Light Up The Night


The holiday season is here, and this year, you're truly getting into the spirit by decorating every nook and cranny inside and outside your home. If you haven t already, it s time to put up Christmas lights on the exterior of your home. Here are some tips.

First, go outside and take a good look around your home. Right away, you will probably see several key areas that need to be lit up. These may include evergreens, bushes, porches and more. Eaves are another popular place where many people choose to string lights, but be wary if yours are high or difficult to get to. You don't want to risk life and limb stringing up lights and removing them later.

Once you have zeroed in on the areas where you want to string lights, measure each accordingly to determine the footage of lights you will need to purchase. If you are running lights along the eaves of your home, for example, measure the length and add an extra 30 feet for arranging. With bushes and trees, run a piece of string around each in the same way that you would a string of lights and then remove and measure it. Add in extra footage for arranging.

To fully determine the amount of lights you will need, consider the type of lights you plan to use as well. Do you want regular, specialty, full-size or miniature lights? Depending upon your choice, you may need more lights per foot of length you plan to cover. While experts recommend 50 full-size lights per one foot of length for trees and bushes, for example, you may need double that if you are using specialty or miniature lights.

After you have a general idea of the amount and type of lights you will need, you can then go shopping. Try to find light strings that can be plugged into each other and are fairly short. That way, if a string burns out, it will be easier to replace. Make certain the strings are rated by the Underwriter's Laboratories and are designed for outdoor use. Finally, check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure the light sets you purchased have not been recalled.

As soon as you have completed your shopping, you can start thinking about putting them up. Try to select a warmer day and start early in the morning when daylight is ample. Recruit a friend or family member to help you and work carefully to string the lights. Use a ladder when needed and be sure to sit down while on the roof. Do not stand up -- you could easily fall -- and don't overload sockets. To make lighting more convenient, use a timer if at all possible.

This year, you can really make your home dazzle by lighting up the exterior. Just be careful to choose the right lights and string them with care.