It begins to look a lot like Christmas when twinkling lights brighten up homes inside and out. Few things liven up the season more than holiday decorations, particularly clear and colored lights hanging from your gutters and windows.
But prior to taking out the lights, ladder, and thermos of coffee to get you through the job, it’s important to note that there are right and wrong ways to hang holiday lights from your home and landscape.
Sketch out your plan
Start by taking a few photos of your home from various vantage points. Print out the photos on regular paper so that you can draw your lighting arrangement and decoration placement right on the photos to see how things will look. This will help you get a better idea of the scope of the project and what you’ll need.
Measure the area
Use a measuring tape to roughly measure the width and height of eaves or other areas of the home where you plan to hang light strands. Calculate how much overall footage you will need so you can purchase all of the lights in one shopping trip.
Test the lights first.
Plug in the lights to be sure all strands are operational. There’s nothing worse then getting on the roof only to realize your lights aren’t working.
Begin where the lights will be plugged in
Start where the lights will be plugged in and then work your way around the house.
Add to shrubs and trees
Lights also can adorn shrubs and trees. According to Lowes Home Improvement, a good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every 1.5 feet of tree or shrub to cover. A 6-foot evergreen needs at least 400 lights for a basic level of lighting.
Exercise extreme caution
Accidents can happen when stringing lights. While many professionals use harnesses, homeowners are not always so cautious. It’s imperative to utilize a spotter to hold the ladder and make sure things are safe. Never set foot on a wet or icy roof and never attempt to string lights in inclement weather.
Know the wattage
Each outlet can generally hold about 17 amps or 1,870 watts if the lights are not sharing a circuit with another outlet. Plan accordingly to ensure you have enough power to handle your lights.
Use plastic clips
Plastic light clips hang strands along eaves and gables. They’re specially designed for hanging lights over the gutters. Some slip under the edges of roof shingles. Lights can be hung without staples or nails, which can damage exterior surfaces. Plastic zip ties or deck clips also can attach lights along a handrail.
Use only outdoor extension cords
Be sure the extension cords you use are designed specifically for outdoor use.
Use a timer
Timers can make sure the lights turn on and off even if homeowners forget.
Once lights have been safely strung, sit back and enjoy the splendor of a well-decorated house. And remember to always be safe while on a ladder or roof.
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