Tips For Hanging Your Outdoor Holiday Lights

 Daryl Gentry

 November 29, 2021

It's that time of year again—time for holiday cheer, warm apple cider, hot cocoa, Christmas lights, and all things merry.

Countless people around the country are planning on hanging Christmas lights from their banisters, trees, and their roof.

But before you drag your extension ladder out into the bitter cold to hang your lights, know that there is an easy way to hang your lights.

If you've never hung Christmas lights before, the following article has some tips and tricks on the best ways to hang your outdoor holiday lights.

After reading, you will be able to decorate the exterior of your home and have it looking holiday-ready in no time.

Read on for useful tips for hanging outdoor Christmas lights this holiday season.

Design a Lighting Plan

The first thing you need to do is have a plan in place.

Whether you want to make the evening news with a winter wonderland, or if you're going for a minimalist look, you should always know what you're doing before you climb the ladder.

Sketch out on paper what you're going to do, or at least make a list of the lights you will use and where you're going to hang them.

This is also good to do before you get to the store because it will be harder to make decisions once you're surrounded by string lights, icicle lights, and all the other Christmas decorations.

Take a few pictures of the front of your house. Viewing your home from this perspective will help you make sense of your design from the vantage point of the people who will be seeing it.

Consider your house in its entirety. You'll want some lights along your roof, but don't forget your porch window frames, trees, and other areas of your yard.

Sketch out where your power source is as well.

Measure Your Home for Holiday Lights

If this is your first-time hanging lights, you want to take measurements of your home so you know how many lights you're going to need.

You don't want to be in a situation where you start hanging your lights and realize you only have enough for half of your house.

Then take note of where your outlets are and decide if you'll need to run extension cords from an outlet to where your lights will be hanging.

You can also plug in your lights before you start hanging them so you can watch your design unfold as you go. This also ensures you'll never end up with your light strand too far from an outlet.

Test Your Lights

You should test new lights, but testing your lights is very important if you're using lights from previous years.

Plug in each strand individually to make sure they all work.

The last thing you want to do is spend hours hanging lights to find out that they don't work.

Ensure Lights Are for Outdoor Use 

This is a simple mistake to make.

When you're buying your lights, make sure they say they are made for outdoor use.

Outdoor lights will withstand various elements like rain, snow, and below-freezing temperatures that indoor lights can't handle.

You don't want to accidentally hang indoor lights outside and have them ruined in a week or so.

You may also want to look for the label "UL" on the box you're thinking of purchasing because this tells you they were tested for safety by Underwriters Laboratories.

Use Gutter Clips for Easy Hanging

Now you need to decide what tools and hooks you will need to hang Christmas lights.

Omni clips are a very popular choice.

These clips clamp onto gutters, bricks, or they can slide under roof shingles to hold your lights securely in place.

You can also use power stakes. Power stakes bring power to where you need it, so you don't have to litter your yard with power cords.

For added convenience, find power stakes that have timers and remote controls.

Collect Excess Wire for Even Spacing 

Most, if not all, light strands come with about a foot of excess unlit wire.

This allows you to loosely roll up and clip the extra cord into one of the clip's unused portions and roll the wire, so the spacing between the lights is even.

Wrap Lights Around Handrails and Secure Them With Deck Clips

Don't forget to decorate your railings by winding the lights around the handrail or use a deck clip for a perfectly straight line of lines.

Deck clips are designed in a way that allows them to securely grip a standard handrail and support a string of lights.

You can also use plastic zip-ties to attach light strands to railings and balusters.

Secure Lights On Tree Branches

If you have one, use a light hanging pole to hang lights from high tree branches.

It's dangerous to climb out onto branches to hang your lights, especially in frigid temperatures.

Light poles allow you to stay planted safely on the ground to slip strands over and around the branches in your trees.

Use Outdoor Extension Cords To Plug In Your Lights

Just like indoor lights, you shouldn't use an indoor extension cord outside.

To secure your lighting, even more, wrap some duct tape around the plug-ins where the cords connect.

This reduces your chances of moisture getting into the plug and blowing a fuse or breaker.

Turn on the Lights 

The moment we've been waiting for, it's time to turn on your lights.

Plug your lights into your outdoor extension cord and plug your extension cord into an outdoor outlet.

It's preferable to use an outlet with an on/off switch, an automatic timer, or one that can be controlled by an app, but any outlet will be fine.

But always plug your lights into a GFCI-protected outlet.

GFCI outlets help prevent shock due to moisture and other common causes of short circuits.

Additional Tips

  • Use a timer. Unless you want your lights left on all night, use a timer to automate your Christmas lights. You can program them to turn on at dusk and then turn off a few hours later. Your electricity bill will thank you.
  • Use LED bulbs to help save money on your utility bill. Speaking of your energy bill, LEDs use less energy than incandescent lights and are just as attractive. LED lights can also eliminate any anxiety you have surrounding one bad light ruining an entire strand.
  • Properly Store Your Lights. The best thing you can do for your lights is store them properly until you're ready to use them again. When stored correctly, you will save hours of your life sorting tangled Christmas lights. When you take your lights down in the new year, wind them around large cans, like a coffee can, before storing them away. This makes it exponentially easier to unwind next Christmas.

Safety Matters

You aren't going to enjoy your Christmas lights if you're celebrating Christmas from the hospital, so always be as safe and cautious as possible when hanging your lights.

Make sure your lights and extensions cords are in good shape. Make sure there are no exposed wires, broken sockets, or any other safety hazards present when you hang your lights.

When planning your lighting, ensure all cords are kept away from snow and water and don't create any tripping hazards.

Contact TK Roofing and Gutters

Sometimes when you're up on your roof trying to hang outdoor Christmas lights, you might notice something about your roof that's not quite right.

Maybe it's a curled shingle, missing shingles, or maybe there's something wrong with your gutters.

No matter what the issue is, your roof is one of the most important parts of your home.

That's why you should only trust your roof to be inspected and repaired by the best-certified roofer in your area.

TK Roofing and Gutters have been providing homeowners with the roofing solutions they need since 2007 using the latest roofing technology.

They can inspect and repair traditional roofs, metal roofs - whatever you need.

If you need to get your roof checked out, click the button below to contact TK Roofing and Gutters for more information and schedule your Free Estimate.

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