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Do’s and Don’ts of Holiday Lighting

As the holidays draw near, we can’t wait to start decorating around the house. From stockings to garland, our houses are adorned with all of the trimmings. But when it comes to outdoor lighting, Accurate knows that can be a less glamorous project, especially for whoever is up on the rooftop! So before you pull out your ladders and buckets of string lights, check out our helpful tips on holiday lighting that will keep you safe and your house filled with holiday cheer!

Do Remember Safety First
Inspect your ladder, keep it on level ground, and lock it in place! Better yet, make lighting your house a family activity and enjoy the company of others while they spot you to keep you safe. Use surge protectors and heavy-duty extension cords to protect from power surges. Double-check that your lights are appropriate to use for outdoor conditions as some lights will not function properly when exposed to damp air or other outdoor climates.

Don’t Over Use Your Circuit Breaker
Even though Christmas light strings use only milliamps per bulb, amps can add up quickly as you begin to deck out your entire front lawn and home. Keep in mind that most circuit breakers can only handle around 15 amps of current and the more lights that are connected end-to-end the further that power has to travel. Should you overdraw power you may experience a drop in voltage and dim or unlit bulbs, especially near the end of the strand. Consider using LED mini lights or C7 and C9 strings since they use significantly less power. Last but not least, always read the instructions for guidance on the maximum number of connections that lights can handle. If you want to decorate your home without having to deal with any breaker issues, contact us to add in new outdoor outlets to handle the load.

Do Get Creative
Knowing your string lights can help you maximize your decorating. For example, if you want to cover your front yard, tree wrapping and net lights can be used to cover large areas like bushes and tree trunks. When it comes to hanging lights, icicle lights lend the effect of snow suspended in air, while berry lights give a more traditional appearance. If you’re like us and believe you can never have too many lights, strung along the roof or simply wrapped around your Christmas tree, your imagination (and several surge protectors!) is the only limit to lighting up the holidays.

Don’t Throw Away Your Extra Bulbs And Fuses
The extra bulbs and fuses included in a new box of Christmas lights are incredibly helpful, but many people toss them out with the packaging. Not only will these extra bulbs come in handy for last-minute replacements, but they are also perfect to use year after year as your light string breaks down. For example, a 50-light string from 5 years ago may draw different amperage than the 100-light string you bought as a replacement for the middle section of your lights. Using the wrong milliamp rating as a replacement could cause an overload of power and pop all the fuses, blowing out the string completely.

Do Replace Burnt Bulbs Quickly
If a bulb in your string light goes out, the other bulbs in the string can be negatively affected. The current that would be used by the broken bulb gets distributed to the other bulbs as they continue to burn. The increase in current to these remaining bulbs can put a strain on the lights and cause a “cascade effect” wherein bulbs down the line begin to burn out. So be sure to replace a bulb as soon as you notice it to save yourself trips to the store and up and down the ladder. And if you followed the “don’t” from above, you’ll be able to use the spare bulbs to make a speedy replacement.

Don’t Connect Incandescent and LED Mini Light Strings
Because the two types of lights carry different amounts of the electrical current, combining the two could have dangerous effects. Incandescent light strings require a larger power current than LED strings, which means that LED lights may fry up if connected to incandescent lights with a higher voltage running through the connected strings. To prevent this from occurring, run each type of light strings out of separate outlets.

Do call Accurate’s lighting experts at (800) 947-1747 for all your holiday lighting needs.

Accurate wishes you and your family a very happy holiday season! We hope these simple do’s and don’ts will help you stay safe and enjoy the magic of this wonderful time of year!