Ahh, Christmas lights. Many people wonder how professional installers manage to do a perfectly spaced Christmas light installation, even in the most challenging situations. This is especially true for homeowners who have tried to pull off the same thing on their house, and the results were less than impressive.
This guide will let you in on the trade secrets of Christmas lights installation so you can decide if it’s something you’d like to try or not.
It Starts With Proper Planning
A professional Christmas light installer will start the project by mapping out a plan for your home. This usually means sketching a few designs and color combinations to create a lighting strategy. Expect to see bulbs on the roofline, corners, and chimney, but the idea is to highlight your home’s architectural design in the best way possible.
Once you agree on a plan, the light installer will measure the entire length of your project to determine how many lights and clips you’ll need. The result is an accurate part list that you can bring to the store.
Finding a Source of Electricity
During this step, the professional will check for possible outlet points to plug in the lights. A modern home may have an outdoor outlet for this purpose, while older homes might not have one. Either way, the professional should know how to balance the amperes to avoid overloading a single outlet.
Also, it would help to have a professional who knows their way around electrical systems. This comes in handy when there are no external outlets, and you still need to power some bulbs. You might also need to drill a hole into the wall to bring a cable into the house, and that requires a particular skill set.
Choosing the Right Bulbs for the Job
You might also need to swap your traditional lights with LED bulbs. This newer lighting technology saves electricity, is brighter, and comes with innovative lighting capabilities. For example, you can change the color, put on a mini light show, and more.
Most professionals will have icicles and other LED solutions in stock. This makes it easy for a homeowner to choose an option depending on their styling requirements, budget, and availability. Of course, the client can also pre-order their favorite Christmas lights before inviting the professional if they want to. But that may result in having fewer lights than you need for the project.
Choosing the Best Clips for the Job
With all the different bulb clips in the market today, choosing the right one for your project can be surprisingly challenging. You want an option that combines well with your roofing material or gutter and still holds your bulbs securely. However, you can get all-in-one clips that can work with most Christmas lights out there.
Calculate Christmas Light Wattage
Most homes get a maximum of 15 to 20 watts, and this power is shared among all appliances in the home. That makes wattage calculation a crucial part of planning your Christmas lighting project. For example, going overboard with the C7 and C9 bulbs can result in an overloaded circuit or blown fuse. And nobody wants to fix that in the dead of winter.
To determine the maximum wattage on your setup, multiply the wattage of one bulb by the number of sockets available on all the string lights, then divide this number by 120 to determine the total amps. The idea is to stay below 80% of your total wattage capacity to be safe.
Test the Lights
Testing is the final step in this project, and everything usually goes according to plan. However, you might have to replace a few lights when dealing with old C7s or C9s. This is particularly true if they’ve been lying around in a garage for a long time.
Once everything falls in place, it’s time to take a few pictures and drone footage for your socials!
A Word on Ladder Safety
You’ll be surprised at how many people suffer from ladder-related injuries at home. That’s why you want to make sure you know a thing or two about ladders before attempting to replace a dead light bulb.
First, you should inspect the ladder for damage, then set it up with utmost care. You want it to be at a slight angle with the wall, and it should preferably sit on bare ground. Paved floors tend to be slippery, and that could result in an injury or worse. Thankfully, your professional Christmas light installer knows all these safety precautions, so there’s nothing to worry about there.