Beginners Guide to Christmas Lights

Some people are happy with string LED lights lining the roof or windows, but if you want to create a more dramatic effect than we have a quick guide to help you get started.

Plan

Make sure you plan your design to take advantage of the relevant equipment you have, to complete the task to its full potential.  Outdoor Christmas decorating begins at the top, the roof. It’s helpful to sketch out a diagram of your house, and then start planning the lights you would like to install.

Then it’s time to work out how many lights you have or will require to complete your design. If you have peaks in the roof, it may be best to check these individually to get an accurate measurement.  After you have measured and found out how much distance you want your lights to cover, then you need to choose your wattage. If you have a larger area to cover with few outlets, perhaps choosing an LED string light would be the best option for your project as they can be interconnectable.

If you’re a novice, perhaps start small by adding a couple of elements and growing your display each year.

The Best Roof Lights for your Gutters

Beginners Guide to Christmas Lights - Christmas Light

Icicle Lights

These are a classic and very popular choice. They look great from roof awnings, and peaks as they naturally cascade down.  Icicle lights are available in a variety of colours.  White and Blue are a great combination

C7 & C9 Bulbs

C7 are the more classic bulb, with the C9 being a little larger. They are perfect for creating a bold look, which can be seen from a distance. These lights can be installed relatively easily, and you can connect set after set, so they are perfect when larger areas need to be covered. The have removable bulbs for ease of maintenance.  Usually available in either coloured or white. C7 are popular choices for highlighting a tree and C9 are extremely popular for hanging on roof tops.

Tips and Tricks

Power

Only use power boards and lights that are meet Australia safety standards for outdoor use. Some lights that are suitable for outdoor use may require a transformer to be located indoors and away from the effects of weather. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Consider using solar powered lights, LED or extra low voltage, as these can be the safest options, to prevent electric shocks, and fires from overheating.

Beginners Guide to Christmas Lights - Christmas Light

Ladder

Use a sturdy ladder and enlist yourself a helper to assist in keeping the ladder steady whilst you are up on high.

Beginners Guide to Christmas Lights - Christmas Light

Clips

There are a couple of different options to choose from when it comes to the clips you will need to keep the lights in place. Vertical or Horizontal, some clips will allow you to hang your lights in both directions, while others only have the one option.

Beginners Guide to Christmas Lights - Christmas Light

Lights

Before using last year’s Christmas lights, unravel them and look at the plug, leads, lamps holders to check that there has been no damage during storage. Test all lights before installing, and replace any burned out lights. Burned out lights can cause the whole string of lights to appear dimmer as they can drain the energy.

LEDs last two to three-times longer than incandescent bulbs and use up to 10% of the electricity cost to power.  There are many different styles of holiday lights available in an LED.

Christmas Light timers

If you would like you lights to come on automatically even when you are not home, then using a weatherproof timer is an ideal solution. Using a light timer can save energy and lower your power bill. They are available for indoors and outdoors and can even be found with a light sensor that automatically turns on when it gets dark.

Safety Tips

These tips can help make sure you are setting up your Christmas decorations safely.

  • Install a safety switch and test it before setting up your lights. If you don’t have a safety switch, use a portable safety switch.
  • Using multiple high-powered lamps may overload your electric circuits.
  • Use power boards fitted with over-load protection.
  • Avoid using double adaptors or piggyback plugs.
  • Use factory-made extension leads or those made by a licensed electrical contractor.
  • Check decorative lighting and all leads for damage. Never use a damaged lead.
  • Always unwind extension leads to avoid possible overheating.
  • Use extra-low voltage outside, such as LED or solar lights.
  • If you must use outdoor electrical connections, make sure all electrical connections are weatherproof. You can buy weatherproofing accessories to do the job.
  • Use decorative lights for the right purpose – outdoor lights for outdoor areas, indoor lights for indoor areas.

If you don’t feel confident or have much experience on a roof then its best to limit yourself to eaves, gables and the edges.  If you would like more lights on the actual roof, then its best to call in a professional to assist.

Rovert Lighting and Electrical have lighting experts available to answer any questions you may have, so please give them a call on 02 4952 5600.