The Christmas holidays are the time of year my family and I love to drive around and look for the biggest and best Christmas light display! What we do not like to do is install them. Such a hassle! How many do I need? How far will one string go? What kind of lights should I use? What do I do about the one burnt out bulb? It’s all too much!
Relying on a contractor to install your Holiday Lighting may be your best bet if you find this task to be daunting. A contractor will know how to install the lights properly, how many are needed, and the tools to use and the safety precautions to take, etc. Contractors will happily buy the product for you and install it or install the product you already have… IF the product you have is safe to use. Until recently homeowners and contractors alike all used incandescent lights, which is all we had available. In recent years we have found out that they are not safe to use or cost effective; they use a ton more electricity than we should have to pay for, and there is a limit on how many strands can be connected to light up our homes and trees. The number of strands it is safe to connect together varies from type to type but in general you should only connect 5 incandescent (mini) lights together per extension cord where with LED lights you can safely connect up to 43! The amount you can string together is dependent on the voltage required to light up the type of lights. LED lights require significantly less than incandescent lights, thus why most contractors recommend them, some will only use them. Yes, you are trying to save money but the contractor is trying not to be liable for your home in the event of a fire.
Some helpful Do’s and Don’ts if you choose to install your Christmas lights yourself:
- DO plant your ladder on level ground
- DO use surge protectors and heavy duty extension cords
- DO follow the UL recommendations and instructions on the box
- DO make sure you purchase lights that are made for outdoor use and will withstand a damp/ wet environment
- DO save those bags of spare lights and replace the burnt out light ASAP
- DO consider using LED Mini, C7, and C9 lights as they require significantly less power to light up than its incandescent relative ~ saving you money and extension cords!
- DO use lighting hooks to hang them safely on gutters, shutters, etc.
- DO NOT use more amps than your breaker can handle – usually 15amps is acceptable
- DO NOT connect strands of 50 to 100’s, etc. the lesser strand will burn out because the strand of 100 is pulling/ requiring more power to operate – connect the same size strands to each other
- DO NOT connect LED and incandescent lights together- besides the obvious aesthetic reasons-
As stated above- incandescent lights require more power to operate thus drawing all of the power to itself burning out the LED strands along the way.
Rule of thumb: plan to use 100mini LED lights per 1 vertical foot of a tree
Merry Christmas and Happy Decorating!
Holiday Lighting from Four Seasons Nursery & Landscape Services.