The Do's and Don'ts of Outdoor Holiday Lighting
After you are done rocking around the Christmas tree and hanging your stockings by the chimney with care, it’s time to tackle the excitingly magical yet frustratingly time-consuming tradition of setting up your outdoor holiday lights. Outdoor lighting can add charm to the exterior of your home or business. Yet, before climbing that ladder, you and Uncle Fred should read over this advice to make your Christmas lighting installation easier. The following list of do’s and don’ts will help you to avoid some common issues when arranging mini light and other Christmas light strings typically used.
DO remember safety first. First, respect your ladder. While it will get you closer to the eaves of your house and onto your roof, it is also a precarious and delicate tool. Plant your ladder on the most level ground you can find and lock it in place. You should also consider grabbing someone sturdy to be your light-hanging buddy and brace the ladder while you climb. Second, use surge protectors and heavy duty extension cords to protect you and your circuits from power fluctuations or spikes in your lighting bonanza. Third, make sure the lights you are planning to use are rated for outdoor use and damp locations for when the weather turns rough. Nothing is more disheartening than spending time and effort putting up lights that quickly short out or don’t work outdoors.
DON’T throw away your extra bulbs and fuses You are going to want those later. These extra little packages of replacement bulbs and fuses are not just for a possible breakdown of your lights straight out of the box. They are also for next year when bulb #37 decides to quit. More specifically, a 50-light string from 5 years ago may draw different amperage than the 100-light string you bought yesterday. You cannot use just any spare bulb or fuse lying around. Adding a bulb or fuse with the wrong milliamp rating could cause an overload of power and pop all the fuses, blowing out the string completely.
DO buy extra bulbs and light stringsNo light string lasts forever, so when your favorite teal lights bite the dust you should have a string of that same color in reserve. In addition to having a string of extra bulbs and fuses, this tip is handy to follow in the case of LED light strings. It doesn’t matter if the LEDs came from the same manufacturer, there may be a slight color variation in the LED diodes from year to year. It is more noticeable in warm, pure, and cool white light strings. Therefore, we recommend you purchase your LED reserve strings at the same time you get the originals to maintain the color consistency.
DON’T use more lights than your circuit breaker can handle The standard each circuit breaker can handle is about 15 amps of current. Light strings only draw a few milliamps individually, but when you begin adding those strings together you could draw some serious power. More importantly, the more lights you connect end-to-end, the further the power has to travel. Eventually, you will experience a voltage drop resulting in dim or unlit bulbs towards the end of line. The number of strings you are able to safely and properly connect is greatly increased with the use of LED mini lights or C7 and C9 strings because they require significantly less power to function. However, you should always read the instructions on the maximum number of connections possible for your lights.
DO replace a burnt out bulb as soon as possible If one bulb goes out, the current for that bulb is distributed to all of the other bulbs. As other bulbs burn out, an ever-increasing amount of current is sent to the remaining lit bulbs. This strain causes the bulbs to fail at an exponential rate known as the cascading effect. You should replace a bulb as soon as you know it’s burn out, to circumvent extended maintenance time and multiple trips up the ladder. Yet another reason for the extra bulbs in your light string box.
DON’T connect Incandescent and LED mini light strings together The logic behind this advice is based on the amount of the electrical current. Incandescent light strings require a larger power current than LED strings. Connecting incandescent and LED lights one after the other will cause the power drawn by the incandescent lights to overload, and then fry, the LED strings. It is better to keep the LEDs and incandescents separate, running each out of a different outlet.
DO consider our lighting accessories for an easier installation We carry a variety of products that you need but may forget about until you’re halfway up the ladder. Our mounting clips are suitable for several types of exteriors and situations. Try the tab light clips for your shingled roof, adhesive clips, hooked clips for those tricky gutters, or all-in-one clips for a variety of applications. We even carry clips for brick walls or C7/C9 magnetic socket clips for a truly unique lighting setup. Once your lights are up a wireless controller will ensure effortless control or you can use a timer to regulate the light cycle and keep your electric bill low.
Rather than spending hours looking for that burnt out bulb, grab a light bulb tester and find it in a few minutes. There are light bulb testers available for both LED and incandescents mini light strings. Each tester can analyze and repair light strings. The LED tester even includes Keeper Pods to maintain the electrical balance of a repair string after you cut out the bad socket. When you are ready to take down your lights, proper storage is critical. A light reel is great for storing your lights with minimal fuss and a tangle-free installation next year. The reel comes with a bag to prevent discoloration and fading of your colored lights.
DO be creative There is a light string for every situation. Tree wrapping and net lights are useful for covering large areas like bushes and tree trunks. Icicle lights lend the effect of snow suspended in air, while berry lights offer unusual and whimsical lighting. Battery-operated lights are ideal in hard-to-reach places or try the ultra thin wire, InvisiLite LEDs for extra magic in you garland or wreath. During the holiday season, we like to think you can never have too many lights. Add lights to your stair railings, your fireplace mantel or windows. Put lights in vases or drape them on walls and ceilings for a unique look. Whether they are strung along fences or simply wrapped around your Christmas tree, your imagination (and several surge protectors) is the only limit to a truly glittering lighting display.
If you don’t want to fuss with mini lights this season, try reading our article, The Perfect Rope Light, as an alternative to traditional lights. You may also visit our website and browse the extensive Christmas décor section. Your questions on purchasing mini lights, suggestions for budget-friendly Christmas themes, or comments on how to tell if your friend is ready to be upgraded to “ladder-holding” status, can be directed to area below. We have even more Christmas lighting images and advice on our Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. Here at 1000Bulbs.com, the staff remains on call, striving to prevent holiday lighting hoaxes, Season’s Greetings setbacks, and Christmas catastrophes.