If you’re among the two-thirds of Americans who decorate their homes with electric lights for the holidays, it’s important to light up your home efficiently so you can be festive without draining your wallet. Even more importantly, you need to install lights safely so the best intentions don’t turn into a trip to the emergency room. Here’s what you need to know.
Lighting Up the Holidays Efficiently
You don’t have to be like Scrooge and keep your house dark this holiday season just to save energy. With the right tips, you can create a festive display with little difference to your energy bills:
- Hang LED lights: Incandescent strands of Christmas lights were once the norm, but these days, energy-efficient LED lights are the way to go. Instead of wasting energy by giving off a lot of heat, LED lights remain cool to the touch and use 80 to 90 percent less energy. They also glow brilliantly even in bitter cold weather and last much longer than incandescent lights. This means your investment will serve you well for many Christmases to come.
- Set an automatic timer: Connect strands of lights to a timer plugged into an exterior power outlet. Set the timer to turn on the lights automatically when the sun goes down and back off around midnight. This tactic saves you the hassle of turning the lights on and off yourself and conserves energy compared to leaving them on 24 hours a day.
- Limit your use of lights: A few classy strands along the roofline or adorning the bushes out front look beautiful without being over the top. A few strands of lights inside look beautiful too, but don’t forget the garlands, bows, tinsel and ornaments that require no electricity for you to enjoy.
Lighting Up the Holidays Safely
Keep the holidays merry and bright with these safety tips for hanging Christmas lights:
- Don’t string too many lights together: Overloaded circuits are a major cause of house fires during the holidays. If you need dozens of light strands to complete your display, spread them out across multiple power outlets on different circuits to prevent an overload.
- Use the right extension cords: Any cords used outside must be rated for exterior use. Also, make sure the amperage rating of the extension cords matches the power needs of the electrical products. Opt for heavy-duty extension cords and inspect them for damage before plugging anything in.
- Inspect outdoor outlets: These should be protected by ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs, which turn off automatically if water makes contact. If you’re not sure whether your exterior outlets are GFCIs, have a professional take a look before setting up your lights display.
- Choose a sturdy ladder: Before installing lights along the roof, inspect the ladder you plan to use. Make sure there are no loose or missing screws, bolts or nuts. Opt for a wood or fiberglass ladder, since metal ladders conduct electricity and could create a safety hazard.
- Take measures to protect cord insulation: Plan to attach strands of lights securely to trees, shrubs or your house to protect against wind damage, but be careful not to damage the cord’s insulation. Also, make sure no light strands or extension cords get pinched in windows, doors or under heavy furniture.
- Hire a professional to install your lights: If you want the perfect holiday lights display for your residential or commercial property, but you’re not up for installing it yourself, contact The Grounds Guys® to get the job done. We can help you achieve whatever look you’re going for while you remain safely and comfortably at ground level.