The weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter which must mean that the holiday season is about to get into full swing. If you haven’t done so already, its probably about the time that you normally start to decorate your house with bows, garlands and of course, Christmas lights! Before you head outside to put up your lights however, you may want to check out some of these helpful tips that will make the job go easier and have the end result looking great.
Measure and Evaluate Hanging Surfaces
Before you even take the lights and decorations out of their boxes, it’s a really good idea to determine exactly what surfaces you will be hanging lights on, and measure to see if the lights will actually fit there. There is nothing worse than being too short and having a bare spot where lights should be, or too long and having lights hanging awkwardly from your house. Practically every set of lights you will buy will have their length written on the box, so there should always be a reference for you to go on. You’ll also want to make sure you will be able to easily hang your lights so they won’t fall down during the season. The best places to hang lights are along the gutters, shingles or the roofline. Before you hang the lights, make sure you can reach the power source as well. Most homes have an outdoor power outlet, but you’ll want to double check beforehand that it is working and reachable just in case.
Get the Proper Materials
Now days there are plenty of options when it comes to the type of lights and light clips you can get for your house. It is important to make sure the lights you buy are compatible with the clips you buy. It is also equally important to make sure the clips are able to cling to whatever surface you are going to hang your lights on. Clips that hang on a gutter may not hang on shingles as easily. The staff at your local hardware or crafts store should be able to help you if you are uncertain, but there are a few things to keep in mind yourself when getting new holiday lighting equipment. Universal light clips are usually a good way to go, especially if you have newer lights at your house. Keep in mind however that older lights may not be ideal for a universal clip, so it’s best to double check first. It’s also a good idea to equip your lights with a timer. This will allow you to keep your lights from staying on too long if you forget to turn them off, which will save money and energy.
Calculate the Wattage
Most professionals will do a quick wattage count to avoid overloading a circuit before they install and turn on the lights. You can easily do this as well be simply noting the wattage of each bulb on your sting of Christmas lights and multiplying that number by the number of sockets on the string. You can then divide that number by 120 to determine the amperage of your lights. For a quick reference, keep in mind that most houses have circuits with a 15-20amp capacity. These circuits should never exceed 80% of their maximum watt capacity, meaning that a 15amp circuit that supports 1800 watts should run a maximum of 1400 watts and a 20amp circuit that supports 2400 watts should not exceed 1920watts.