Hanging Christmas lights can be fun, but also dangerous if proper precautions are not followed.

With turkey day done the best part of the holiday season is officially upon us. For homeowners in Florida, this might not mean snow, but us Gulf Coast natives know how to keep our spirits festive and high: hanging Christmas lights!

Before you break out the garlands, strands, and cheerful outdoor light fixtures, it’s best to have a plan.

1. Be Sure You’re Using Appropriate Outlets

Over 750 civilian house fires have been reported annually through the years 2014-2017. These fires resulted in, on average, 40+ injuries, over 12 million in property damage, and three fatalities. This is per year, and the stat doesn’t even include fires caused by Christmas trees!

Safety should be the basis of any good guide covering outdoor Christmas lights. One of the points we want to stress the most is that you absolutely need to use correct outlets and circuits for your lights. For Christmas light hanging in outdoor areas, all outlets used should be 120V or higher GFCI outlets and should be on a dedicated outdoor lighting circuit. Also, avoid using extension cords when possible—extension cords are intended to be used temporarily, not for days or weeks on end.

2. Use the Right Tools and Plan Correctly for the Task

When hanging Christmas lights, you need a stable ladder that features feet that are in good condition, as well as stabilizers that anchor the ladder to your roof securely. We also recommend using Holiday light anchors or clips instead of staples or nails. These can easily create a risk of shock, and the damage done to the cables can often lead to deadlights.

With the right tools in hand, you’ll want to carefully measure where you want your lights to go. An accurate measurement can save you hours of frustration, as once the lights are properly installed it’s no small task to bring them back down. Also, remember to test your lights before you hang them! A dead bulb or strand can kill your entire setup.

3. Learn More About Christmas Bulbs

Outdoor Christmas lights come in a variety of types and sizes, and you should have at least a baseline understanding of these when you go shopping. The most common types used are:

  • C7 Christmas lights
  • C9 Christmas lights
  • Mini Christmas lights

Both C7 and C9 bulbs are larger and typically more dependable, but they also eat up tons of power and generate a large amount of heat. Mini-lights are more energy-efficient, but these are also the light types that are notorious for going dead when a single bulb burns out. Which type you choose is largely based on preference, but for safety reasons, we often suggest avoiding both C7 and C9 bulbs.

4. Use LED Holiday Lights to Your Advantage When Possible

We frequently sing the praises of LED landscape lighting, and all of them extend to holiday lighting and hanging Christmas lights. Unfamiliar with the benefits of LED lights? Here are your top reasons to make the swap this year:

  • LEDs produce almost no heat, completely removing any risk of a house fire due to bulb placement.
  • They consume a mere fraction of the energy of traditional bulbs — some use less than one-tenth of the wattage!
  • LED lights last substantially longer, and experience far fewer shorts that lead to strand death. While the initial cost of an LED strand is higher, the sheer longevity of the product will pay you back all on its own.

5. Incorporate Path and Walkway Lighting in Your Outdoor Holiday Decoration

One of the most common mistakes we see homeowners make is hanging Christmas lights all over the house and adorning the porch, but leaving the landscape completely bare. If your home is the only thing illuminated, you’re making your landscape darker by contrast. This can lead to unfortunate trips and injuries, which can be avoided by spicing up your landscape with some strategic light placement.

Elegant Accents Specializes in Outdoor Lighting in Tampa, FL

Even with a great plan and some useful tips, you might hit a snag when you start hanging Christmas lights this year. Whether you need additional outlets installed, or you require professional outdoor lighting professional to help with a fixture installation, we’re the lighting company in Tampa that you can always count on.

Learn more about hanging Christmas lights, or find a professional lighting contractor in Tampa now by calling Elegant Accents at 813-629-2228!