Tips for Hanging Outdoor Holiday Lights

Planning and safety are key to hanging outdoor holiday lights.

It's that time of year when we decorate our homes for the holidays. If your neighbors go all out for Christmas, it can feel like you have to keep up with a dazzling display of holiday lights. To create a look you love safely, with the right supplies and the right tools, follow these tips. 

1. Plan it our first - Too often, home owners focus on just one area of the yard, which leads to an imbalanced display. To streamline your holiday lighting, take a step back and first plan it out. Combine lighting elements on your lawn and on the roof line, or in both your front and back yards, to create a balance that has just the right wow factor. Do you envision glowing icicles dripping from the eaves? Do you want Santa and his elves on your front lawn? Draw up a master plan and list all of the lights and equipment you will need to bring your vision to life. 

2. Use the right outlet - A covered, GFI-protected outdoor outlet is a must for installing holiday lights outside. If you don't have one, have an electrician install one (or more). If you are installing a lot of lights, calculate the wattage per outdoor outlet by multiplying the amps (written on your breaker box) by 120, which is the number of volts that can pass through the outlet. You may need more outdoor outlets than you already have for safety's sake; if so, have them installed.

3. Use plastic clips to secure lights - Instead of nailing lights to the walls or the roof line, use plastic clips. These secure the lights so they will not blow about in winter winds. Unlike nails, the plastic clips cause no damage to your home. 

4. Don't exceed your limit - Many homeowners who get injured hanging holiday lights do so when they exceed their limits, whether climbing onto a tree limb that cannot hold their weight or hanging off a roof stringing lights. Climb only as far as you feel comfortable using the equipment you have; never climb on snowy or icy terrain. Never endanger yourself for the sake of a holiday display. You can always hire professionals to help you hang your lights. 

5. Use LED lights and timers to reduce the cost - Not only are LED lights environmentally friendly and long lasting, they are cheaper to run since they use less electricity. Switch to LED lights to save money; put all your lights on a timer to reduce the cost of lighting your home or the holidays. 

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