Our How-To Guide To Light Up Your Holidays

  • Blue Collar Electricians
  • November 14, 2017

Outdoor holiday lighting has been taken to the next level.
In Cleveland, to see really great holiday lights meant a drive to Public Square or Nela park to check out the holiday displays.  Sure, your town might have a department store with a string of lights around the window, or perhaps a tree lit up on the back corner of the store, but lighting displays outside of the big city weren’t nearly as spectacular.

Fast forward to 2017.
There are entire television series dedicated to holiday lighting displays.  Entire neighborhoods pool their resources together to create winter wonderlands for their families.  Lights dance from rooftop to rooftop to the rhythm of holiday classics.  It is commonplace for your community to transform into the North Pole as soon as you finish doing the dishes on turkey day, if not before.  Outdoor holiday lighting is truly a lifestyle.

With that said – you have to be careful when getting your home ready for the holidays.
To mention Clark Griswold here would be trite, and we’ve already thrown him into a few blog articles as is, but we’re sure you get the drift (snow pun intended!).  He is the poster boy for how not to do things when it comes to holiday lighting.  So rather than focus on getting it wrong, here’s how you get it right when it comes to outdoor holiday lighting safety:

Don’t String It Along.
Listen, we know that each strand of holiday lights can be connected to another strand for infinity and that would seem to indicate that you should be able to wrap your entire house in twinkling lights and then just plug the whole thing into one outlet.  Energy Today gives some awesome advice that makes a lot of sense: Check the box! LED lights use less wattage than traditional incandescent bulbs. Theoretically, depending on what else you have running on the circuit, you can run around 100 strings of LED lights on a traditional circuit vs. 10 strings of traditional lights.  With that said, check the manufacturer’s suggestions, and when in doubt, less is better.

Use Lights Made to Light Up The Night.
You can’t take the holiday lights that you use on your indoor tree and hang them outside on the porch.  They aren’t the same.  Outdoor lights are UL rated for outdoor use.  The coating on the cable is thicker and water resistant and made to handle the elements.  If you use an indoor string outside, you run the risk of electrocution or starting a fire.  You can use outdoor lights inside, but never the opposite.

The Same Thing Goes For Extension Cords.
Don’t be fooled by the color of the cord.  Not all orange extension cords are safe for outdoor holiday lighting, and not all outdoor lighting extension cords are bright orange.  You can find really good, durable outdoor extension cords that are green or brown that won’t upset the aesthetics of your holiday display.

Be Careful With That Staple Gun!
There is something fun about attacking your home with a staple gun as you hang your holiday lights. But as much as we like to feel the power of the staple gun as it thunders through the wall to hold the string in place if that staple goes through the string rather than around it, you can puncture the cable and ruin its weatherproofing abilities. Gutter clips are a great option, as are inexpensive lighting hooks.  Just be careful on that ladder.

It all starts with your outdoor receptacles.  Contact Blue Collar Electricians today and let us assess your outdoor lighting capabilities.  We can add extra outlets and receptacles if need be, to ensure that your house exudes that holiday spirit all winter long.