Outdoor Christmas Lighting Tips

Nothing says “’tis the season” like a shining display of lights on your home for the holidays. As the season is approaching, you may be ready to show off your spirit with your array of lights. However, there are a few things you need to consider before turning your house into a beacon of holiday cheer. Check out our list of tips below to make sure you keep things merry and bright with your outdoor lighting.


In 2016, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) estimated 14,700 holiday-decorating related injuries that were treated in the ER. Safety cannot be overlooked when putting up your lights. Here are some common outdoor lighting safety tips:

  • Don’t overuse an outlet, extension cord or power strip. Plugging in too many strands of lights can cause overheating or an overload on the circuit board. Your home has a max amount of output it can reach. Check extension cords for their output rating before plugging in a large number of lights.
  • Overheated cords, lights or sockets can be a fire hazard. Occasionally check extension cords and light strands for overheating. If any chords are hot, unplug them immediately.
  • Always check for faulty or damaged cords and light strands. Don’t use any extension cords or light strands that appear to be frayed or worn down. Use common sense. If a piece of lighting equipment looks like it could be a hazard, it probably is.
  • Use proper light hanging equipment. Gutter clips or electrical tape are the best methods. Avoid using nails, screws or staples to attach any lighting.
  • Make sure all extension cord plugins are off of the ground. Keeping the plugins between the light strands and extension cord elevated and dry will help prevent anything from unplugging or damaging the connection.

If you are installing your lights to the roof or eaves of your house, you will probably need to use a ladder to attach the lights. The last thing you want to end up on your holiday schedule is a trip to the emergency room. Here are some tips for ladder use:

  • Make sure the base of your ladder is on a solid foundation. The ladder should lean against a flat surface.
  • Install your lights when the weather is fair. Don’t use a ladder if there are high winds, or it is wet enough to cause your steps to become slippery.
  • NEVER stand on top of a ladder. Make sure that you have plenty of ladder to lean against the surface you are decorating.

If you have any doubts about your ability to install lights onto your house, call a professional crew to avoid any unnecessary accidents.

Ease of Installation:

Whenever you decide to put up holiday lights, you need to be able to install and remove them with relative ease, because what goes up, must come down.

  • Measure the spaces where you plan to install lights. A measurement will help you to estimate how many strands of lights you will need to complete your masterpiece.
  • Test all of your lights before hanging them on your roof. You don’t want to put up lights only to have to take them down because they are faulty.

Christmas Light Electricity Usage

While it is nice to contribute to the neighborhood light display, you don’t want your electricity bill to skyrocket past Santa’s sleigh. The average cost of running a single strand of incandescent bulbs can cost more than $15 over the course of the holiday season. Several strands can cost well over $60. Here are some ways to cut back on the amount of electricity your decorations use:

  • Use LED lights. LEDs use considerably less energy than incandescents. While pure white LEDs may not give off a cozy vibe, there are several color variations that imitate the warm glow of incandescents.
  • Use timers or shut off your lights before going to bed. Leaving your lights turned on after hours may create a nice ambiance, but will cause your bill to increase substantially.

Overall Look:

The end appearance is important because you want your house to look good for everyone who drives or walks past it. Here are a few tips to help with the aesthetic of your home.

  • Color of light. Don’t install two different shades of white bulbs. Check the colors of your light strands to make sure they complement each other before hanging them up.
  • Create a focal point for your lights. Make sure there is a focal point of your lighting placement. Whether it is your eaves, doorframe, windows or trees, have an idea of where you want to draw the viewer’s attention.
  • Create depth with your lighting. If you have the electrical capacity, place lights on walking paths and driveways. Use stand lighting or trees to give your home’s lighting display depth.

Whether your house has enough lights to be seen from the street or outer space, make sure to install decorative lighting safely this holiday season.

Need a skilled, friendly electrician to inspect your electrical system before the holidays? Contact one of the experts at Complete Electrical today!