December 1, 2015
Use a good ladder when installing your lights. Secure them with insulated holders. Do not install holiday lights on trees that come in contact with power lines. Plug in your holiday lights before you put them up to make sure all of the bulbs are working! Make sure to not leave your lights on all night to avoid possible fires and high electricity bills.
The source of power should come from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This outlet will shut the circuit down if there is an over current. If you do not have a GFCI outlet, you can have an electrician permanently install one outdoors for all the holiday seasons in the future. If you do not want one permanently outdoors you can buy a portable outdoor unit for under $20.
Make sure extension cords you use are rated for outdoor use. Keep the connections above ground and try to avoid high-traffic areas. You can tape the cords across walkways and be sure to use the correct length so there are not too much excess cords creating a walking hazard.
Always make sure lights are waterproof or water-resistant lights with a tag marked underwriters lab (UL). This means the lights meet national industry standards with the American National Standards Institute. Make sure the lights are also rated for outdoor use and never use indoor lights outdoors.
For a traditional holiday light, you will want to use a C7 or C9. These are the cone-shape lights you’ll find most in home improvement stores. The C9 is bigger and typically easier to see from a distance. Both come in frosted or clear color bulbs.
You can buy these in small strands or larger strands. The 25-bulb strands can be connected together up to a maximum of three strands. 100-bilb strands should be connected separately and not together. Both the C7 and the C9 strands use screen-in candelabra base for easy bulb replacement. This way if one bulb fails it only affects itself not all of the other lights.
Another option is miniature bulbs, which typically cost less and consume less power than the classic outdoor light string. It can be used in trees as well as around your home. Typically the miniatures come in strands of 50 or 100. These strands run together which means if one bulb fails, you can lose a whole section.
Most mini bulbs have a shunt in them to keep the entire string of lights lit if a bulb burns out, the key being replace the burned out bulb quickly. The shunt allows the remainder of the lights to remain lit, but increases the voltage in the rest of the bulbs, which can reduce their life.
To light bushes and other shrubs, net lighting is a great way to go. Net lighting is a mesh of interconnected mini LED lights that can drape right over your shrubs like a blanket. This is nice for when you do not want to wrap strands in and out of branches.
Animated lights are great for figure displays such as a reindeer, angel or Nativy displays. Animated lights are made from wire frames outlining the different shapes and are surrounded by mini lights in various different colors and patterns.
Source: DIY Network and American National Standards Institute