How To Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors

tech lighting How To Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors

tech lighting How To Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors

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Stepping back and looking at your house will allow you to view it in its entirety—house, yard, porch, etc., along with…MORE rooflines, windows and other architectural details that you might want to outline in lights. Taking a photo will enable you to make a rough sketch of where you want to hang your Christmas lights and display holiday decorations and yard props.

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Locate the power sources nearest the roof line. It will probably be on the porch, as most houses do not have a power outlet near the roof. You’re going to need at least one good extension cord. Select an exterior cord which is compatible with your lights, and with the weather it will endure.

If you have a porch light that’s shielded from the elements, you may be able to insert a socket adapter that places a power socket between the fixture and the lamp. If you have an exterior outlet somewhere on the house, install your extension cord from the outlet to the roof line keeping the cord as close to the building as possible.

Be sure the outlet is protected from rain, snow and sprinklers.

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Walk around your neighborhood. Borrow ideas that catch your fancy, but avoid copying another house exactly. That won’t look good for either house. If you’re new to the neighborhood, visit with your neighbors and find out what people generally do for holiday lighting.

You may discover that your street is the street to visit during Christmas, and that everybody goes overboard on lighting.

“Whoever invented plastic light clips needs their own shrine in the Holiday Hero Hall of Fame,” he writes. “Thankfully, these devices replaced the old hammer-and-nail-on-the-roofline technique several years ago. They can, quite frankly, take hours off your installation and takedown time.”

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Tips for Using Brick Clips and Gutter Clips to Hang Christmas Lights

Three Parts:Choose a Suitable Lighting DisplayPreparing the Lighting and Display AreasPut Up the LightingCommunity Q&A

Go crazy! If you’re really after an eye-grabbing lighting display, consider hooking up a control system to make your Christmas lights flash to music.

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A glue gun is a useful tool to have around when crafting holiday decor. A glue gun and glue sticks provide a semi-temporary option for attaching lights to the brick face. Hot glue resists the elements and adheres very well to concrete, brick, and stucco. Before using hot glue on stucco, make sure the stucco is not Styrofoam-backed, because hot glue can melt this material.This option is great for those who go all out on their Christmas light display using curtain lights, white icicle lights, and more. The hot glue offers a range of choices when planning the display. Hot glue is easy to use and easy to remove when the holiday season ends. To hang bulb or globe string lights, carefully apply the glue to the light socket of the light, and hold it in place with the lights facing the same direction until it bonds. When hanging LED lights, rope lights, or string lights, apply glue to Christmas light clips and hold in place until they bond, and then hang the lights.

When starting out, it’s best to hang lights on one area of your house, like the roofline, or outlining the front door or windows. Add a section each year, rather than all in one season.

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Oh—and the manual is for men and women alike—don’t be discouraged by that title!

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Lawn ornaments (snowmen, Santa, deer) are clever and eye-catching. Be very careful, especially if you have a small yard; it fills up quickly. Keep the safety of your own children and your visitors and guests in mind.

A maze of electrical cords hidden in the yard can be hazardous to people and pets. Beware of lead exposure. There is some lead in the PVC insulation material used on most Christmas light wires. If you are concerned about exposure to small amounts of lead, wash your hands after handling the lights—or wear rubber gloves.

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When buying light strands, look for a box marked for “indoor / outdoor use.” Why? They are made to withstand the elements. You don’t want the more-fragile indoor tree lights decorating something outside, only to have it stop working in a week or two. Also use lights that are UL listed (Underwriters Laboratories).

Remember: Do not mix LEDs with incandescent strands on the same circuit.

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While the traditional method of installing…MORE holiday lights was to use nails or to attach cords with a staple gun, try to avoid doing it this way, even if your father, grandfather or Mr. DIY Handyman neighbor insists that’s the only way to hang lights. Plastic light clips make the job so much easier.

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Clamp plastic clip onto rain gutter, eaves, siding or railing to hang light strands. These flexible plastic clips can hold any type of light strand, including icicles and the larger C7 and C9 bulbs. Because they aren’t hard plastic, these all-in-one plastic light clips should hold up for a few years or so.

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See that roof gutter with the leaves and debris? While not worthy of Santa’s Clogged and Dirty Roof Gutter…MORE List, it could definitely be cleaned out, along with the downspouts—preferably before the lights are attached. This should be done before attaching the lights.

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Time to deck the halls, walls, mantles, and trees, and best of all, hang up the Christmas lights! Decorating the outside of your house will show your Christmas cheer to your neighbors and passersby. It’s also a chance to show off your house a little. With some patience and a bit of creativity, you’ll have a house that outshines all the others.

