As the holiday season goes full blast, so do the many activities and decorations everywhere to remind us of this extra festive celebration. Simple store fronts and homes are now bedazzled and sparkling with all colors of the rainbow as lights deck the halls (and walls). While these stunning displays of light are tantamount to the holiday spirit, so do home and business owners need to be extra wary in terms of safety. Outdoor lights are pretty, but you have to make sure they’re installed the right way to avoid problems.
Here are some tips on choosing and handling your lighting decor so this Christmas season becomes a truly merry one.
There are different types of light. Since we’re going for energy efficiency, we will talk about LED lights, which are generally classified into three: pure white, warm white and polar white. Warm white LED lights are suited for eaves and gutters, while polar whites, or those that have an icy-blue glow, are normally used to complement landscapes. Pure whites are too bright and formal to be used for your holiday decorations so steer clear of them.
There are also lights that come in reds, greens, blues and more. Multi-color strands are popular hanging from eaves, gutters or trees. C9 bulbs are perfect for outlining edges while the smaller C7 versions look stunning to frame windows. Net lights will look lovely when laid down on bushes and shrubs.
Designing Your Holiday Lights
How you display your lights and merge the colors is crucial; otherwise your home will look like a total lighted mess. Interior decorators recommend choosing a focal point in your area, such as the entryway, and then work your way outward. Before buying lights, measure all straight lines first so you can estimate how many strings of lights you will need. Also consider where you will be plugging. Check the integrity of your shingles and gutters, as well, to make sure there IS somewhere to hang them.
When you have decided on your colors, design and how much light you need, it’s time to lay them out and display. But, first, make sure that what you’re doing is according to electrical safety standards and the lights are far from potentially flammable items. Inspect all wiring before proceeding? Using lights from last year? Check them first for signs of damage, fraying and other issues. Better yet, hire a professional to make sure everything is where it should be.
Next, it’s exciting to have so many lights around the house but don’t go overboard on the plugging. Most outlets can accommodate up to 15 amps. Ideally, you should load just half of its capacity per outlet, even if you’re using energy-efficient LEDs. Outdoor lights should be placed away from ground water or any exposure to moisture. Seal connections with electrical tape so they stay dry.
Get a pro to help you consolidate the electrical source so you only need to watch one or two switches for the entire setup. That way, you don’t have to spend time and effort turning each one off every single night. Test your work also before giving it the green light. If you’re unsure about what you’re doing, get an electrician to double-check everything.
Do you need help setting your lights up this Christmas season? We’re happy to assist. Give us a call at (561) 506-0398.