How to Hang Christmas Lights (Safely and Easily)
Like many things in life, the ease with which you’re able to install holiday lights on your home boils down to two things: thinking the project through before you dive in and having the right tools for the job. Neither task is hard, but it can make a world of difference once you start. So here are five tips in each of those categories that will make installation go much smoother:
Right tools for the job
1. A ladder and bucket
2. Extension cords
3. A long (30 foot) measuring tape
4. LED light strings
5. Christmas light clips
Thinking things through
1. Locate your power sources
2. Measure the length of the edges or areas you want to illuminate
3. Check product details to determine how many strings you can safely connect end-to-end
4. Choose the best lights for the job
5. Use clips to achieve a professional look
The first step is to decide which areas of your home you’d like to decorate: rooflines, gutters, railings, porch eaves, stairways. Choose a ladder that will allow you to safely reach the highest part (following these ladder safety tips), and don’t forget a bucket to hang off the side so you can have all the supplies at hand. Then check and see where your power sources are. Newer homes often have more convenient outdoor outlets, while in older homes you may have to run an extension cord through a window or other opening.
The most important step to a stress-free installation is measuring. Measuring from the power source to the start of the roofline or other area where you want to hang the lights will tell you how long your extension cord(s) need to be. Measuring the length of the roofline, windows, railings, etc. will help you determine how many feet of light strings you’ll need. A long measuring tape (30 feet or longer) will help with this job.
Few people may run up against this limit, but it’s important not to overload your power source by connecting too many strings end-to-end. All our products indicate in the product details how many strings can be safely connected together (in many cases, for instance, it’s 43.)
The fun part is choosing the best lights for the job. There are so many candidates for holiday lighting: standard C7 or C9 lights, holiday mini lights, icicle lights, railing lights. Your choices will largely be based on your own preferences, and which lights are most practical for the areas you’re trying to decorate.
The key to straight and evenly spaced light displays on your roofline (as opposed to the saggy, haphazard ones) are Christmas light clips. They’re available in a wide variety of configurations and easily attach to gutters, siding and shingles. If you’re not certain which will work best on the material you’re trying to decorate, a universal clip is the most flexible choice. To achieve the most professional look, have a clip for each light and pull the string taut between clips.
If you’ve thought through these steps ahead of time, flipping the switch (ideally connected to an outdoor timer) should yield few surprises and an impressive display.