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8 Dos and Don’ts of Hanging Outdoor Holiday Lights

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for many, that means hanging holiday lights and decorating for the season. If holiday light installation is on your to-do list, follow these dos and don’ts to help ensure the decorating process is just as fun (and safe!) as the finished light display. 

Do Use Outdoor Rated Lights

It’s important to choose lights, power cords, timers, and power strips rated for outdoor use. Outdoor-rated items are designed to withstand moisture, snow, rain, and other unpredictable environmental elements. Not selecting outdoor lights can be a safety hazard that turns the most wonderful time of the year into a not so wonderful time. 

Do Carefully Inspect Lights Before Hanging

Checking holiday lights before installing will save you the hassle and frustration of finding burnt out bulbs or non-working strands after hanging them. 

Do Use the Proper Electrical Outlets

When it comes to electrical, it’s best to err on the side of caution to prevent fires or other damage. It’s important to inspect your light strands for bare or exposed wires and discard any faulty ones. You should also pay attention when plugging in your lights to ensure there are no sparks or extreme heat at the plug, which could indicate an electrical system issue. Ensuring you plug lights into the closest GFCI outlet is also important, as if there is a power spike with the increased electrical load or a short, the outlet will automatically cut off power. Using GFCI outlets for your outdoor holiday decorations can help protect your home from an electrical fire. 

Do Take Advantage of Light Clips/Hooks

Avoid using nails or staples to secure your lights and power cords when decorating your home for the holidays. Instead, use recommended light hooks and clips to safely secure your holiday lights to your gutters, shingles, or siding. If there are areas where a specialty-designed light clip won’t work, use plastic zip ties. 

Holiday Decorated Home

Don’t Decorate Alone

Incorporate the buddy system when decorating for the holidays because it will not only help with tackling the task faster, but it is also necessary for safety reasons. There are numerous falling injuries across the country from those disregarding safety when hanging lights and decor during the holiday season. If a ladder is needed for attaching lights, ensure you choose a sturdy ladder and ask someone to help secure it to avoid an unfortunate mishap. 

Don’t Overload Your Home’s Electric Circuits

Before jumping to make your home look like the Griswold’s, remember how many power issues Clark experienced in Griswold Family Christmas. Don’t let this be you by knowing the limits of your home’s electric circuits. Check the total amps for your light strands to ensure the extension cord is rated to handle that amount, and remember that your home’s major appliances that run while the lights are on will limit the total power available for the lights. 

Another tip is to use LED lights for your holiday lights display, as they are a more energy-efficient option vs. regular incandescent lights. 

Don’t Mix Indoor and Outdoor Lights

Since outdoor lights are made for creating a beautiful display for all to see from further away, they often burn hotter than indoor holiday lights. Therefore, you should not use outdoor-rated lights for your indoor light displays. You also never want to mix the two light types for your holiday decorations. 

Don’t Improperly Store Your Lights

Untangling multiple light strands is not only frustrating but also makes hanging your lights more time-consuming. When it’s time to pack away your holiday lights, keep the strands separated by:

  • Keeping the original boxes to place them back into 
  • Neatly wrapping light strands around cardboard sheets or wood pieces
  • Using individual grocery bags to store each light strand

Proper holiday light storage is key to ensuring they do not get damaged and are ready for years to come. 

Following these dos and don’ts will make decking the halls a breeze and accident-free this year. However, consult professionals to handle the task if you need help hanging your holiday lights this year. Several local companies offer holiday light installation services. Regardless of whether you DIY install holiday lights or hire a professional, happy decorating to all!

Do you need more or less square footage to decorate for the holidays? Contact us to help find the just-right home for you and your family. 

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