8 DIY Tips for Hanging Outdoor Christmas Lights


 

Clark Griswold Christmas Vacation‘Tis the season for hot chocolate, candy canes, and, of course, decorating. While the rest of your family can sit near the fireplace hanging ornaments and garland and whatever else they can string up on the Christmas tree, you’ve been given the task of putting up the holiday lights (and that ridiculous inflatable snowman).

Before you get bundled up and grab your tools and ladder, take some time to go through the checklist below, courtesy of Pat Curry for House Logic. You might just save yourself time and a whole lot of aggravation. Have a Happy Holiday!

  1. Inspect light stings. Curry recommends inspecting light strings and discarding any that are damaged (e.g. frayed or cracked electrical cords or broken sockets).
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting multiple strings. Curry says the general limit is three strings. Light strings with stacked plugs can usually handle greater lengths.
  3. Replace burned-out bulbs promptly. Curry says that empty sockets can cause the entire string to overheat.
  4. Make sure outdoor lighting is UL-rated for exterior use. Curry says outdoor lights and extension cords need to be weather-resistant.
  5. Don’t use outdoor lights indoors. Outdoor lights are too hot for interior use. Use LED lights which have the coolest bulbs, greatest energy efficiency, and come in a wide variety of colors and styles.
  6. Don’t attach light strings with nails or staples. Nails and staples can cut through wire insulation and create a fire hazard, says Curry. Use UL-approved hangers instead.
  7. Take exterior lights down within 90 days. The longer you leave them up, says Curry, the more likely they are to be damaged by the weather or critters.
  8. Store lights safely. Curry recommends coiling each string loosely around a stiff piece of cardboard, wrap it in plastic to protect the bulbs, and store it in a sturdy container. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. For extra tips on hanging your holiday lights up, check out this video from Howcast!


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