The Dos and Don'ts of Outdoor Christmas Lights
• Use Supplies Rated for Outdoor Use: It's important to select lights, extension cords, power strips and timers that are rated for outdoor use, so they can stand up to moisture, precipitation, and weather changes.
• Know the Difference Between Incandescent Lights and LEDs: LEDs use 10 percent of the energy of incandescents and will last for several years longer. While they're more expensive at the outset, they'll pay for themselves within two years and likely be useful for at least a decade.
• Take Advantage of Specially Designed Lights: Single strands are great for spiral wrapping and outlining. Icicle lights provide a lot of illumination for straight elements like gutters and columns. Net-style lights are perfect for rows of bushes and hedges.
• Use Light Clips: No staples, no clothespins, no metal hooks. Lighting manufacturers have figured out the perfect way to support lights along long stretches and on corners. Their utility and flexibility just can't be matched. For any strange areas that clips can't cover, some plastic zip ties will do the trick. Don’t use a regular staple gun. It can puncture the lights. You can use a specialty staple gun made hanging lights if you’ve got one.
• Don't Chain Too Many Strands Together: Give yourself a 3-strands rule – anymore and the lights can short out.
• Don't Ignore Proper Safety Precautions: Any time you're working with ladders, walking on your roof, or dealing with electricity, it's important to be smart. Don't hang lights by yourself while home alone, and be sure to wear properly fitting clothing and gloves so nothing gets caught or snagged. A pair of safety glasses or sunglasses is also advised.
• Don't Store your Lights Poorly: When it comes to storing your outdoor lights, make sure you keep your strands separated. One strand of hundred can easily be untangled, but unknotting multiple strands is a huge headache. Use whatever you can: keep the original boxes, wrap them around sheets of cardboard or wood, or use individual plastic grocery bags.
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