know those lights don’t hang themselves! Hanging Christmas Lights come with risks, from falling off the ladder to an electrical fire but, don’t be scared, with our tips below you’ll be decking the halls with jolly like Santa himself.
Buying New Christmas Lights?
Big-box stores like Walmart or Home Depot have a vast variety of holiday lights to choose from every holiday season, which can make the selection process feel overwhelming. They break holiday lights down into three major categories; Light Technology, Light Style, and Light Color. Each category presents consumers with different options to consider. Picking the right style also depends on the look you’re going for, along with your budget and energy requirements.
If you have to purchase new lights, a simple trick to saving money is to purchase shorter strands of lights rather than the longer ones. They’re less expensive and easier to replace, just in case any of the lights stop working. With a female end on one side and a male port on the other, joining strands together is easier than ever too!
Helpful tip: Traditional bulbs may be bigger but, they also use more wattage and reach higher temperatures. Consider using LEDs or mini lights instead- lower wattages, and no hot temperatures.
Prep Work: Set yourself up for success.
Well before hanging Christmas Lights, you have to do the worst part of the entire process: find them, untangle them and check that bulbs are working. Replace any dead bulbs and check all cords for fraying. A frayed cord puts your home at risk of an electrical fire. It’s not worth trying to patch it, just throw it away!
We suggest measuring and mapping out where you want your lights hung on your home, remember to include windows, doors, trees, and any other places lights will be displayed. Then calculate the total number of light strands needed for complete coverage.
Lastly, verify their safety rating. You can find these safety ratings on both the packaging and the labels attached to the strands. Christmas Lights that are tested and rated by Intertek (ETL Semko) or Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) are ready to be hung, and any other should be considered a fire hazard.
Helpful Tip: Know the lights amp rating. The rule of thumb; Don’t load a circuit over 80 percent. For example, a 20-amp circuit can safely handle 16 amps, and a 15-amp circuit can safely handle 12 amps.
Additional Christmas Lights Hanging Safety Tips
- When you’re ready to hang lights, pick a day that isn’t too cold or wet outside. Avoid risk, stay away from climbing a slippery ladder onto a wet roof.
- Ensure you’re using your Christmas Lights as directed. Don’t use indoor lights outside.
- Be mindful of where you have hung your lights. Avoid power lines, space heaters, candles, fireplaces, and any other area that can be considered a fire hazard. And ensuring bulbs with higher temperatures aren’t too close to paper or other flammable objects.
- If possible, never hang Christmas Lights alone. Ask a friend or a family member to assist you while hanging lights and other holiday decorations from a roof or ladder. Always ensure the ladder is secure and on level ground before stepping on it. Extend the top of the ladder 3ft past the edge of your roof and never use the top to rungs of the ladder as steps.
- For every 4ft of ladder height, move the base of your ladder 1ft away from the base of your home. Stay centered between rungs and never overreach to hang lights. Climbing down and moving the ladder as you go.
- Never use tacks, staples, or nails to hang your lights. You risk tearing or piercing the protective insulation and possibly creating a fire hazard. Rather, use clips that are specifically designed to clip on your gutter or roof edge and hang your lights.
- Don’t let extension cords ruin all your hard work. Ensure you have enough and they’re long enough, you want to avoid linking too many together. Also, verify their wattage limits so you don’t overload them, and be mindful of their location so they don’t pose a tripping hazard. And just like with lights, only use outdoor extension cords outdoors.
Now that you have your Christmas lights hung up safely, you can finally relax and enjoy the display.
What’s your favorite style of Christmas lights? Tell us in the comments below!