When we hear the term Christmas display or Holiday Lighting, some of us (who are old enough to remember) think of the Griswold’s. The infamous family in the National Lampoon’s vacation film series, “Christmas Vacation”. If the thought of 20+ foot ladders and touching electricity leaves you more than frazzled — consider having your Christmas Lights professional installed by DFW Christmas Lights. If you want to brave it on your own here are a few notes to help you out.
#1 Above all else—Be Safe!
At DFW Christmas Lights, we want you to have the holiday display you want–whether it be just a little or full out Griswold’s lights. The most important thing we want to remind you of is to be safe.
- Don’t skimp on things like cords, use the properly approved extension cords, timers, lights, etc., and always plug them into an electrical outlet protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI. For more on GFCIs please click here.
- Remember that your lights will most likely get wet and will be exposed to the elements, so always use lights that are UL approved for indoor/outdoor use.
- If your lights trip a breaker or your GFCI, don’t just flip it back; reduce the load of that circuit by plugging some of your light strings into another outlet, and wait until you are sure that the devices are dry before you switch them back on.
- Ladder safety: You should never install Christmas Lights alone, especially if you are using a ladder that is more than 6′ tall. Make sure you have someone footing your ladder and watching out for your safety. It’s rare that you can open up your ladder on a level surface when you are in your landscape beds. Sometimes the ground in uneven, there are usually shrubs or plants in the way and there is a good chance that you may overextend yourself to reach things that your ladder can’t get you to.
#2 Buy the right lights in the right amount
With the exception of icicle lights, mini lights are almost never used on roofs as they simply don’t put off enough light. For roof lines, windows, flower beds, pathways and any other architectural places I recommend using C7 or C9 bulbs with 12″ spacing. These are what you would normally see on houses. If you are buying sets from a retail store chances are the wire will be 25′ long and will have to be connected end to end. Here are a few notes on lights.
- Buy commercial grade if you can find it: Some of the box stores will have “commercial” sets available. Although these are typically inferior to what we would use in the industry it will be better than the lower quality sets.
- Read the directions: You can only connect the amount of sets together the manufacture specifies. They are not making a suggestions, you lights will not work properly if you do not follow the directions.
- Make sure your connections stay dry. Water and electricity do not mix. Be sure to cover any exposed electrical connections.
- Pay attention to wire size (gauge) and ampacity. The smaller the amount of copper the less footage you will be allowed to run.
- Consider LED lights. You can run up to 10x the amount of lights together and it’s more energy efficient.
For part II of this article please click here.
Please check out our archives and recent post for more information on Holiday Lighting.
DFW Christmas Lights and The Outdoor Lighting Expert are owned and operated by Dallas Curb Appeal Inc., a full service landscape contractor.