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You might be using too much energy to charge the lights. Try reducing the number of Christmas lights per power source.

Get some inspiration. If you’re short on ideas, do a search on Google, or browse through a few magazines for ideas that may be suitable for your own use.

After completing the roof line, decorate the other elements of your home. Columns: Combining the light strings with holiday garland (natural or artificial) will enable you to wrap a column (barber pole style) with ease.

The additional bulk of a garland will help avoid slippage of the light strings and add a little pizazz, too! If you need a little adhesion, space and hide small pieces of removable tacky clay behind the string garland.

Removable tacky clay is available at reputable craft or hardware stores. Porch Railing: Open baluster style: Using the same barber pole technique with garland, loop the light strings over and under the railing.

Secure it as needed with removable tacky clay. Porch Railing: Along the top of the porch enclosure (one that is like a ½ wall) use the rubber or plastic, peel and stick fasteners that were used along the roof line.

Note: these fasteners may be ineffective on concrete or stucco. Windows: Place around, over and under windows in such a way as to frame the windows. Fences: Use the same techniques as on the porch railings.

Trees: There are a variety of solutions for trees. Either use the traditional wrap as you do with indoor trees, or use a net of lights that drape over the top of the tree. You can also use single strands connected to a heavy-duty extension cord with multiple taps, and trace the branches of your trees with white or colored lights.

Use plastic-coated twist ties to secure the lighting to the limbs.

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Yes, that is fine, as long as the lights and cords have a good insulator, such as plastic, or rubber.

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While unpacking light strands, look for any broken or missing bulbs. Also check the cord for worn or cut wiring. Disentangle light strands and cords.

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Install fasteners. Pre-installed hooks or holders over which to drape the extension cord(s) and the light strings will make it much easier to hang your lights. Space the fasteners uniformly with the distance of area between the bulbs on the light strings.

(Finish this step completely before you start hanging the lights.) Note! While nails, screws and other metallic fasteners seem an easy answer, they are conductors of electricity, they rust, and they put holes into your structure.

There are many products on the market made of rubber or heavy duty plastic designed for hanging electrical cords. Consult the sales staff at a reputable hardware store. Tell them what you will be doing with them.

They’re fairly inexpensive and easy to install. Look for fasteners with a moisture resistant, peel-and-stick backing that will hold up to ten pounds.

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Check out home furnishing stores. Especially the high-end ones. You’ll find excellent ideas for dressing up your windows inside. This treatment becomes part of the view from the outside.

Seriously—that thing about safety? Every local newspaper has a story in its archives about a home lighter who fell while hanging Christmas lights. Just because you’re doing something you may consider neighborly, festive or even sacred doesn’t mean that a higher being will protect you during the process. That said, it’s time to gather supplies and tools to hang outdoor Christmas lights and make the job quick and safe.

Christmas lights are the most popular form of holiday decoration, and many people enjoy decorating the exterior as well as the interior of their houses, from twinkle lights to net lights to icicle lights and even lights that play music. There are warm white lights and colored lights, and seemingly everything in between. However, hanging Christmas lights can prove to be a difficult task for those who live in brick houses. It is not impossible though, and those who live in brick houses should not be discouraged. In fact, there are several options for hanging Christmas lights on brick.   Brick exteriors are beautiful and durable. The surface is durable and low maintenance. However, for many, drilling into the brick is not an option. Before dragging that Christmas light box outside, explore the options available. Hanging lights is a Christmas tradition everyone can enjoy, and with a few simple adjustments, the outside of that brick abode can glow with holiday cheer. When friends and family come over to visit, you can surprise them with your lights as well as your lawn decorations.

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Drilling holes into brick walls can cause cracks in the brick if not done properly. Permanently affixing light hooks by drilling and securing the hook requires some planning and skill to avoid cracking the brick face.

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It would be not safe because they are plugged in to your house and could shock you or cut out your power.

Check out your work. Get down to the ground, turn on the lights and stand back away from the house. Check for uniformity. Get a second pair of eyes from a family member or a neighbor. Good job!

But first, you need to learn the basics of hanging holiday lights.

While you’re up on the roof or ladder, try to work from the top on down. Also hang holiday lights when it’s still light outside. Roofs, ladders and darkness are not a safe mix.

With a trusty retractable tape measure in hand, estimate the width or height of the area on which you wish to hang light strands. Make notations on the photo printout of your house, so you’ll know how many feet of light strands are needed for each section.

