Do you want to avoid a Christmas light disaster on par with Clark Griswold’s from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Of course. But…maybe you also want a glorious Christmas light display that’s a little like that. The good news is setting up lights can be safe if you follow the right practices
If you don’t already have an extension cord fit for outdoor use, do yourself a big favor and buy one before hanging up Christmas lights. This makes it a lot easier to avoid lighting problems, and it allows you to position lights much more efficiently to achieve the look that you want. Plus, it’s great for other projects when the Christmas lights come down.
Most stores now sell gutter and siding clips for you to hang lights from. No one these days should be trying to staple or nail their lights to the house! Not only can this cause damage, but it’s also a lot more dangerous, and can add unnecessary weight to your gutters. Just buy a set of clip instead, and designate a box to store them in for next year. These clips can also help you attach lights more reliably if you have gutter guards, but make sure you get the right kind of clips – adhesive versions work best.
The last thing you want is to get up on the ladder and have a string of lights ready to go – only to find out that half the strand doesn’t work. So, for a preliminary step, divide your lights into separate strands and test them each to see if they have any outages. If you have extra bulbs you can try to solve the problem by finding the dead bulb. However, if this doesn’t work, we suggest replacing your old, bad strands with new LED versions.
This goes along great with the previous step. Unstring and unwind your strand before you start climbing towards your roof! Oh, and when winding lights back up, you can try rolling stands into a ball with the male end of the plug-in sticking out for easy testing and unrolling next season.
Don’t overlap your lights – give more space between strands. There are many reasons to do this – you don’t want to create overheating issues, you don’t want to pile weight on your gutters and you don’t want strands to get tangled while they are on your roof or gutters.
Use common sense and practice proper safety! Always leave at least two steps on the ladder to help keep your balance. Never put up lights alone if you are climbing up high – always have a partner to keep the lights untangled and help keep you safe.
Does your roof need some work for Christmas – and maybe for spring, too? Start planning for exterior cleaning services for 2018!