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Beginner’s Guide to Outdoor 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 with your Christmas lights, then we have a quick guide to help you get started.

Tips for selecting your Christmas lights

The beauty of Christmas lights is that they don’t have to be perfect to create an impact, but it can be useful to start with a simple plan that includes the lights and decorations you already have on hand.  This will create a base for your design, and highlight holes where you may need to borrow or purchase lights to really create something special. This plan could be as simple as sketching a diagram, or laying out what you have roughly where you think it needs to be placed.

Our second tip would be to start at the top, the roof, and work your way down. Part of your plan will include how much surface area you want your lights to cover on the roof. Will you only be hanging lights from your gutters? Icicle lights are a great option for this, cascading down from your gutters. Do you want to string lights right across the surface area of your roof? If so, you will need to know roughly what the surface area of your roof is. Don’t forget to consider any peaks in your roof as well.

Once you have the roof sorted, work your way down the exterior of your home. If this is your first time lighting your home, try starting small, and building your collection year by year. This is also great, as it allows you to experiment, see where there might be gaps that need filling, and most of all, save you spending money in one hit on options that may not be quite right.

Some of the best home Christmas displays are full displays, so don’t be afraid to utilise space on your home exterior, as well as into your gardens, lawn and driveway!

Icicle christmas lights are ideal for roof gutters

An often overlooked tip is to check your lights before hanging. Too many of us have been caught out after hanging lights, only to find a bulb has blown! This is not such an issue in these days of LED, where blown bulbs can usually be easily replaced, however, it will make life much easier changing out these bulbs before your lights are hung!

While you are checking your lights, it is also important to check that your lights are intact. Check the plugs, leads and lamp holders to ensure your lights are in good working order and will not create any safety concerns.

Tips for hanging your Christmas lights

Select your power

Inevitably, you will need to use power boards to power your outdoor Christmas lights. Be sure to only use power boards and lights that meet Australian safety standards for outdoor use. Given the length of time your lights can often be running, and running during the sleeping hours of your day, this is a must to make sure you and your home remain safe.

A great option for outdoor lighting is solar powered lights, which don’t require any power source. If you need to use powered lights, consider using LED or extra low voltage, which will generate much less heat.

Use a ladder

It could be argued that this goes without saying, I mean how are you going to get on your roof without a ladder?! The key here is to ensure you are using your ladder safely. Check your ladder before use, and always have someone on hand should anything go wrong!

Practice ladder safety wehn installing your Christmas lights

Decide how you will hang your Christmas lights securely

There are a couple of different options to choose from when it comes to how you will attach your lights to the exterior of your home. Staple guns are common, but the easiest installation solution is plastic clips from which your lights will hang. There are user friendly, and also not a permanent installation solution that you will need to worry about removing post Christmas. There are loads of inexpensive options out there.

Beginner's Guide to Outdoor Christmas Lights - Christmas Lights

Install timers on your Christmas lights

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. It can also help to save energy, if you set it to turn off once you head to bed. Another great energy saving solution is to use LED Christmas lights. LED use up to 70% less energy than their more traditional counterparts, giving you a little more to spend under the tree!

Safety tips for Christmas lights

  • Install a safety switch and test it before setting up your lights.
  • Be careful not to overload electrical circuits with multiple high-powered lamps.
  • 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.
  • Call in the professionals to install lights to areas you are not confident or comfortable accessing.

Most importantly, get creative and have fun selecting your Christmas lights! Should you require any assistance, Rovert Lighting & Electrical can supply any electrical gear you may need to ensure your Christmas lights are fitted correctly and safely, along with some of the latest in Christmas light designs.

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