With the holidays fast approaching, it’s never too early (or late) to start the decorating process, especially outside your home! If you like having Christmas lights lining your eaves and windows, and draped on your trees and shrubbery, it’s a good idea to install them early before the buildup of snow and ice makes it harder to do so. Once they are up safely you can then leave them there until you decide to turn on the light switch!
Here are some tips to help get you started…
1) Buying lights - Opt for shorter rather than longer light strings. That way, if a string stops working, you can replace it more easily and affordably.
2) Locate an electrical receptacle - Plan to run heavy-duty extension cords from a working 120-volt electrical outlet protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Ideally, use a switch-controlled outlet, or plug the lights into an automatic timer. Both the receptacle’s circuit and the timer must be rated to handle the combined amperes of all the light strings. Do not use an indoor timer outdoors.
3) Test the lights – Before you put them up on your eaves or roof, it is a lot easier and safer to replace any burnt out or broken bulbs on the ground or in the warmth of your home as opposed to outside in cold weather on a ladder.
4) Set up a ladder - If your home’s eaves are low, you may be able to use a stepladder; otherwise, plan to use an extension ladder. Place it firmly on flat ground and, extending it well above the eaves, lean it against the eaves at an angle that will be comfortable and safe to climb—neither too steep nor too flat. Pro Tip - If you must lean the ladder against the gutter, place a short piece of 2 by 4 inside the gutter to reinforce it.
5) Hang the lights along the eaves - Your objective is to hang lights as easily and safely as possible without marring your home’s trim or walls. For attaching lights along gutters or the roof, use plastic clips made for the job - these grip shingles or gutters and have a lower hook that holds a light strand or extension cord. Space the clips out about 12 inches apart or as recommended by the manufacturer.