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Usually, you would put your Christmas lights up before any of the other decorations.

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Because LED light strands come with a foot or so of excess unlit wire, loosely roll up and clip this extra cord into one of the unused portions of the clip. Then roll the wire so that the light spacing is even. Space it according to the number of lights; for instance, for every four or so bulbs you would attach it to a light clip. Clips also work on eaves. The clips are quite versatile.

If you’d like to avoid an extra trip up the…MORE ladder and if your roofline is flat, another way of estimating the width or length of the area you want to hang lights is to measure the width of the house at the bottom. While not precise down to the exact inch, it gives you better than a rough idea of how many feet of light strands are needed.

If this is your first time, keep it simple. You can always add to your holiday light collection each year, adding more rows, outlining architectural features, or w…MORErapping lights around trees and branches That way, you get a feel for what works, what doesn’t, what you like and what you don’t.  By the way,​ do you know the safe way to use a ladder?

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Brick clips work by attaching to the brick with teeth, held in place by a spring. Brick clips are rust-resistant and remove easily when it is time to take them down. To use brick clips, just place the bottom of the clip against the bottom edge of the brick, and then pull up and over the top lip of the brick. If necessary, adjust the spring tension to get a better hold.Christmas light gutter clips are easy to install and also easy to remove when the season is over. Several styles of gutter clip are available: the S-style gutter hook, gutter clip, and the all-in-one clip. The clips hold the lights vertical or horizontal, and they work for all styles of lights. Before hanging the lights, clean the gutters of debris to make the job easier. To install gutter clips, simply slide the hook over the edge of the gutter, adjust the direction for horizontal or vertical, and then hang the lights from the hook.

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Alternative methods for hanging Christmas lights on a brick surface are best for those who do not want to drill into the mortar. Use glue and brick clips for larger displays, and gutter clips for smaller displays.

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For attaching light strings to areas like balconies or porch railings, plastic zip ties also work well. Zip ties are strong, weather resistant, adjustable and easy to remove.

Your task: to hang the holiday lights outdoors. Unlike Christmas lighters and decorators before, you will resist the urge to be impulsive and buy too many lights, to not follow instructions, install lights during a storm, stand on the very top of a ladder, or lean too far over and look at the lights while balancing on your sloping roof.

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After strands have been installed, plug male end of the last strand into an extension chord. Then plug the extension chord into an outdoor outlet preferably controlled by an on/off switch, automatic timer, or app.

Examine the lights before you get started. Make certain that they all work and that there are no frayed areas in the cords before you take them up the ladder. Avoid repairing frayed cords. Dispose of the entire string if you find damaged cords—it is not worth the risk of fire.

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But for now, enjoy the simple pleasures of the…MORE season.

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Flashing twinkle lights, blue and white icicle lights, multicolored bulbs, and strands of rope lights adorn houses at Christmastime, and those who live in brick houses do not have to be excluded from this tradition. It is easy to hang Christmas lights to brick as long as the person doing the decorating knows all of the right tips and tricks. Depending on the method you choose, it may be necessary to purchase a few tools to help hang the lights with ease. To find these, you can go online where sellers on eBay offer everything needed for hanging Christmas lights on brick.When you visit eBay, conduct a simple search for “Christmas lights brick” to reveal several results. Then, use the search tools to narrow the search and return relevant results. The item description contains information about the item condition and any other pertinent information provided by the seller. Look at the other items up for sale by the seller, as sometimes the seller has more than one item you need. Find sellers with free shipping or quick delivery, depending on your needs.Creating a Christmas light display is a project all homeowners can enjoy, so go ahead and hang holiday lights on brick walls using gutter clips, brick clips, or hot glue. Christmas light displays these days range from elaborate rope lights to sparkling icicles, and all of the options work for brick. With a little know-how, your brick house can light up holiday nights and give the neighbors a light show to remember. 

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An extension ladderStepladderPlast…MOREic light clipsRetractable tape measureOutdoor extension cords: medium- or heavy-duty

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Switch on or plug-in, and you’ve got holiday lights! If you use LEDs, like these colored icicle lights, you will be saving energy and cutting down on your electrical bill. You’ve got your basics this year—next year you can add a timer, wire-frame yard sculptures, inflatables, retro lighted blow-mold figures, net lights for shrubs, rope lights for tree trunks and win the “Most Spectacular Light Display” award for your neighborhood.

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The flexible plastic light clips can be used for rooflines, siding, decks and rain gutters. Plastic holiday clips can be found at hardware or big-box stores.

