Exterior holiday lighting delights both the people living inside the home and passerbyers who enjoy the twinkle of holiday decorations. However, the joy that those outdoor decorations bring is fueled by a lot of hard work behind the scenes. If you plan to channel your inner Clark Griswold this holiday season, be sure to keep these helpful tips in mind to make sure your exterior illumination project goes smoothly and safely this year. 

Before you untangle the massive cord of string lights and climb the ladder, you need to make a plan! First, decide on a color scheme. Decide if you prefer the more classic look of all-white lighting or enjoy having your yard lit up in a color scheme. Next, look at the architectural features on your property that you would like to highlight with your lighting. Inventory the decorations you already own and make a list of items you need to purchase for this year’s design. 

The next thing you will need to do is make sure all of your exterior holiday lighting plan components are in working condition. First, check on your outdoor GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupters) outlets. These outlets are designed to automatically turn off if there is a change in electrical flow. Second, check your strands of lights. Make sure there is no damage from previous years’ use and plug them in to ensure they are in working condition. There is nothing worse than putting the lighting up on the house and realizing your bulbs are burnt out.

If you need to purchase lighting, you will want to ensure it is rated for outdoor use. These lights are specially designed to withstand water and not short out and start a fire. LED lights are your best bet for exterior holiday lighting as they have an average life span of 50,000 hours, while incandescent light bulbs can only last 1,200 hours. LED lights also use less power, 6-8 watts vs 60 watts, saving you money on your electric bill. Plan to use a timer for your outdoor lights to save you the hassle of remembering to turn them on and off.

Grab your outdoor extension cords, and you are ready to decorate! When it comes to extension cords, make sure they are rated for outdoor use. You also need to be sure to match your lights’ power needs with the amperage rating of your extension cords. 

Be careful not to overload your outlet. There are limits on how much power each outlet can put out, and overloading an outlet can cause it to overheat and even start on fire. Most household outlets are rated for 15 or 20 amps, which supports a maximum of 1800 watts and 2400 watts, respectively. Electricians, however, advise never going above 80 percent of an outlet’s capacity. A good rule of thumb is not to connect more than five or six strands at a time. 

Thousands of accidents every year are related to exterior holiday illumination. Keep safety at the top of your mind when you are decorating. Make sure your ladder is firmly placed on the ground, and always climb up and down facing the ladder. When fastening light strings, be sure to avoid puncturing the cords as it can cause damage to their insulation. 

Once you have created your holiday lighting masterpiece, step back and enjoy your work. Just remember to take those lights down right after the season is over. Not only will your neighbors appreciate your effort, but taking down your lights right away will also extend the life of your lights, saving them from the elements.

Beach Electric
wishes you a happy (and bright) holiday season! Contact Beach Electric today to speak with one of our electrical experts for all of your electrical needs. No job is too small, give us a call (321) 783-7030. We’re ready to help!