How to install Christmas Lights.

by Cory Griffin on November 12th, 2010

Lighting up a home for Christmas is not only a long-standing tradition but it is also a way of sharing the holiday with your neighbors, or, in many cases, a way of competing with them. Whether in the spirit of Christmas---or to outdo a neighbor---many appreciate those who illuminate their homes for the holidays. Incandescent exterior lights not only use more electricity than most can afford, they are also bright and fragile. Newer LED (light-emitting diode) lights are more durable, use less electricity, and give off deep or pastel colors that please the eye more than the incandescent bulbs.

Things You'll Need:

* Outdoor LED Christmas lights
* Ladder
* Plastic gutter clips
* Rope/tube light nail-on clips
* Hammer
* Extension cords
* Power bars
* Digital timer

1. Make sure the label on the box reads outdoor lights; manufacturers design outdoor lights to withstand the elements of winter (wind, cold, snow, and rain).

2. Test the lights. Remove the light strings (or ropes) from the boxes and plug them all into electrical outlets. If the string won't light, check the fuses (if any), usually located in the socket plug; otherwise, make sure that every bulb is plugged into the string tightly. If it still won't light, you may have to replace the bulbs one at a time and retest the lights (if it doesn't light up, replace the original bulb and move on to the next in line) until you find the dead bulb.

3. Plan your light strategy. Decide what kinds of lights you want in specific areas. Many people prefer to string icicle lights over windows or above the porch. Make sure you have enough lights to cover the desired areas. Don't go overboard; a minimalist solution will usually work best.

4. Use a ladder to reach the areas from which you plan to hang lights. The easiest place to do this is from the rain gutters. Plastic gutter clips will clip onto the gutters with ease; they can also anchor light strings to shingles. Attach them at intervals of between two and four feet.

5. Use rope/tube light nail-on clips to anchor light strings around window frames, porches, and door frames. Always anchor these into wood frames only. Use a hammer to nail them into place at the corners, and then anchor additional clips as needed in between these to keep the light strings from drooping.

6. Use the ladder to reach the higher clips; string the lights from clip to clip, fastening each clip before moving on to the next.

7. Plug in the strings. This may be the biggest challenge. The cords of lights strung around door and window frames can trail into the house beneath the door or window. Those strung along gutters or anchored to shingles will require extension cords. If you don't have exterior electrical sockets, run the heavy-duty cords under doors, making sure the doors can close. If you have a garage, it's best to plug the extension cords in there if feasible.

8. Use a timer if possible. Because LED lights use so little electricity, you can plug many into a single power bar (you may need two or even three power bars, depending on how many lights you string). You can use the on-off switch on the power bar to turn the exterior lights on or off; alternately, you can plug the power bar into an outlet controlled by a wall switch. However, the best option is to plug the power bar into a digital timer that in turn plugs into the wall outlet, then set the timer to turn the lights on around sunset and to turn them off when you regularly go to bed. Most digital timers have options that allow you to set different on-off times for different days of the week if you want the lights to stay on longer on weekends.

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Read more: How to Install Christmas LED Outdoor Lights |

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