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Learn more about the electricity on your property: Home Electrical Basics 101

Do I use separate extension cords when I have multiple lighted characters in the yard, or do I use some kind of outside power strip?

Hang the lights. Start at the power source and follow the fasteners to the end of the project. Hang one string, then plug in the next string, end-to-end. Don’t cut corners by plugging all the strings together.

Don’t connect more than three sets together, or you risk overloads and chances for fire. Be certain that the light string cords are secure in or on the fastener. You don’t want wind, birds, small animals, or Santa to knock them off!

There is such a thing as too many blow up figures, deer and other lawn ornaments. Keep it neat. Keeping in touch with your neighbors displays will help lend a unified look to your neighborhood. LED lights are more bright and energy efficient than older style Christmas lights.

Less is more. Don’t turn your house into the sun. This not only wastes electricity, but can be disruptive to your neighbors. Your house will look better if it is lit, but not blinding.

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Plug in the strand to an electrical outlet to make sure all the lights are working. Many strands come with replacement bulbs, if you keep them in a place where you can find them. The older incandescent light strands are more likely to all stop working if one or two lights burn out. LED lights, on the other hand, do not tend to have the same problem…MORE and also last longer and are more energy efficient.

You could use both, but make sure that the power strip is an outdoor power strip.

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Permanently affixing lights to brick is tricky but, with a few techniques, you can do the job in no time. To accomplish this, you need several items: a drill, anchors, and screw hooks. Choose anchors with a diameter that fits snugly into the mortar without hitting the brick. The anchor size chosen is the drill bit diameter needed for installation. The screw hooks need to match the diameter and color of the anchor.To install the anchors, drill a hole into the mortar as deep as the screw hook is long. Once the anchor is in place, screw the screw hook snugly into the anchor. Use pliers if it is difficult to get the screw hook all the way into the mortar. After installing the anchors and hooks, the house is ready for the lights.

To install, snap the LED light strand into the jaws of the clip, then slide the other end of the clip onto the roofline—in this case, a rain gutter. (Which, judging by the photo, will need to be cleaned out soon!)

Is it safe to string outdoor lights on aluminum porch railing? (The railing has baked on enamel paint.)

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Use the right tools. Use a reliable, sturdy ladder, and get a helper if you can. Outdoor lighting requires a lot of lifting, careful placement and aligning, which is much easier to do with a helper (or two).

If you work alone, use a basket or bucket with a handle to haul your materials up and down. Put a nail or an S hook on the ladder so you can hang your tote bucket. Limit the number of times you go up and down the ladder, but do not lean to reach anything.

When you can’t reach the next position, move the ladder. Do one step of the project to its completion before you begin the next phase. You can run an extension cord through a window. You will probably not be able to close the window all the way, but you can block up any air gaps with a towel.

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Align the Christmas lighting display with the style of your home. Is your home a modern house, a Tudor, or a Victorian? Is a basic tract house or multi-storey? A lighting display should complement both the style of the house and the style of the neighborhood without spoiling it or looking garish.

Some considerations to bear in mind: For a Victorian style house, there may well be no such thing as “over the top”. But elegance is a key factor. Strings, strings and more strings of lights around every architectural feature of the house will enhance its stature, making your home the neighborhood beacon of holiday cheer.

A ranch-style or single story home calls for lights around the roof line, the fence and along your entrance walkway. Multi-storey homes call for the same basic theory as a Victorian, with less “fluff”.

String lights along the roof line, around columns, along the porch railing.

For experienced, diehard holiday lighting enthusiasts (introduced via the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and perpetuated in every other holiday movie since then), holiday lighting computer programs like Light-O-Rama are available to design displays and synchronize lights and music.

To continue the job, snap light clips onto gutter or eaves every 6-10 inches so that lights don’t swag or droop. If you measured accurately, you should have enough lights (or a little extra) to span the width of your roofline. The excess can be attached around the corner of the eave or roofline.

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Make sure you have a durable, weatherproof extension cord. Lisa H. Taylor

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View your home from the perspective of a passerby or driver, because it is from their vantage points that others will be viewing your holiday decorations and lights. Unless you dress up as an elf, hire the local high school glee club to perform and hand out free cocoa, people probably won’t be leaving their cars to interact with your holiday lights and yard display.

In his book, Holiday Hero: A Man’s Manual for Holiday Lighting, author/lighting designer Brad Finkle has nothing but praise for plastic light clips.

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How To Hang Christmas Lights Outdoors