The passing of Thanksgiving brings the beginning of the outdoor holiday decorating season. I must say that driving home after stuffing myself with turkey and fixings became much more enjoyable as I passed homes with lights on the roof line, in the bushes and windows and on the front yard. This is the time of year, I love going on walks and driving through neighborhoods to see the lighting displays.
Installing outdoor holiday lights can, however, be dangerous or cause damage when done incorrectly. At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we’ve come up with the SHINE ON acronym to give hints on how to create a beautiful display without incident.
*S*ketch: Develop a plan. For our clients, we take before pictures of the property and sketch out a plan before tackling an install. Without a plan, more time is spent on ladders and roofs were injuries can occur (and more money is spent on decorations). We also suggest taking an after picture so your planning process is shorter next year.
*H*ang: Make time. If you are hanging lights, give yourself several hours of daylight to install it. Doing this after work when it’s getting or is dark isn’t safe. It will take longer than you expect if you are doing it for the first time, so don’t rush yourself.
*I*nvestigate: Test and retest. Test each string of holiday lights before attempting to hang them. I actually made this mistake last night, but luckily it was just on my Christmas tree and I wasn’t on a roof.
*N*o Shortcuts: Use the right stuff. Make sure that all of the outdoor holiday décor you are displaying is made for the outdoors (also check the extension cords you are using). It should say right on the box if it’s OK to use outside and in the winter elements. Also, make sure not to string all the lights together. Most boxes will tell you how many you can string together before the performance is an issue. If you link too many, you may blow bulbs or fuses (apparently no one told Clark Griswold about this).
*E*ncase: tape it up. Winter brings some harsh elements. Tape up connections with electrical tape so everything stays put.
*O*nly use clips. Too many homeowners use staples or nails to hang their outdoor Christmas lights. Not only will clips hold everything in place more securely, but nails and staples can cause damage to your home’s exterior.
*N*ever go solo. Not unlike any other time you are going up a ladder or on a roof, use the buddy system when installing holiday lights. One person should be on the ground making sure the ladder is steady.
And when in doubt, call in the experts. Professional holiday lighting installers will handle all parts of your design, install, take down and storage. They call also get to those hard to reach places like high peaks. If you have questions regarding holiday lighting, contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.