Whether you’re trying to outdo the Griswolds or just decorating a tree, it pays to put some thought into hanging your holiday lights.
If you’re shopping for new string lights this year, you may be surprised at the number of choices. Besides the mini incandescent bulbs we’re all familiar with, larger C7 and C9 bulbs are good choices for outdoor shrubs and bushes where the small bulbs can get lost in the greenery. The C bulbs are also perfect if you’re trying to evoke a nostalgic feel.
LED lights are fairly new to the holiday lighting arena, but their long life and low energy use are making them popular for string lights, especially where large numbers of incandescents might overheat or overload a circuit. While they’re not quite as bright as incandescent lights, the strings usually have more lights on them to make up the difference.
The color of your lights sets the mood for your display. Clear lights are calm and mellow and are perfect for both Victorian and modern looks. A single color can make a strong statement. Just be sure it’s what you want to say! Multi-colored strands are cheerful and less formal. Don’t be afraid to mix and match, either. Clear lights can accent landscaping and are good touches year-round, while a strand of mixed colors along eaves or doorways can offer a warm welcome.
Your cords should also be chosen to match their surroundings. Green cords are the choice for most outdoor use and blend into indoor wreaths and garlands, too. If your eaves or gutters are light colored, white cords are less noticeable. And if you’re lucky enough to have an arbor or some other woody location to light, pick a brown cord to blend in with the branches. Coordinate your indoor cords to their environment, too, for a less cluttered look.
Unfortunately, holiday lighting is a major contributor to accidents and mishaps during the season, so keep your home or business safe by following a few good practices. Always inspect your light strands and fixtures for damage and discard any that show cracked insulation, loose connections, or exposed wiring. Make sure your outdoor cords are rated for that purpose and insulate connections with electrical tape to keep moisture out.
When running cords indoors, be careful to not overload a circuit, and route the cords along baseboards to eliminate trips, falls, and mishaps, especially if you have children or pets that might find them attractive playthings.
Your outdoor lights should be plugged into a nearby ground fault circuit interrupter for safety. If your outlets haven’t been upgraded to GFCI yet, call the pros at Allstar Electrical Service to do it. It’s not a major project, but because of the nature of the wiring, it’s best left to certified electricians.
Light clips can make the job of hanging strands easier and safer, both outdoors and in. And speaking of safety, always use a strong, well-made ladder when working overhead. Make sure the ladder is stable before climbing it, and never lean outside the rungs to reach things. It’s better to move the ladder a few more times than risk a trip to the emergency room.
Holiday lighting sets the mood for your home and adds charm and warmth to your festivities. A little planning and safe practices can make it easier.
The people at Allstar Electrical Services want to extend our best wishes to you and your loved ones for a wonderful and joyful holiday season. We look forward to serving your electrical needs through the remainder of the year and many more to come.
Give us a call or visit our web site, allstarelectrical.com, for any of your holiday electrical needs, and for help on your projects in the coming year.